Tuesday 28th April 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Spring 2015
Felicity Keeling, Macmillan Information and Support Service Manager at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, introduces the Macmillan pop-up service
This issue of Sharing Good Practice describes the successful use of an empty shop in Cheetham Hill, North Manchester, to provide a pop-up Macmillan information and support service. We hope it will inspire similar initiatives elsewhere.
Cheetham Hill is an area very close to the centre of Manchester and on the border with Salford. It is extremely diverse, with a range of nationalities and cultures represented.
A report in 2012 described Cheetham Hill as having:
- the highest number of claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance in Manchester
- a population with poor life expectancy
- uniqueness in terms of its ethnic and demographic diversity and the wide range of socioeconomic challenges it faces
- issues with regards to low levels of education
- a lack of health literacy and poor understanding of basic health issues, which ‘magnifies already difficult health problems’.
The report also describes the area as having a lack of community or public space. Manchester as a whole has significantly lower life expectancy than the national average, particularly across North Manchester and especially in Cheetham. Manchester also has significantly worse rates of early deaths from cancer when compared with the rest of England.[1,2]
Mobile Macmillan information units are specially converted buses. They tour England, Scotland and Wales visiting local areas to improve access to information and support for people affected by cancer, and to raise awareness.
Macmillan had previously arranged for a mobile unit to be parked within the precinct of Harpurhey Market in Manchester. The location proved a great success in targeting an area with very high levels of deprivation and cancer, and with poor cancer outcomes due to late presentation. This success, which saw 200 people approach the bus for information and support during a four-hour period, demonstrated the importance of location. In the past, the bus had parked at the market’s car park, attracting considerably fewer people.
In discussions with the Macmillan Manchester Libraries Information Service about reaching the local population in North Manchester more effectively, the idea for a 'pop-up shop' as a way of replicating the success of the bus was put forward by those of us working at the Macmillan Information and Support Service at Pennine. Our suggestion was that it may be possible to negotiate the use of empty shops to provide a pop-up information and support service.
Our idea was that a pop-up service could:
- raise awareness of cancer - including the symptoms to look out for, how to reduce your cancer risk, and why visiting your GP is important if you are worried or have any undiagnosed symptoms.
- encourage a better understanding that cancer can potentially be a treatable disease, and provide information about resources for people living with a cancer diagnosis.
- raise awareness of Macmillan and other cancer support organisations in the area.
Between September 2013 and February 2014 a Lottery and Arts Council-funded community organisation called Buddleia acted as the managing agent for Unit 25 in Cheetham Hill Shopping Precinct.
Buddleia offered this space to community organisations for use as a temporary pop-up shop space. The funding to do this was made available from The High Street Innovation Fund managed by Manchester City Council, in light of the Mary Portas Review looking at how to regenerate and reconnect communities to the high street.
Buddleia ran unit 25 for the purpose of creating a space for creative projects. It sought to allow the sharing of ideas and the promotion of local initiatives, while also encouraging short-term testing of business ideas.
Services that ran from the unit included cooking workshops for parents and children, a craft week with free drop-in craft workshops and a regular community bazaar. It was also used by local agencies promoting their work, such as library and welfare reform services, and the Manchester North Regeneration Team launching a trader association.
I became aware of the opportunity to use the shop as a result of a weekly bulletin from an organisation called Zest, which is part of Manchester City Council and its North and East Manchester Healthy Living Project. Zest works closely with local people, communities and organisations to improve health and well-being.
The shop was available from Wednesday 22 January to Saturday 25 January – which coincided with Macmillan’s Cancer Talk week, an annual national initiative to encourage greater awareness of all aspects of cancer. The cost was just £10 per day.
Working with local services
After we had secured the shop for the dates we wanted, we invited other local Macmillan services to help plan and organise the service, and to be involved in its delivery. This was crucial to the success of the service, as it would not have been possible for any of the organisations involved to have delivered it in isolation.
A project team was set up, which consisted of myself and:
- the Macmillan Community Outreach Officer from the Macmillan Information and Support Service at Manchester Libraries
- the Volunteer Support Worker from the Macmillan Solutions Project, based at Audacious Church in Manchester.
We met to plan the pop-up service on six occasions; from September 2013 until its first day. Most meetings were held in the local area so that work could be carried out to promote the event to local businesses and canvas their support. We created a ‘wish list’, identifying items we would need, and used it to ask for donations.
Businesses were asked to donate items to be used as prizes, or to help provide refreshments to people visiting the shop. The British Heart Foundation furniture and electrical shop nearby also loaned items of furniture so that a relaxed area could be provided, with couches, easy chairs, rugs, coffee tables and lamps.
Promoting the service
Through links with Macmillan’s Communications Officer at the regional office in York, a cricketer with Lancashire County Cricket Club, Luke Procter, was asked to attend on the first day of the service. He agreed to perform a symbolic official opening. This meant that opportunities to publicise the event in the local press were maximised.
Luke had become involved in supporting Macmillan as a result of losing his mother to pancreatic cancer in recent years.
Luke’s attendance coincided with the death of a character on Coronation Street from pancreatic cancer, which also provided opportunities to promote the service.
Luke was accompanied by Peter Moores, the team’s Head Coach. It was therefore decided to promote the first day as a men’s day, with a greater emphasis on men and cancer, the second day as a women’s day, and the last two days as general days. However, the service was kept accessible to anyone who wanted to visit and this was stressed in the publicity.
As a result of press releases, articles were included in the Manchester Evening News, Oldham Chronicle, and on the Granada TV website. The Macmillan communications departments helped to promote the event internally, and also sent out information through their existing channels in the area.
The team also identified local community radio stations and were interviewed live on-air about the service. The word was further spread via the Zest email bulletin, and through the organisers’ other existing networks. Social media was used by the organisations involved, including Twitter. Five hundred A5-size flyers were printed to give to people passing the shop on the day and to leave in GP surgeries, health centres and chemists.
In advance of the service opening, posters were displayed in the window together with a large Macmillan banner. The Macmillan Community Outreach Officer also wrote information on the windows in Urdu to promote the service.
1. CLES Policy Advice. Understanding Community Resilience in Cheetham Hill. Report for Manchester City Counci [PDF]. 2012.
2. Public Health England. Manchester Health Profile. 2013
Continue reading Sharing Good Practice
Part two - Delivering the pop-up information and support service
Email Felicity Keeling.