Tuesday 29th September 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Autumn 2015
Maxine Astley-Pepper describes the achievements of Macmillan’s partnership with De Montfort University
This innovative partnership began in 2012 when Macmillan was approached by De Montfort University (DMU)
in Leicester. The university had recently appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor/Dean of Health and Life Sciences, Professor Mandy Ashton OBE, who wanted to embed the ethos of care and compassion and extend community outreach student volunteer work.
Upon first meeting, it was clear that there was synergy between the two organisations, and a willingness to further develop student volunteering to focus on people affected by cancer in the local community. The partnership was launched by a formal signing ceremony between Ciarán Devane, then CEO of Macmillan, and Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice Chancellor of DMU.
With the help and support of Sue Sanderson, Macmillan Learning and Development Manager, Ruth Wilson, Macmillan Involvement Coordinator and Lynda Burton, Direct Volunteering Support Manager, work quickly began. The accredited module ‘Personal development through volunteering with Macmillan Cancer Support’ was ready for the first cohort in January 2013. This module is undertaken in addition to other studies and requires a commitment of 100 hours of volunteering, plus critical reflection and testimonials.
The aim of this unique programme is to uplift key skills and experience, develop relationships with partner organisations and the wider community, and enhance CVs for employability.
Over the past two years, students have devoted more than 1,100 hours to volunteering in the community. This has included supporting people affected by cancer, as well as giving radio interviews and writing press releases.
In addition to funding the module and in order to support the work, we also funded a Macmillan/DMU volunteer coordinator and an administrator. Later, we recognised the need to capture the learning from this project and appointed a DMU/Macmillan academic researcher who has now published one paper in Nurse Education Today: ‘Successful partnerships with third sector organisations to enhance the healthcare student experience: a partnership evaluation’.
A project steering group monitored the progress of the partnership. In November 2013 and November 2014, annual partnership award events celebrated the volunteers’ work.
The partnership work was also mentioned in the Houses of Parliament by Leicester MP Liz Kendall as an exemplar of good practice and a ‘brilliant partnership, supporting people affected by cancer'.
Introducing Team Leicester
As a further outcome of this partnership, we decided to try a new approach to working with the wider community and volunteer sectors. Team Leicester was born – a multi-organisational steering group, which aims to break down real or perceived barriers in order to address cancer survivorship. The team has successfully presented to Leicester City and West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups and delivered health and well-being events across Leicestershire.
Building on the partnership
DMU has pledged to carry on funding activity and posts beyond the term of the Macmillan grant. Team Leicester plans to continue its work and DMU is busy recruiting the next cohort of student Macmillan volunteers. Plans are already in progress for the annual partnership awards event in November.
Macmillan Professional Engagement Manager
East Midlands & South Yorkshire
01455 617 028