Raising awareness of cancer symptoms for North Central London Cancer Alliance
By late 2020, like many other parts of the country, North Central London had seen a decline in people going to their GP to report potential symptoms of cancer.
We were commissioned by the North Central London Cancer Alliance (NCLCA) to support the delivery of a communications campaign to address this issue.
We began by taking a focused look at how services were being delivered locally, who exactly was not coming forward, and how could we encourage people to contact their GPs.
Early engagement with stakeholders meant that we were able to collaborate on the campaign look and feel, recruit doctors to appear in campaign materials, and link up health care professionals with local voluntary and community sector organisations.
We recruited health care professionals (HCPs) through the Cancer Alliance who agreed to be ambassadors and appear in campaign materials and local media.
We cultivated delivery partnerships with Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations, who helped get into the heart of the communities we were trying to reach and advised us on the most appropriate engagement activities. As well as recruiting ambassadors from primary and secondary care, we also found local residents to talk about their lived experience and advocate for visiting GPs and attending screening.
Giving something back
As well as providing funding to our VCS partner organisations, we worked with CRUK to offer specialist training sessions to their staff.
Leaving a legacy
Local VCS organisations who work closely with target audiences have a level of insight into how best to engage with the communities which is second to none. We implemented a train the trainer model with VCS organisations and created a bank of reusable materials.
Although there are signs of a return to ‘normal’, these messages are still relevant and there will be lots of people out there who still need help and support. We’ve dug a foundation by building capacity in the local community and creating a suite of materials that can be used again and again, but what happens next will be just as important.