The Macmillan Preston Area Cancer Engagement (M-PACE) project will engage with local BAME (black, Asian, minority ethnic and dual heritage) communities, health and social care and third sector organisations to identify gaps and prioritise areas that need to change.
The M-PACE project will also help provide more personalized care and ensure people living with cancer are represented and the implementation of any service change reflects their views and needs.
Macmillan Cancer Support, which is investing £437,000 into the project, is working in partnership with Lancashire BME Network to deliver the three-year scheme. They will collaborate with other local organisations, including Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service, Cancer Help Preston, the CCG and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.
The M-PACE team will also work closely with key local grassroots organisations Fishwick Rangers, Preston United Youth Programme, Kind Communities and Windrush Initiative CIC.
Sarah Taylor, Macmillan’s Partnership Manager for Lancashire, said: “The aim of the M-PACE project is to develop a culturally competent model of cancer support for BAME communities to increase uptake of services, as well as improve experiences and outcomes.
“By building better relationships and establishing trust will be the cornerstone to success, and by reassuring local communities we hope to reduce or remove any fear around cancer.
“Ultimately, it will help Macmillan and other cancer service providers to better understand the experience and needs of BAME communities around cancer, provide more personalised care, identify gaps in services and assist in the development of future support.”
Welcoming the news, a spokesperson for CancerHelp Preston Ltd added: "CancerHelp Preston is delighted to be involved with a new project focusing on bringing cancer awareness to the BAME community and encouraging people to speak out if they have concerns or symptoms that worry them as early as possible.
"Whilst this doesn’t mean funding for CancerHelp, it does mean that we should see more referrals from these communities, something that we have been keen to develop over the past few years and which now, thanks to this local project, should improve steadily."
A Macmillan project manager will be appointed to lead a team of community support officers and a community volunteer coordinator. Cancer champions and volunteers recruited from the local community will play a crucial role in the project and will be supported to continue long after the scheme finishes.
The innovative initiative is also being backed by Preston MP, Mark Hendrick, as well as Lancashire County Councillor, Joan Burrows; Leader of Preston City Council, Cllr Matthew Brown, and also Cllr Zafar Coupland and Cllr Nweeda Kahn.
Naz Zaman, Chief Officer at Lancashire BME Network, added: “We are delighted to be working with Macmillan and all the partner organisations on this co-produced and community-lead project.
"We have been working together for several years to develop this important initiative and we are so excited to finally launch the M-PACE project, which will make such a difference to so many local peoples’ lives across Preston.”