Manchester Knowledge Exchange

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A big thank you to everyone who attended the Knowledge Exchange Workshop in Manchester on 1st December 2016. We hope that everyone who attended found the day useful and thought it was a success.

On the day we covered a variation of topics including the National Update, a focus on research, a service users journey, service snapshots, marketing, behavior change, and next steps. To find all of the relevant resources please access Team Space here.

Below are the six poster presentations given by Lincolnshire, Walsall, Manchester, Sheffield, Northern Ireland, and Luton:







Move More North Staffordshire Cancer Lifestyle Service

Alice Sharp, Project Coordinator for Move More North Staffordshire Cancer Lifestyle reflects on the rewarding year the service has had since The Beth Johnson Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support partnered in 2015.

Everyone who is affected by cancer is an individual with their own needs. Although there may be trends, different factors affect people in a different way, highlighting the importance of providing a person centric service to people living with and beyond cancer. Alice says “some days I am having conversations about healthy eating after radiation treatment, other days I am talking about regaining fitness after surgery. Some days I will be supporting somebody with taste change and nausea and other days I will be signposting to local exercise classes.”

Cancer imposes itself on an individual, and then life during and after cancer treatment is very different to the life they had before, the life they called normal. For example, family roles, responsibilities, and relationships change, medical appointments become common, work becomes difficult, minimised or even stopped, leaving that individual a long way from ‘normal’.

After treatment, medication can bring side effects, and their physical appearance may be different. It then becomes difficult for people to know how they should be feeling, how to deal with anxiety and low moods, all due to various reasons including a reduced support network. Adapting to a new ‘normal’ is important but difficult.

This is where the one to one support a Move More service can provide will help. Although physical activity might not be on the forefront of their mind, a new ‘normal’ might mean adapting to a different level of energy than before cancer treatment. Studies have shown that moderate physical activity can help reduce cancer related fatigue. “Being active does not necessarily mean ‘doing exercise’; small goals such as going outside every day may be the first steps. The North Staffordshire Cancer Lifestyle Service supports individuals by having conversations around listening to their body and acknowledging that fatigue levels can change” – Alice Sharp

“The process of making positive lifestyle changes can give a person a sense of control, which can help to alleviate this anxiety. Eating well and being active are two key components of a healthy lifestyle and these have been proven to decrease anxiety.”

CARE Move More Service Nottingham

CARE is a Macmillan Move More physical activity service for people affected by cancer across Nottinghamshire, designed for patients at any stage of their treatment or recovery. The programme started in March 2015 and has 158 referrals to date. The sessions involve fun, graduated strengthening exercises and are an ideal opportunity to meet and socialise with others that have been through similar experiences.

Participants, who attend the weekly sessions provided, also receive a complimentary fitness membership to the Portland Leisure Centre. This includes, full use of a new gym, the swimming pool, and access to over 20 fitness classes including sporting opportunities.

The CARE programme has received some fantastic feedback from their services users:

“When I first attended after not undertaking gym exercises for many years and having my prostate removed plus on hormone treatment I was a little anxious. This was soon forgotten as there were other similar participants within the exercise group and meeting other prostate cancer men made me feel better even allowing for some amount of fatigue/excessive sweating. This tiredness and excessive sweating has improved as I have got further into the CARE programme. I also believe it has also helped me become more positive regarding the future.” – Mike Robinson referred with Prostate Cancer

“To sum up; the scheme is a great help and should be encouraged and funded further, it has helped me tremendously and I see others who are also clearly benefiting.” – Peter Fedorow referred with Prostate Cancer

“I have so far have noticed improved cardiovascular fitness, stronger muscles and better flexibility. Psychologically, the endorphin release of exercise and the happy, encouraging and totally supportive atmosphere of the classes have improved my mood and helped me to remain cheerful whilst undergoing the usual stresses of treatment problems and life generally.” – Nichola Spice referred with Breast Cancer

“I have already given my GP and all my friends who have cancer the leaflets. I can’t sing the praises high enough for what it has done for me. I can’t wait to be back again after my next surgery and will miss the fun, support, companionship and endorphins so much. Roll on my surgeon giving green flag.” – Kathryn Houghton referred with Breast Cancer, previously Thyroid, and Skin Cancer

Find out more here

Watch the care video here

Adam Lever says Hello! – Physical Activity Autumn Intern


My name is Adam Lever and I have recently been appointed Physical Activity Intern for the next three months, yay!!! So about me. I guess the best place to start as to how I ended up at Macmillan is about 5 years ago…

Back in 2011, six weeks after starting studying at university, I was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer in my left leg. As an active individual and keen sportsman, this came as a massive shock to myself, family and friends. My treatment involved six cycles of high dose chemotherapy, six hours of surgery and lots of gruelling hours working with physiotherapists. My road to recovery began in 2013 which was also the year I returned to my studies. This year I finally graduated from Leeds Beckett University with a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise Science something, at times, I never thought was possible.

Areas of interest to me at university included using behaviour change theory to increase and sustain physical activity behaviour and the role physical activity can play in the regulation and rehabilitation of a range of health diseases – I elected to study physical activity interventions with cancer patients in more detail in my final year. Alongside my studies, I also engaged in a variety of voluntary work for local charities in Leeds. This work, combined with my personal experience of cancer, has sparked my desire to work within the charity and public health sector and to help Macmillan achieve their ambition of “reaching and improving the lives of everyone living with cancer.”

I am honoured to join the Physical Activity team at Macmillan who have made me feel extremely welcome from day one. I look forward to developing my knowledge of behaviour change theory, physical activity and cancer. I am also extremely excited to work on projects such as the development of volunteer roles to support people living with and beyond cancer to get involved in physical activity!


Welcome Sara White – Physical Activity Autumn Intern


Hi, my name is Sara White and I am one of the new physical activity interns joining the team until the end of December. I recently graduated from UCL with a degree in medicine – although there were aspects of the course I loved I decided that being a doctor wasn’t right for me. However, I am still passionate about health and wellbeing, especially the idea of taking a holistic approach to preventing and managing illness, which is why the work of the physical activity team particularly interests me.

As part of my degree I was fortunate enough to spend some time at the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre, where I got to see first-hand the breadth of services, information and support that Macmillan provides, as well as meet some of the people accessing these services. This made me appreciate the amazing work that Macmillan does and I feel very lucky and proud to now be volunteering for an organisation that makes such a positive difference to people’s lives.

During my internship, I will be working closely with the Ramblers Association in the Walking for Health programme. They provide short walks throughout the country to help support people with cancer, as well as other long term health conditions, to get active and stay active. I have already taken part in walk leader training and will be working to try and recruit more GP practices to deliver and/or signpost to health walks in their local area.

I never used to do much physical activity myself, but three years ago my brother bought me some personal training sessions and now I’m hooked! I found it not only helped improve my fitness but also made me feel so much happier and healthier. I particularly enjoy running and boxing – it helps me get any frustration out after a stressful day! I’m so happy to be a part of the physical activity team; everyone has been so welcoming and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks!



World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

September 30th marked the date of the 2016 World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Here in the physical activity team we promote sporty coffee mornings so that the public, people affected by cancer, and their families are moving more whilst raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support; this is exactly what some of our services did!

Active Luton organised cycling challenges and sporty themed coffee mornings across all of their leisure centres. The grand total for this event was a massive £493! Well done to Active Luton! Our Berkshire service decided to organise a walking football tournament at the Braywick Sports Ground in Maidenhead to raise money. They recruited 12 teams to play in the tournament, including Portsmouth, Yorkshire, and Wiltshire.

Other coffee mornings included Northern Ireland, Wandsworth, Walsall raising £142.72, and Maidstone YMCA!

So far Macmillan Cancer Support has raised over £8 million through World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, keep up to date with the total amount raised here.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated in this event.

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Our New Project Officer, Yanaina Chavez Ugalde says Hello!



Let me tell you a bit about who I am and how I started in Macmillan!

I was born in Mexico City, and came to the UK in 2013 to do an MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health at Bristol University. During my first months in the UK I heard from Macmillan and became deeply interested in their work and the different areas they covered for cancer care. I started looking for opportunities within the organization and I became the Physical Activity Intern from February to May this year!

During this time I got involved in several projects including a systematic review of the benefits of walking in people affected by cancer, and developing a volunteer role to support engagement and maintenance of physical activity behaviour. My three months here were fantastic, but sadly the internship had to end, it was hard to leave. My time in Macmillan made it clear to me that this was the place I wanted to be and a brilliant place to develop my career in the health and wellbeing field.

Lucky me, I became the Physical Activity Project Officer in September!

My main area of expertise is design, implementation and evaluation of physical activity interventions and behaviour change with the aim of engaging people to adopt and maintain physical activity behaviour. It seems like a perfect match to what Macmillan is trying to achieve: “to ensure everyone living with and beyond cancer is aware of the benefits of physical activity and is enabled to choose to become and stay active at a level that’s right for them”. As a Project Officer in the Physical Activity team I will support different projects within the team with a special focus in Walking for Health, an incredible opportunity for me to learn from the best.

Physical activity and healthy lifestyles have always been part of my daily living. I played basketball in Mexico for over 15 years, and slowly shifted to becoming a freestyle runner with an occasional marathon every couple of years. I am definitely a foodie and always enjoy a good meal with nice company, and if after there is chance for a good coffee, you would definitely make my day!



Sheffield Active Everyday Walking Football Success

The Active Everyday service is feeling very proud of the success of the Walking Football partnership with Sheffield United Football Club titled ‘Fans Fit for Cancer’ (Fans FC). Just one of the popular offers on their menu of opportunities for males that wouldn’t normally attend a support group from a range of ages, ethnicity, ability and stages of their cancer journey.


Ian Margersion – Macmillan Involvement Co-ordinator said “it was really nice to see the relationships the service users had built, their enjoyment of the sessions, and the support available to them from the Active Everyday team. Well done to everyone at Active Everyday this has been a massive opportunity to the participants who have attended.”


The Active Everyday team held a focus group to gather the thoughts, experiences, and opinions of participants to help develop and design the Fans FC curriculum. Sessions are delivered by a Level 4 cancer exercise specialist and a Sheffield United Community Coach at no cost to the participant.


The programme has two elements, class room and physical activity. The class room activities are aimed at developing a person’s knowledge of how to manage their health and physical activity. The physical activities sessions are aimed at slowly increasing a person’s capacity whilst also offering them the opportunity to experience different forms of exercise; including, aerobic, flexibility, strength and sport (walking football).



Find out more about Active Everyday here

A day in the life of our Physical Activity Placement Student, Naomi Wylde.

My name is Naomi Wylde and I have recently joined the Macmillan Physical Activity Team as a placement student from the University of Bath. I currently study Sport and Exercise Science, and a year working within industry is part of my degree. With a large interest within physical activity, health, and behaviour change, a placement at Macmillan was gratefully accepted!

Since starting I have already attended two cluster meetings; London & South East, and South West and a knowledge exchange event. Providing me with the perfect opportunity to understand what role the physical activity team hold across the UK and how we work with our services to provide a successful 12 month behaviour change service. In addition, I was present at the ‘Breast Cancer Haven’s Healthcare Professionals’ Day’, ‘Living Well Active Dorset Discovery Day’ and the ‘Street Games Festival’. At these events I was able to network and learn about other things that can help people living with and beyond cancer, for example, mindfulness and relaxation, medical herbs, and healthier eating, which all accompanied a large influence on moving more. There was also very brief advice (VBA) training for healthcare professionals, which I attended, along with hearing from guest speakers such as Professor Robert Thomas and Dr Andrew Medley.

These events have allowed me the opportunity to meet lots of new people and understand what their roles are within the cancer care pathway, and behaviour change intervention.  As well as introduce myself, my role, and how I can help.

I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know the Physical Activity Team, and many other people that do such valuable work within Macmillan. I have been welcomed with open arms, and I am excited to work alongside the team whilst learning and growing my expertise within physical activity, long term conditions, and cancer.

Fun Fact: I have played tennis for 13 years and love being on the court, especially in the hot weather!


The Cancer Data and Outcomes Conference

The Cancer Data and Outcomes Conference is the most important conference of the year for the Evidence Department and for Macmillan’s evidence agenda. Over recent years, our presence has grown, and this year was bigger than ever for us with three posters being presented on physical activity and cancer. We were able to put more of our evidence in front of commissioners, policy makers, patients and other researchers and Justin Webb from our team along with representatives from CFE research attended to present our posters.

The three posters were titled:

  •     Increasing the frequency of physical activity very brief advice for cancer patients
  •     Macmillan physical activity behaviour change care pathway evaluation
  •     What motivates people with cancer to get active?

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Physical activity care pathway – formative evaluation

Increasing the frequency of physical activity advice

What motivates people with cancer to get active

We are aware that a lot of you get asked or apply to showcase your work at local or national events.

If you are considering applying to present at conferences/events, please do contact the physical activity team first.

We have a number of resources available to support this, where we will also be attending we would like to coordinate presentations to get the most impact.