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"I got involved with Jo's because I have spent the last 20 years working in a cervical cancer screening laboratory and from my work I understand the importance of awareness and prevention. I am from an Asian background and because of this started to get invited to give talks addressing women from different ethnic backgrounds. I began to realise that different women had different levels of knowledge about cervical cancer as well as different reasons for not attending screening. My level of knowledge about these groups of women also increased following work trips abroad to countries such as Africa and India where I can see the same cultural barriers to screening that we have in this country.
"I now deliver talks on health which includes cervical cancer as well as run stands at various events. I have also been involved with the charity giving media interviews about the topic.
"One of the main events for which I run a stall at is called 'Health Mela' – a health information event for black and minority ethnic groups including Asian, Chinese and Afro-Caribbean communities. Here we'll see whole families looking for information so it's important when I am on a stand that we talk to everyone and not just the woman – men are interested too. It's important to provide a holistic approach as when the women come they want to know about other health issues as well. How can the woman stay healthy? Will my children get affected if I don't go for screening?
"I have leaflets from Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust as I have found the charity have a very good set of information. I find that I'm often talking and providing information to health care professionals as well as families.
"When thinking of raising awareness locally the volunteer needs to understand the community they are delivering the information to – what the audience needs and what they will be receptive to. Find out about their beliefs and how best to reach them, for example, at their place of worship or a community centre. At one event we got the cultural leader to bless the charity's literature which reinforced it was a good thing to take note of."
Find out more about raising awareness locally here