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New Velindre Cancer Centre is looking for community ambassadors

“Acorn” ambassadors will represent the views of the community to the new Cancer Centre’s project team

(L-R) Matthew Jenkins, David Powell, Katie Hammond, Thomas Deacon, Katie Hathaway

Acorn, the consortium building the new Velindre Cancer Centre, is looking for enthusiastic members of the Whitchurch community to apply to be part of its Acorn Ambassador Alliance.

It is recruiting people from all walks of life from within the local community, who support the scheme and want to make a difference. It is encouraging anyone who is interested to get in touch and apply to be an ambassador.

The Acorn Ambassador Alliance will support and advise on the project’s prospective and ongoing community benefit schemes, communicate news to local residents and attend community events to raise awareness of the project’s social values. They will also represent and advocate for the project to the local community, ensuring a positive experience for all those involved, and network with local voluntary and community organisations to build strong partnerships.

Katie Hathaway, community benefits manager of the project, said: “The community is an integral part of this build, so we want to work closely with the residents to create community initiatives and schemes that will benefit all, so having a team of people we can call on for help, advice and guidance is essential.

“Our ambassadors will work with me and my team to help us shape the proposals and projects we put in place, from volunteer schemes to community gardens and much more. They will be our advisers and our sounding board for the duration of the project and will play a pivotal role in what we deliver for the community here at the new Cancer Centre.”

For any local residents who would like to apply to become an Acorn Alliance Ambassador, application forms are available online at https://www.newvelindre.info/opportunities and hard copy forms will be available at the Whitchurch Hub from July.

The Acorn Ambassador Alliance is a separate initiative to Velindre Voices, which is a well-established forum lead by the Velindre University NHS Trust. Velindre Voices is a way for patients, carers, and members of the wider community to keep in touch with the Trust, influence its work and get involved in whatever way they see fit. The Acorn Ambassador Alliance is being set up specifically to advise the new Velindre Cancer Centre’s project staff on the needs of the local community during the build and beyond.

The Cancer Centre is due to be completed by spring of 2027 and is set to be one of the most sustainable medical facilities in the UK. Work has already started on site, with earthworks beginning, temporary services arranged and site entrance and exit turnstiles being installed. The site will also feature a time lapse camera, which will show the progression of the project over the next three years, and a water diversion will also be put in place in the coming weeks.

To complement the sustainability credentials of the Centre, the contractor building the new facility, Sacyr UK, has partnered with Cynnal Cymru, one of Wales’ leading sustainability training and advice organisations. Cynnal Cymru will deliver carbon literacy accredited training to Sacyr UK’s construction workers and members of the local community in July.

The course will teach participants about the links between human activity and climate change, while empowering people to take action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It will also educate them on how to make positive action to how they live, work and behave to reduce their emissions and in turn help climate change.

The new Cancer Centre is part of Velindre University NHS Trust’s Transforming Cancer Services in South East Wales Programme. It will provide patients and carers with high-quality and sustainable services, delivering the most effective treatments while also leading national and international education, research, and innovation in cancer patient care. The treatment centre will improve health services for over 1.7 million people, revolutionising cancer care for future generations in Wales.

The Acorn consortium, a group of companies which has financially backed the construction of the new Velindre Cancer Care Centre, has signed all contracts to financially close the project.