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Macmillan information and support centre celebrates second anniversary

18 March 2016

Health Care

The team behind the Macmillan Information and Support Centre at Southend University Hospital has celebrated its second anniversary and another year of laudable successes.

The Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre opened at the hospital in March 2014 and provides high quality information and tailored support to people affected by cancer - including patients, their relatives, carers and professionals.

Over the past year alone the centre has seen over 9000 people affected by cancer come through its doors, supporting them with issues ranging from side effects of treatment, to diet and exercise, to advice on getting back to work.

The centre also provides welfare benefits advice and financial guidance, and has helped local people to access over £30,000 in Macmillan Grants - one-off payments designed to help individuals living with cancer cope with extra costs.

Furthermore, the centre has launched two new courses for people affected by cancer - 'HOPE' and 'Moving Forward' - as well as introducing a workshop called 'A Rough Guide to Coping', specifically for patients and carers at the beginning of treatment. The centre also runs a monthly support group and weekly meditation and relaxation sessions.

Friederike Englund, Macmillan information and support manager, said:"The Macmillan Information and Support Centre is a real lifeline for local people affected by cancer - not just for patients, but also for carers and loved ones, children and teenagers as well as adults.

"We know that cancer doesn't just affect your physical health; it can affect your whole life. That's why we offer a range of information and support to help people regain control at what can be a very uncertain and unsettling time.

"The centre has gone from strength to strength this year - the numbers speak for themselves. It's all thanks to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic staff and volunteers; we're incredibly proud of what we've achieved so far and are looking forward to continued success as we embark on our third year."

Staff and volunteers were joined by current and former patients for the celebration. Among them was Dave Emerson from Rayleigh, who has been visiting the centre since being diagnosed with cancer last May. He said:

"As soon as you walk in there's just a warm feeling; everyone's there for you. If you've got any worries you can come in and there are people who can help you take a load off. Through the centre I found a walking football group which I go to every Saturday and my partner, Louise, comes every Tuesday to do meditation. It's a safety net -if you've got any problems you know you can just come in."

The Macmillan Information and Support Centre is located on the ground floor of Southend Hospital's tower block building and is open Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm. For more information, please call 01702 385101 or email macmillan.centre@southend.nhs.uk