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Macmillan service marks anniversary by appealing for further volunteers

Posted onPosted on 11th Jul

A successful volunteer scheme that has already transformed life for more than 450 people affected by cancer in Nottinghamshire is celebrating its two-year anniversary.

The Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Service, which is run in partnership with Self Help UK, has gone from strength to strength since it launched just over two years ago — and has just recruited its 180th volunteer.

Offering practical and emotional support to people of all ages, from the point of diagnosis to beyond treatment, the scheme has a particular focus on tackling the isolation that affects 22 per cent of cancer patients.

Lisa Kitt, who has been volunteering for the service for two years, said: “I wanted to volunteer because of my own experience of cancer.

“It was a big shock when I was diagnosed. No one in the family had been through it.

“I was very lucky as I had a Macmillan nurse and first-class care at hospital. Lots of family and friends were there to look after me too.

“However, I was aware that there were others out there who didn’t have my support network.

“I wanted to give something back. I saw the advert for volunteering for Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis by chance, contacted the service manager and was part of the team a week later.”

Volunteer support can range from a cup of tea and a chat, to accompanying patients to hospital appointments or helping with shopping. Support is normally provided for two to three hours a week on a flexible basis.

Lisa added: “I have helped with organising appointments and some practical tasks. But, ultimately, it is about sitting and listening to someone — and sometimes having a cup of tea too.

“My clients appreciate that there is someone there for them on the end of the phone. I feel lucky to be able to give something back and would recommend volunteering to anyone who is a good listener.”

The service has grown exponentially since its launch and now has volunteers in Mansfield, Ashfield, and Newark and Sherwood as well as Nottingham.

James Wheat, service manager for Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis Service, said: “Whether it’s practical help with gardening or shopping or emotional support that’s needed, our fully-trained volunteers can help reduce the feelings of isolation many people feel when treatment ends.

“No one should have to face cancer alone — and thanks to this service, fewer will.”

The service is one of the schemes that were launched just over two years ago as part of the Macmillan Cancer Partnership in Nottinghamshire.

The partnership has invested more than £3.5m in local cancer services to improve support for people living with and beyond cancer.

James said: “A recent report by Macmillan revealed that by 2030 the number of people living with and beyond cancer in Nottinghamshire will more than double to 69,000.

“That means that more people will need support with long-term consequences of cancer which is why projects like Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis are vital.

“We are actively recruiting volunteers across Nottinghamshire to support local people affected by cancer.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer for Macmillan Beyond Diagnosis should contact the team on 0115 9111662 or volunteering@selfhelp.org.uk

Go to www.selfhelp.org.uk/beyonddiagnosis for more information.

Macmillan Cancer Support is available for support, information or just to chat, call free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk

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