April 29th, 2014 | News | 0 Comments
A centre in Southport for people affected by cancer has been recognised nationally with a top award.
The Macmillan Information and Support Centre, which last year supported more than 1,526 people, has been awarded the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM) which recognises high standards in cancer care.
To celebrate, staff, patients and volunteers have been invited to the centre, located in the Southport Community Service Station, on Monday 28th April to see the award presented and find out more about the service.
Run in partnership between local GPs from NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Macmillan Cancer Support, the centre provides free information, financial, emotional and practical support for anyone affected by cancer.
Carol Beech from Guildford Road in Southport found comfort in the centre when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer a week before her 53rd birthday last year.
She was so shocked by her diagnosis that she couldn’t eat for a month and lost two stone in weight.
Concerned for Carol’s wellbeing, her doctor encouraged her to go to the centre where Macmillan Information and Support Manager Sue Summerfield helped her to cope with her diagnosis. As well as providing emotional support and practical help claiming the financial support she was entitled to, Sue also persuaded Carol to join an art and craft group for people affected by cancer where she could talk to other people going through the same thing.
Carol said: “Going to the Macmillan centre was the best thing I ever did. I was in a terrible state and arrived at the centre in floods of tears. Sue was so comforting and reassuring. Now the centre is like a second home. I go there every Thursday to the art and craft group where I’ve made friends for life. We all cheer each other up, sometimes we talk about how we’re feeling, sometimes we don’t. I was very upset when my hair and nails fell out, but it was such a comfort to be able to talk to people who understood what I was going through. I don’t think I’d be feeling as strong as I am now without the Macmillan centre.”
Last year staff at the centre secured 42 Macmillan Grants totalling £10,000 to help people affected by cancer cope with the financial pressures arising from their diagnosis such as hospital car parking fees and increased heating bills.
A survey of centre visitors found that 86% felt less anxious as a result of the information and support they had received.
Sonia Holdsworth, Macmillan Development Manager for Merseyside and West Cheshire, said: “This award reflects the hard work and dedication of the team that designed the centre and all the staff and volunteers who work to make it a welcoming and supportive environment for patients and their families so no one has to face cancer alone.
“To receive the award, environments have to score highly in areas such as use of space, comfort and atmosphere, personal and social interaction and health and well being – all areas highlighted as really important by people living with cancer who helped develop the award.”
The MQEM is a detailed quality framework used for assessing whether cancer care environments meet the standards required by people living with cancer. The quality mark, the first of its kind in the UK, has been developed by Macmillan Cancer Support in collaboration with people living with cancer and stakeholders including the Department of Health.
The centre was praised in particular for the enthusiasm of the staff and the range of services on offer to people affected by cancer, which include walking and craft groups and the Hope course which provides emotional support to cancer survivors.
Sue Summerfield, Macmillan Cancer Information Manager said: “We are delighted to receive this prestigious award and recognition for efforts made to ensure that our area meets the needs and standards of our clients. The aim of the MQEM is to ensure that the space is sensitive in design, with room to chat in confidence; whilst making a real difference in helping people cope with their diagnosis. It is very reassuring to have this work recognised and valued.”
Dr Graeme Allan, cancer lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “We are extremely proud of the centre’s work and what it has achieved since opening in 2012 in offering advice and support to hundreds of people who previously struggled to get the help they needed.”
The centre on Scarisbrick Avenue is a free drop-in service open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays