Cancer support centre in Bury St Edmunds celebrates 10th anniversary

Celebration for the 10th anniversary of Macmillan Information and support centre at West Suffolk Hospital ANL-140812-164130009

Celebration for the 10th anniversary of Macmillan Information and support centre at West Suffolk Hospital ANL-140812-164130009

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A cancer support centre in Bury St Edmunds which has helped more than 20,000 people has celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Staff and volunteers gathered for cake for the landmark at Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre, which is at the back of West Suffolk Hospital.

With one manager and eight volunteers, the facility offers vital support for cancer sufferers and their families.

Centre manager Nicky McKee said: “It’s somewhere they can come where it’s safe and secure and they can open up to talk about things.

“We don’t counsel but we can send them to a counsellor if they need it.

“You generally do feel you’re making a difference and helping them.

“We have one lady just to give an example - she came in and let it all out.

“Her words were ‘thank you, I now feel ready to face the chemo’.”

The centre can offer information on issues such as help with work, wigs, scarves as well as healthy eating and lifestyle.

Mrs McKee said: “We also help them with grants so if they’re finding it hard at this time of year with heating costs we can get a grant to help with that.”

Macmillan provided the initial funding for the centre for two years and it is now funded by West Suffolk Hospital Foundation Trust.

“They felt that if Suffolk had the information support centres it could take pressure off clinical staff , said Mrs McKee.

The volunteers, some of whom have had cancer, are all trained to provide emotional support.

“They are a great team and I really respect what they do. During the time when the previous manager left and before I started they actually ran the centre for five months because they wanted it to keep going.”

The centre also runs a self management programme Hope (Help Overcome Problems Effectively), which provides life management skills for patients coming to the end of their training or have just finished it.

For more information about the centre call 01284 713023.