A volunteer-led scheme run by Macmillan Cancer Support is widening its reach to help support more people affected by cancer in Cheshire.
The Macmillan Community Support: Cheshire West and Chester initiative was originally established in 2013 as a bereavement support scheme, and has been successfully supporting people who have lost a loved one to cancer.
However, as the number of people affected by cancer grows, the new-look scheme is expanding to help more people from the point of diagnosis through to bereavement support, and also assist both the person with the diagnosis and their loved ones.
Brenda Beck, from Ellesmere Port, has been supported by a Macmillan volunteer following the death of her husband Cliff. During a visit to her local medical centre, Brenda mentioned that she was having difficulty sleeping and her GP suggested she contact Macmillan Cancer Support, and also its local bereavement support scheme, to see if they could help. Brenda was soon matched with a volunteer, Rebecca Ashworth, who regularly visits Brenda to have a chat and a cup of tea.
Although Brenda has four daughters, who are all incredibly supportive, they all live a distance away and she says that seeing Rebecca has really helped her through. She said: “Rebecca’s such a sweet person. She’s just the right sort of person, so easy to talk to.”
Brenda says that with fortnightly visits from Rebecca, and a phone call in between, she is feeling much more positive about the future. She added: “My eldest daughter lives in America and said she couldn’t believe the difference in me since she saw me last – she says I’m much more positive and back to being ‘mum’ again.”
Macmillan volunteer and married mum-of-three Rebecca Ashworth also works as a night sitter for Marie Curie and as a learning mentor. She says that people are often more comfortable talking to volunteers about things they would never discuss with their families. She said: “Everyone’s different and sometimes it takes you a few visits for people to know you’re genuine and to trust you with their memories.”
Rebecca says volunteering for Macmillan has allowed her to offer both practical and emotional support, and added: “It’s not a ‘one glove fits all’ approach. I have helped a lady who needed support sorting through her late husband’s items, I accompanied a lady to a bereavement support group, I’ve done charity shop runs for people and now I’m supporting Brenda. I just like helping people. That’s it.”
The new Macmillan Community Support: Cheshire West and Chester provides both practical and emotional support to people affected by cancer. All the volunteers have completed an application process, hold a DBS Certificate and are fully trained.
If you, or someone you love, have been affected by cancer and you think Macmillan Community Support: Cheshire West and Chester volunteers could support you, then please call 07455 758717.