You regularly hear stories from us about the differences our services make to others. We exist to empower local people living with cancer and support them to find a way through diagnosis, treatment and recovery that works best for them.
Of course, it’s our people who make this happen, and all of this can be emotionally quite difficult at times. So, all of our work is underpinned by a nurturing culture where we’re all encouraged to look after ourselves, too.
The wellbeing of our staff and volunteers is at the heart of everything we do, and here we invite you to take a closer look at us and our culture:
We have 44 paid staff and 300 volunteers across our four Support Centres in Chandler’s Ford, Bournemouth, Waterside (Hythe) and Isle of Wight, and five shops. They include our fundraising, marketing and finance teams at Head Office, Support Centre managers, retail teams, counsellors, therapists and befrienders. We’re supported by a volunteer Board of Trustees who together bring a wealth of business, wellbeing and development expertise and many of whom have a personal experience of cancer and using our services. They make sure the charity is operating in the best interest of those it supports.
Our volunteers are the lifeblood of Wessex Cancer Support: they are instrumental in all aspects of our work; from helping to run events to befriending and therapies. Together, they make a huge difference to the lives of our clients. They tell us that volunteering for Wessex Cancer Support is incredibly rewarding – providing opportunities to gain confidence, learn new skills and meet different people.
Fiona Astin is a volunteer therapist at our Bournemouth Support Centre:
“I’ve been volunteering for a few years now and I absolutely love it. The team at the Centre is brilliant. They’re all so welcoming, the facilities are excellent and all the volunteers are valued. It’s a beautiful and humbling experience to carry out all the treatments and a real highlight of my week.”
Eight employees from across the charity recently attended a Mental Health First Aid training course which has equipped them with the skills to support their own and others’ wellbeing and contribute to a culture of zero stigma when it comes to mental health awareness in the workplace. Their new knowledge means they will be able to help their teammates recover their health by guiding them to further support.
We’re also proud to be a part of the Government’s Kickstart programme which provides 16-24 year olds with a six-month paid work placement, giving them invaluable hands-on job experience and an opportunity to shape their future. We’ve recently welcome six Kickstart recruits who will be working in our shops, developing our databases, researching funding opportunities and supporting our services team.
Jay Dulay, who is developing our Salesforce database, explains the impact Kickstart had had:
“I completed a couple of years at University doing biomedicine, but realised it wasn’t really for me and I wanted to change direction and go into IT or data analysis. It was a hard decision to make after all the time I’d invested, but I knew it was the right one in the long term. Kickstart has been brilliant for me because I can balance it with my studies and it gives me the opportunity to be proactive and really make a difference to the charity. Wessex Cancer Support has been great. They’ve given me some great training and support and I’ve been able to work on some really interesting projects.”
Living with cancer can be incredibly tough. Many of us at Wessex Cancer Support have experienced cancer and so bring an empathy and ability to listen without judgement that can be incredibly comforting for our clients. All of our paid employees and volunteers are encouraged to access wellbeing support, training and development opportunities, regular 1:1s and team-building; and are consistently consulted on how best to build a charity that can be here for everyone who needs us.
We’re here for everyone who needs us, and we’re here for each other, too.