Wessex Cancer Trust exists to support you at a time in your lives when you most need it. When the coronavirus pandemic forced us to temporarily close our support centres, we knew you would need us more than ever.
Cancer doesn’t stop, and we knew people might be feeling particularly anxious and isolated. Perhaps your treatment had been delayed, you’re waiting for a diagnosis or are worried about a higher risk of infection.
Our centre managers sprang into action, quickly setting up telephone helplines and moving many services online, as well as creating new things to access from home. Our Sing for Life choirs have been belting out tunes via Zoom and there’s been Bingo, coffee mornings and community get-togethers galore!
We’ve also been helping local organisations and larger national charities to support vulnerable and isolated people living with cancer.
We always listen to the needs of those who come to us for support so we can use feedback to give the very best care. We asked our existing and new clients what sort of support they felt they’ve needed and how supported they’ve felt during lockdown.
Most people came to us for emotional support, to be part of a supportive community and for information and advice.
86% said they felt very supported during lockdown, and 81% felt that our support was better or about the same as usual. 10% of respondents had started using our services durng lockdown.
We asked what people would like to see continue after our centres have reopened:
40% said online coffee mornings and support groups
49% said an online support section of our website
47% said the closed Facebook support group
45% said telephone or online counselling
When asked what the most valuable thing is about Wessex Cancer Trust, 78% said either having someone to talk to or feeling part of a community.
Additionally, 90% of respondents said they would like to see us providing online courses. Relaxation and mindfulness were the most requested courses.
Colette Cowan, our Head of Service Delivery, says she’s incredibly proud of our support centre managers and how they’ve continued to be here for existing and new clients living with cancer while the centres are closed:
“Lots of people tell us that Wessex Cancer Trust is like having an extended family, and our centre managers are at the heart of that. They’ve gone above and beyond to make sure anyone living with cancer knows they still have somewhere to go during the coronavirus pandemic. We were pleased that our survey results reflected this and it’s heartening to know that people will continue to use our remote services in the future. Of course, we know that getting together is incredibly important – 83% of respondents said they would benefit from face-to-face contact, and we’re looking forward to re-opening as soon as it’s safe for us to do that.”