1 October 2009
Macmillan general manager for Wales, Cath Lindley with Diane Raybould of Rhondda Breast Friends at the opening of the new library cancer information service
Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a unique information service based in libraries across Rhondda Cynon Taf. The service is the first of its kind in Wales and offers comprehensive information about cancer at the county’s 29 libraries and four mobile libraries.
This groundbreaking project is the brainchild of Diane Raybould of Rhondda Breast Friends. She said she came up with the idea after her experience following her cancer diagnosis. Diane said:
'I had to do my own research and I spent hours on the internet trying to find information so I could understand what was happening to me. I often felt foolish asking questions at the hospital and sometimes I didn’t know if they had been addressed fully or if I had understood the answer.
'After a visit to my local library I realised that this was the ideal way that patients could access information and vital support. This service has a huge potential to make a difference to the lives of people affected by cancer in Rhondda Cynon Taf.'
Macmillan has worked in partnership with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Rhondda Cynon Taff Teaching Local Health Board and the South East Wales Cancer Network to create designated areas in the libraries, which offer free information about cancer including its diagnosis and treatment.
Ginny Brink, Macmillan information and support services adviser for Wales, said:
'Macmillan has expertise in providing comprehensive information about cancer. We know that cancer makes people feel confused and vulnerable but information gives back a sense of control and dignity. It can help at all stages from the initial diagnosis through treatment and beyond. We have access to an extensive library of information and visitors will be able to request information free of charge.'
As well as the booklets and leaflets, Macmillan has trained all library staff so they can offer help and support to deal with enquiries. In addition to the information about the disease, people affected by cancer can find out about help with benefits, grants as well as access to counselling and further support offered by local cancer charity, Cynon Valley Cancer Support.
Cath Lindley, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said:
'Libraries are the hub of the community and provide a valuable way of offering information to everyone. This will enable Macmillan to provide vital information about cancer to people closer to their homes and in a friendly environment.'
As well as information, Macmillan will be providing a trained information coordinator who will cover the whole of Rhondda Cynon Taf offering outreach services to the libraries. They will be in post by spring 2010.
Lindsay Morris, Area Librarian (South) for Rhondda Cynon Taf Library Service, said:
'Rhondda Cynon Taf libraries are proud to be launching the first library-based cancer information service in Wales, in conjunction with Macmillan Cancer Support and the South East Wales Cancer Network. The service will be available from all libraries across the county borough, so cancer patients and their families can access information locally and in an informal setting.'
Nicola Davies, Health Social Care and Wellbeing Partnership Manager for Rhondda Cynon Taff Teaching Local Health Board and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said:
'Not everyone has access to the internet or can ring up their doctor with a question. This service will increase the availability of high quality cancer information in local facilities which are closer to people's homes and at times which are convenient to them.'
While this project is the first in Wales, Macmillan is working to develop a similar service for people living in Newport and Cwmbran.