Tuesday 28th April 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Spring 2015
The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) Macmillan Wellbeing Centre is a partnership between Macmillan and the North Bristol NHS Trust
The centre opened last September at Southmead Hospital
, and provides emotional, social and financial support for anyone affected by cancer. It offers Living Well sessions, which provide information and support for people living with a cancer diagnosis. Information can be found in an extensive library of Macmillan booklets and audio materials.
Dietitian appointments are available every two weeks, while Look Good, Feel Better workshops give visitors make-up and skincare tips. A planned complementary therapies service will include massage, aromatherapy and mindfulness sessions.
Project manager Helen France, a trained nurse with 15 years experience in cancer care, runs the centre along with a team of 20 volunteers and two cancer support workers. Helen says the most popular support is benefits advice, provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau, which Helen describes as ‘invaluable’.
Helen adds: ‘We’ve made a big effort to ensure the centre is friendly and relaxed. There are lots of comfy chairs and a big table where people are encouraged to sit down together with a pot of tea and cakes. Most importantly, it’s a place where visitors can get support from each other.’
The NGS has donated £500,000 to jointly fund the centre. With an ancient cherry tree growing outside the historic and refurbished building, the link to nature is reflected everywhere with wall murals, a local walking group, and craft and gardening workshops. ‘We wanted to make it very non-clinical – not a waiting room. The people coming through our doors have seen enough of that,’ says Helen.
‘Since we opened, we have had lots of positive feedback and people saying “We don’t know how we managed without you”.
‘Many of those who visit are people coming to the hospital for appointments with their families. GPs are increasingly informing their patients about us too, and we work closely with our clinical nurse specialists.‘
‘All our visitors are guaranteed a friendly welcome. We empower through information provision: we listen, we support and signpost, and hopefully we help to make the cancer journey just a bit easier.’
Please email Helen France.
Pictured left to right: Julia Palca, Macmillan Chairman; Penny Snell, NGS Chairman; George Plumptree, NGS Chief Executive; Carol Chapman, Lead Cancer Nurse, North Bristol NHS Trust; Helen France, Macmillan Project Manager; Su Mills, NGS County Organiser; Ed Murphy, Senior Macmillan Development Manager, South and West England