24 June 2015
Glaswegians in need of cancer support can now find it in supermarkets, shopping centres and even museums. In what is believed to be a Scottish first, pop up cancer support services are being set up across the city by charity Macmillan Cancer Support and Glasgow Life.
Cancer support will be offered everywhere from the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to local community centres and even workplaces. The outreach services are an extension of the Macmillan@Glasgow Life project set up in 2012 to offer cancer support to people in libraries across the city. Macmillan and Glasgow Life hope taking the service out into some of the city’s busiest locations will help them reach more people, as well as raise the profile of the library-based support services.
Manager of the Macmillan@Glasgow Libraries project Janice Malone, said: 'There are thousands of people in the city living with the impact of cancer either directly or through a loved one. Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for them to get the support they need by taking the support to them. This is the first time we know of that anything like this has been tried in the city, and possibly even in Scotland.
'We’ve already run a few sessions at places including Kelvingrove Museum and Boots at the Fort and found there is a real demand for this kind of support. As well as helping people then and there it’s also been a really good way to let people know about the library-based cancer support services available if they want to talk to us again.'
Anne Brown was one of the first people to access support from the Macmillan@Glasgow Life outreach service. The Glasgow woman, whose partner Robert was diagnosed with a brain tumour two months ago, was visiting Boots at the Fort when she came across the service. She said: 'Robert’s diagnosis was a complete shock. Neither of us had any idea what to do with ourselves, where we could go for a bit of emotional support or how to deal with the financial issues his illness suddenly brought.
'If I hadn’t found Macmillan offering support in the middle of a busy shop I’m certain we would still be in the same place, just reeling from the shock and not knowing what to do.
'I spoke to a lovely lady who just listened to me talk about everything that was going on and it was such a relief. She told me about the regular support sessions at Parkhead Library and I went along there and spoke to an angel of a man.
'From there we were put in touch with a Macmillan service that helped us claim benefits and another service helped sort out financial issues.
'Money isn’t something you want to think about when someone who love has cancer but the reality is that the bills still need paid. Macmillan dealt with all of that so we could just focus on spending time together.
'We were also told about a really brilliant service Macmillan has called Move More that helps people with cancer do some gentle exercise to promote wellbeing and we went along to a class.
'All of that was an absolute godsend at a time we were really struggling. If Macmillan@Glasgow Libraries hadn’t been there the day I went out shopping I honestly don’t know how we’d have coped.'
One of the volunteers Anne spoke to was Dennistoun woman Frances Graham who has volunteered for Macmillan@Glasgow Libraries for two years.
She began giving her time after losing three close work colleagues to cancer and deciding to help other people in their memory.
The 64-year-old, said: 'I’ve been volunteering at least twice a week for about two years. I’ve enjoyed all of it but I’ve really loved the outreach work so far.
'It’s good to be out there offering support and telling people about our library support service so they can find us whenever they want.
'Dealing with cancer can be so difficult for people and I’m grateful to be able to help by just listening and letting them know about the other kinds of support available in the city, such as benefits advice, massage, counselling and physical activity programmes.
'People come and talk to us when they or one of their families members have just been diagnosed, during treatment or even after treatment has finished and they’re physically okay but often really struggling to get past everything they’ve been through.
'I’m really excited about getting out into more areas in Glasgow and reaching as many people as we can.'