Tailored support

Brought to you by Volunteer News

Macmillan volunteers make their time matter by supporting people affected by cancer in lots of innovative ways. 

One inspiring example of this is a growing volunteer-led Macmillan clothing scheme in Glasgow which provides new and donated clothing to people with cancer.

Helping with the cost of cancer

Cancer often costs more than you might expect, and four out of five patients are hit with an average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness.

Along with increased heating bills and the cost of travelling to and from appointments, sometimes people also need to spend money on new clothes when their old ones no longer fit due to their cancer or its treatment. Weight loss is a common symptom of cancer, while certain treatment drugs and therapies can cause weight gain. Volunteers at a clothes scheme in Glasgow believe people affected by cancer shouldn’t have to worry about their money as well as their health, so they’re doing something about it. 

It all began when Macmillan partnered with Boots to offer people living with cancer free items of clothing from a Boots store in Glasgow. The scheme, run by a fully-trained team of volunteers, has helped more than 320 people to find perfectly-fitting clothing so far. The service has been so successful that it has now expanded by teaming up with a local community organisation called R:evolve Recycle to offer clothes from their existing volunteer-led boutique in the city.

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A unique personal shopping experience

Their beautiful boutique offers people affected by cancer the combination of a bespoke service and a broad range of high-quality clothes, all completely free of charge. As a stylish, non-clinical shopping destination, there’s no doubt that the store offers its clients a completely different way to access the service. 

‘We offer a lovely, safe, relaxed and tailored shopping experience,’ says Mel Robinson, the scheme’s operations manager. ‘When a client is first referred to us, we collect some information about their age and size, and then we pull together the appropriate stock ready for their visit to the shop. When they arrive, they will be welcomed by our wonderful volunteers who will offer them a unique, relaxing retail experience without any worry about the cost.’

Lead volunteer Kirsty Travers adds that the service will help people with cancer to take back control. ‘We show people what we have to offer without putting any pressure upon them. It’s entirely down to them to choose what they want, so we’re keeping their independence going. I’ve had a personal experience of cancer myself, and I know that when your confidence and self-image are low, new clothes and a bit of TLC can make all the difference. That’s what we’re here to provide.’

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Got an idea?

If you have an innovative idea to improve the lives of people affected by cancer in your area, talk to your volunteer manager – who knows where it might lead!