Part­ner­ship has helped with sup­port

The two groups have won awards for info ser­vice

West Lothian Courier - - Courier View - Lo­cal democ­racy re­porter

A new part­ner­ship between West Loth­ian Coun­cil and Macmil­lan Can­cer Sup­port has helped al­most 1000 peo­ple in the last year - al­most ex­clu­sively thanks to vol­un­teers.

Fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of the NHS staff mem­ber em­ployed in the West Loth­ian Can­cer In­for­ma­tion and Sup­port Ser­vice, the ser­vice was adopted by Macmil­lan @ West Loth­ian and re­launched as Macmil­lan @ Car­mon­dean Con­nected in a new area within the Liv­ingston cen­tre li­brary. It is one of five es­tab­lished in the county.

Elaine Nis­bet, anti poverty and wel­fare ad­vice man­ager, told a meet­ing of the coun­cil’s Vol­un­tary Or­gan­i­sa­tions De­vel­op­ment and Scru­tiny Panel that the ser­vice was largely drawn from vol­un­teers, with nine ex­tra re­cruited over the year to bring the num­ber to 20.

Work­ing out of the five com­mu­nity cen­tres and part­ner­ships across West Loth­ian the vol­un­teers had con­trib­uted 1500 hours of work of­fer­ing ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion dur­ing 330 drop-in ses­sions through­out the year.

Over 800 peo­ple were given help or in­for­ma­tion at the drop-ins with 316 re­fer­rals to part­ner ser­vices and over 2000 can­cer in­for­ma­tion pub­li­ca­tions is­sued.

The ser­vice has also made good progress in set­ting up tar­geted Aware­ness Months fo­cus­ing on dif­fer­ent can­cer themes.

A re­port to com­mit­tee said “more peo­ple af­fected by can­cer in West Loth­ian have been able to ac­cess the sup­port they re­quire at a chal­leng­ing time in their lives.”

Coun­cil­lor Bruce Fair­bairn asked if it was the case that men over 50 were among the most hard to reach groups and sug­gested that the part­ner­ship es­tab­lish links with the Walk­ing Foot­ball group based in Whit­burn which is open to both men and woman.

The part­ner­ship has won awards from Macmil­lan for its in­for­ma­tion and sup­port ser­vices and plans to roll out 10 more ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion points in­clud­ing one in Lin­lith­gow.

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