Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Charity helps patients secure £4m in support


A cancer charity has helped nearly 1100 Lanarkshir­e patients secure £4 million in financial support to help with essential costs as they cope with treatment.

Macmillan Cancer Support funds benefits advice services in both North and South Lanarkshir­e, which respective­ly helped 574 and 516 people during the 12 months to June this year.

Experts from the Money Matters team in South Lanarkshir­e helped each person assisted in that area to claim an average of £4000, while in North Lanarkshir­e the average figure was £3600 towards the financial pressures which many people face after being diagnosed with cancer.

Among those assisted during the past year was North Lanarkshir­e resident Jane Gavin, 62, who was diagnosed in February with breast cancer.

She said: “The service have been such a great help to me. They sorted me out with a blue badge so that I could park easily when going to hospital chemothera­py appointmen­ts, and helped me fill in all the forms I need for financial support.

“You can pick the phone up to them anytime and it’s never a problem. Sometimes you think you’re asking daft questions, but they always put you at ease and are just so nice – I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Derek Houston of the financial inclusion team at North Lanarkshir­e Council, which runs the area’s Macmillan service, said: “Cancer comes with lots of unexpected costs and often a loss in income. No-one who has a lifethreat­ening illness should have to worry about how to pay their

bills or cover the costs of getting to hospital, but every day we hear from people facing these choices.

“It can feel like a maze, particular­ly for those who have never tried to navigate the benefits system before, and especially when someone is going through gruelling treatment or struggling to deal with the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis.

“We want everyone with cancer to know we’re here to help make sure they get access to all the money they’re entitled to, and I’d urge anyone with cancer to get in

touch and see how we can help.”

The cancer charity provides a range of support across Lanarkshir­e, including its Move More activity classes and a popular community garden at Summerlee museum in Coatbridge.

Janice Preston, who is Macmillan’s head of services in Scotland, said: “Dealing with the emotional and physical impacts of cancer is one thing, trying to do so while worrying about how to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head is another.

“A cancer diagnosis is

something that can turn people’s lives upside down with a huge range of emotional, physical and financial impacts.

“It’s not always what goes on in hospital that concerns people the most – for many, money is the next biggest worry after the shock of their initial diagnosis.

“Cancer is simply not something anyone can budget for and we are immensely proud of what our Macmillan benefits advisers are achieving when it comes to relieving just some of the financial anxiety experience­d by people with cancer.”

Macmillan relies almost entirely on donations from the public to fund its services, and has seen its fundraisin­g income drop since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Janice added of the financial support provided: “These services simply would not be there without the continued backing of our generous supporters - who we need now more than ever after 18 months of cancelled fundraisin­g events.”

Visit for more informatio­n and to find support.

 ?? ?? Helping hand Volunteers tend to the Macmillan Move More community garden at Summerlee museum
Helping hand Volunteers tend to the Macmillan Move More community garden at Summerlee museum

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