Sophie Beresford from Macmillan Cancer Support has written about the good work the charity does in Sussex, and then makes the case for getting involved in this year’s Coffee Morning to help the good work continue
It’s nearly 18 months since the first lockdown forced us indoors, quietening streets up and down the country. Whether it was jumping on a Zoom quiz, a 5km run for the NHS or binge-watching boxsets we all found ways to keep ourselves busy.
One of the most popular hobbies, however, had to be baking. As a result, we all witnessed an exceptional shortage in flour, with many outlets left with cobwebs as a reminder of where the much-desired ingredient was once stocked. Even Mary Berry knows it’s quite challenging to make a good cake without flour. Thankfully, outlets have replaced the cobwebs with flour just in time for Macmillan Cancer Support’s much-loved annual fundraiser – Coffee Morning.
It’s an unfortunate truth that one in two of us will face a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime. That is why Macmillan is doing whatever it takes to support people living with cancer across Sussex from the moment they are diagnosed.
In 2020 alone, Macmillan gave just over £131,700 in hardship grants to people with cancer in Sussex, meaning 439 people in the county were able to pay for essential home comforts, such as heating their homes, travel to hospital appointments, bedding and clothing.
In 2016, Macmillan, Sussex Cancer Fund and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust addressed this issue by working in partnership to open The Macmillan Horizon Centre. Located next to Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital, the centre provides vital support to the increasing number of people affected by cancer in Sussex.
The Macmillan Horizon Centre offers a calm, friendly and welcoming environment where people can access a wide range of cancer information and find out more about local and national support services. They can speak to benefits advisers about financial matters, receive counselling and complementary therapies, and chat to other people affected by cancer. There is also a café on site, where people can get together, as well as spaces for families, carers and support groups to meet.
Geoff Brown has been the Centre Manager at The Macmillan Horizon Centre since it opened and has witnessed first-hand the benefits the service has had on local people living with cancer. Geoff said, “Until five years ago, people affected by cancer in many parts of Sussex didn’t have anywhere to go where they could access professionals and resources to provide them with the information and support, they need under one roof. This meant local people may have been facing distressing physical, emotional, financial or practical cancer problems alone, or struggling to access support from different services.”
“It has been an anxious and frightening time for many people trying to cope with cancer during the Covid-19 pandemic – going through cancer treatment or getting a diagnosis is tough enough, but over the last eighteen disruptive and uncertain months, it’s become even more challenging and complex. That is why we want everyone in Sussex who needs us to know Macmillan are here for you, whatever cancer throws your way.”
Macmillan receives no government funding and relies on generous donations from the public to provide Macmillan grants and to fund the Macmillan Horizon Centre, alongside other cancer services across the county. That’s why the cancer charity needs you to dust off your apron and whizz up your best bake to help people living with cancer live life as fully as they can.
Having a Coffee Morning is the perfect chance to catch up over a cuppa and a slice of something delicious.
People all over the UK host their own Coffee Mornings to raise money for Macmillan. The official date is Friday 24th September, but it can be held at any time. From a group in the garden, sharing a coffee over a screen, or a takeaway cake and cuppa, hold yours however and whenever you like.
In 2020, Macmillan raised over £10 million. This is significantly lower than in previous years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But this year, we hope to top this total with your support. To find out more or sign up to host a Macmillan Coffee Morning, visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee
For comprehensive cancer information and support, including more information on the services mentioned above, visit www.macmillan.org.uk