Centres reopening on 1 September

CancerCare will be re-opening its doors to people affected by cancer and bereavement on Tuesday 1 September.

We closed our centres at Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow at the end of March when the coronavirus outbreak made face-to-face appointments between clients and therapists impossible. 

Stringent cleaning regimes will be put in place at all three centres and we have carefully planned how staff will manage the clients’ journey through the buildings to ensure social distancing regulations continue to be maintained.

Initially, we will only be carrying out one-to-one therapies such as counselling, aromatherapy etc: regular group activities, such as the weekly art sessions, drop-in meetings and coffee mornings will not initially be taking place from 1 September.

Chief Executive Maria Chambers said: “We are delighted that we will once again be able to welcome our clients back to the centres.  We have been extremely successful in continuing to support to people ‘virtually’ but we can’t wait to be able to provide a warm smile and a friendly face, in person, once again.

“I am conscious that many of our current, and new, clients who have been isolating or shielding will have concerns about how their face-to-face sessions will be managed.   However, our staff and therapists have worked hard to ensure that their appointments are carried out hygienically and professionally while retaining the warm and caring CancerCare quality they need and value so much.”

During the pandemic, we continued to offer a range of support to people via telephone and online platforms such as Zoom, including counselling, yoga, pilates, reiki, nutritional advice and mindfulness.  We also set up a special helpline which provided essential medical deliveries for people isolating due to pre-existing health conditions.

We also broadened the scope of people who qualified for professional help to include NHS workers and care staff and extended its bereavement counselling service to include anyone bereaved during the pandemic, for any reason.

Counsellor Helen Fry said she too was looking forward to being able to see clients in person, once again.

“I never imagined myself working with clients in any way other than face to face, and I've been surprised to discover that working in virtual ways can still be immensely valuable. It can feel relaxing for people to be in their own home, and I've found it's possible to pick up a lot about someone’s emotional state simply through their voice. But for others it’s hard to find an undisturbed space at home, people miss the sanctuary of the centres and some find it difficult to feel the same depth of connection as when we meet in person.

“It’s great news that CancerCare is preparing to open its doors in September, and we will gradually be welcoming our clients back in a safe and well-managed way. While we will continue to offer some sessions remotely, it will be wonderful see people again, some of whom we have worked with for several months and never met in person!”

Following the reopening, we will continue to run our Helpline which over the last 18 weeks received more than 1,300 calls from people seeking help ranging from simple advice to specialist counselling.

For more information about the range of help available from CancerCare call 03330 150 628 (charged at standard rate) email CancerCareCan@cancercare.org.uk, text: 07860 018 278 or visit www.cancercare.org.uk

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