Tayside Cancer Support

Shining Light on the Cancer Journey

Shining Light on the Cancer Journey

I became involved with Tayside Cancer Support 11 years ago after taking early retirement from the NHS. Over the years since then, the charity has grown and evolved into a much more dynamic and proactive service.

I was recruited via an advertisement in the local press, now we have our own website and social media presence and direct contact with businesses who encourage their staff to become involved in charitable activities.

Our core function at that time was to provide a face to face, professional, confidential listening service through our volunteer befrienders. This allowed anyone affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly the space to talk honestly and openly about their feelings without being judged. Over the years we realised that for some of our clients, this was not enough and more intensive support was required. From this evolved an opportunity for the charity to offer a professionally trained counsellor who now provides a range of alternative therapies as well as one to one counselling. This is offered away from our base in the St Aiden’s Centre and takes place in a relaxed and comfortable setting.

When Covid came, with all the issues that lockdown raised, there were few opportunities for support for people dealing with a cancer diagnosis. We realised that the need at that time was even greater for our clients. Reduced social interaction with family and friends meant that isolation and loneliness took its toll on many people. We decided that though not ideal, since we could not meet our clients, we could provide telephone or video call support for them if they found that acceptable. This enabled us to keep both our volunteers and clients safe while still providing this much-needed service. Some of our clients preferred this method of contact so we now offer both face to face meetings or telephone contact depending on what the client and befriender are comfortable with.

To continue to grow our small charity we felt it was important to become a bigger part of our community so that more people were aware of our existence. We set up a monthly drop in cafe offering a place for anyone to come and have a tea/coffee and a friendly chat. The reinstatement of this café became even more important after Covid especially as the cost-of-living crisis grew. It provided a chance for anyone to meet up in a warm welcoming environment.
All our services are provided free to our clients and with increasing numbers this meant that we had to look at ways to raise the necessary funding to continue to provide these important services. As well as applying for grants etc we now hold several events throughout the year e.g., our annual golf day and Christmas fayre, which helps bring in this much needed revenue.

In the coming years as the number of people diagnosed with cancer continues to grow, we will see an increasing need for our charities services and we hope to continue to provide them in an evolving and innovative manner.

Ros Marr