WESSEX Cancer Trust, a charity that provides free and local support for cancer patients and their loved ones throughout Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, has taken its next steps to shape the future of cancer care by recruiting wellbeing coordinator, Phil Warner.
His role will help the charity deliver a personalised care model for every client and has been made possible thanks to a grant from the Linbury Trust.
It comes after Wessex Cancer Trust commissioned large research into what local people needed most from cancer support. Experts heard from over 500 people who have any cancer at any stage; loved ones affected by cancer, and major stakeholders including local hospitals, local authorities, other charities and hospitals. The findings highlighted the importance of emotional support and demonstrated that everyone has different needs, concerns and feelings. Therefore, a unique approach to care is needed.
Every client accessing the charity’s services will now have an opportunity to talk to Phil about their individual concerns and needs, who will then create a personalised support plan with them. Using this model, clients will be able to access the combination of services that suits them best. This will be remotely for now and face-to-face when its four support centres are allowed to reopen. The charity also plans to expand its support groups, workshops and courses on areas such as nutrition, sleep and wellbeing.
Colette Cowan, Wessex Cancer Trust’s Head of Service Delivery, said:
“We know that over 100,000 people are living with cancer in our region and that everyone’s journey through cancer is different. This requires a unique approach to care, and as a local charity, we have the freedom and flexibility to evolve our services. Never has that been truer than during COVID-19 when we were forced to close our four support centres temporarily.
“We quickly set up telephone helplines and moved services online so we can continue to provide the support people rely on. So I’m really excited that, thanks to the Linbury Trust, we’ve been able to welcome Phil to the team. His role will take the care we provide to a much deeper level and ensure clients benefit as much as possible from their time with us. We’re still very much the charity people know and love and always promise to be welcoming, friendly and supportive – whether you’re chatting with our trained befrienders, using our Daisy Bus to get to your hospital appointment or having a complementary therapy.”
“Cancer doesn’t just affect people 9-5, so we’ll be working even harder to ensure that as many people as possible can access care, away from a clinical environment. We’ll also be able to direct our clients to other partners who we think will be able to provide more specialised care, one example being financial support.”
Established in 1981, Wessex Cancer Trust provides free and local support for anyone living with cancer in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. It operates four cancer support centres which provide a drop-in service, professional counselling, complementary therapies, activities, support groups and courses.
It also runs outreach services, popular Sing for Life choirs and transport on its Daisy Buses to help patients get to their hospital appointments. Since COVID-19 forced the charity to close its support centres in March 2020 temporarily, it has continued developing extensive remote support resources, enabling anyone who needs help to access services online and via telephone. In 2020, the charity had over 13,000 interactions with clients, including 1,700 counselling sessions, more than 700 therapy sessions and 2,240 check-in calls. There were almost 3,500 views of its support pages, and 230 members have joined its closed Facebook support group.