It’s Volunteers Week (June 1st – 7th) and all week Giving Times will meet one of the Macmillan Horizon Centre Volunteers.
The Macmillan Horizon Centre is running a campaign during Volunteers Week (June 1st to 7th) to raise awareness of the volunteers who give up their time to offer a range of support people affected by cancer across Sussex.
There are more than 100 volunteers who are able provide a range of services at the centre, from providing information and support, giving complementary therapies, providing psychological therapy sessions, to cutting hair and running exercise classes.
Geoff Brown, Horizon Centre manager, said: “Since opening in November we are very proud that we have responded to nearly 10,000 requests of information and support. This includes; more than 4,500 visits to our café, nearly 350 complementary therapy treatments, more than 450 counselling sessions, and more than 800 peer support sessions for head and neck cancer patients.
“We are really pleased that we have been able to support so many people affected by cancer. That has been made possible by the generosity of our volunteers. As the demand grows so does the need for more volunteers to provide that support.”
All volunteers are professionals who dedicate a minimum of half a day a month, some doing a morning every week.
Fatima Polo volunteers as a yoga instructor and runs a female-only yoga class from the centre, based in Brighton, every Monday evening from 5.30-6.45pm. Originally from Madrid, she now lives in Hove with her partner.
She says: “I hold a yoga class especially for women. I had always been interested in yoga and how it can help women gain a sense of freedom and peace from the class. They can relax and it’s a space for them to be calm and get a sense of disconnection from their anxieties. Breathing, mindfulness and being able to relax is hugely beneficial to reducing stress.
“The class is for all ages and abilities and the women I have vary from 37 to 74.
“I have found volunteering here at the centre so rewarding. People have told me it helps get them through the week. Since volunteering here, I have seen women evolve, some who have had physical restrictions, stiff arms and I get the chance to see them progress,
“My granddad had cancer for years and I want to be able to help people to cope with what he went through.
“I wanted to be able to share what I have learned with people who can benefit from it. It means I give something and in return I get a lot of very positive experiences.”
Meet Fatima in person here in her specially filmed video
Lyn Foster, from Burgess Hill has volunteered at the café since it opened. She also made the Horizon Centre cake to mark the opening. She said: “I had breast cancer four years ago, and I wanted to be able to offer support to others. I saw an advert on Facebook and thought it was perfect for me. I had already worked in food because I’m a cake decorator so it seemed the perfect fit. I came here and everything clicked. It’s a great team effort. You offer support, but you also feel supported.”
Morgana Villen is a complementary therapist. She said: “The reason I volunteer at the Horizon Centre is firstly because I really love my work as a complementary therapist and my aunty and grandmother died of cancer. My aunty didn’t have a good experience and so now I can make things better for people with cancer – make them a little bit more comfortable. It’s good for someone who’s going through a difficult time to receive something as lovely and relaxing as a massage. But we need more people. We have a waiting lists so if you are a therapist, then please come here and volunteer for a few hours a week.”
All volunteers are interviewed and offered training. If you can join the team of volunteers at the Horizon Centre, then please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
To find out more about the Horizon Centre which is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 4.30pm and the range of support it can offer please visit www.macmillan.org.uk/horizoncentre or call 01273 468770 or call in to the centre, opposite the Sussex Cancer Centre, on Bristol Gate, BN2 5BD.
You can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/macmillanhorizoncentre/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/Mac_Horizon.
The Macmillan Horizon Centre offers all round practical, emotional and financial support for people affected by cancer across Sussex.
Expertly designed with input from people affected by cancer, the centre is a non-clinical, calm, friendly, and welcoming environment adjacent to the Sussex Cancer Centre where people will receive their expert clinical treatment.
We offer a range of: information and support; welfare and financial advice; hair, skincare, and body image support; counselling and psychological therapies; complementary therapies; physical activity classes; a friendly café with a range of food and drinks; and workshops to build cooking skills and confidence to eat well and feel better; and space for several self-help and support groups offering different types of support and activities for people affected by cancer.
The Macmillan Horizon Centre is a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, the Sussex Cancer Fund and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
The centre is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm and for more information email email@example.com or call 01273 468770 or call in BN2 5BD or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/horizoncentre