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Cancer support bus ‘just the ticket’ for Peter

Our plan to extend our services to communities across Sheffield and the wider region will help people like Peter, who has accessed our cancer support both before and during the pandemic.

Our plan to extend our services to communities across Sheffield and the wider region will help people like Peter, who has accessed our cancer support both before and during the pandemic.

He has benefitted from our We Care calls, legal support, hardship grants, welfare services, food delivery during lockdowns and our positive about life course, all of which aim to make life better for people living with and beyond cancer.

Peter was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2016 and underwent intense chemotherapy at Weston Park Cancer Centre in Sheffield. The 74-year-old from Handsworth has received support for fatigue and other side effects of his cancer and cancer treatment, which at times can leave him feeling ‘horrible’.

Unfortunately, his cancer has since returned, and Peter underwent a second round of chemotherapy in 2019 at Weston Park. His treatment and condition has had a huge impact on his life, but Weston Park Cancer Charity has been there for him – together at every step.

From the moment Peter walked through Weston Park Cancer Support’s doors, on Northumberland Road, he felt supported – and he’s full of praise for our exciting new cancer support bus project, which will exist to help people like Peter – together at every step.

Thanks to significant funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and substantial backing from our wonderful partners and supporters – including Westfield Health and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS Cancer Alliance, we will be taking our support services on the road.

Our double-decker cancer support bus will enable us to take our outreach support to Sheffield’s most deprived wards, reaching 3,000 people affected by cancer over three years. Through this, we will raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer to people in high-risk communities who are least likely to seek support.

Peter said:

“I think it’s good. People will benefit from it who can’t get out to the support centre. Rather than catching a bus all the way to the centre, they can go into the community and see you.
“A lot of people at times can’t get to the centre, so if you go about on the bus, they’ll know everything Weston Park does. They’ll know where it is, everything. It’s just the ticket, that.
“It’ll be like a hub, you can get all your benefits information, all your nurses information and all your health information from it.”

Among the services which our support bus will provide in communities across Sheffield will be:

  • One-to-one emotional and practical support;
  • Guidance on signs and symptoms and the help which exists from the NHS and from other charities;
  • Benefits advice;
  • Our Positive About Life courses – which Peter accessed before the pandemic;
  • Bereavement courses;
  • Peer support groups;
  • Complementary therapies

“The people who run the course were so friendly,” Peter said, referencing the Positive About Life course which he attended following his initial diagnosis.

“They don’t stigmatise you. Everyone is in a similar predicament – they went round us one at a time and asked us about our situation. Nobody looked down on you – it was great, I really enjoyed it.”

Peter lives a stone’s throw from an Asda superstore in Handsworth, but due the nature of his condition he was shielding during lockdowns. However, our shopping delivery service meant he still had access to basic essentials.

“It was really good to have the support of Weston Park Cancer Charity with shopping deliveries,” said Peter.

“It made me feel good because I knew I’d got somebody coming to visit me, because I couldn’t have any visitors in.”

From April 2020 to March 2021, more than 1,000 ‘We Care’ calls were made by our healthcare professionals to individuals who were shielding or whom may feel isolated during the pandemic, to make sure they were not totally alone during such an anxiety-inducing time.

Emily in our team called Peter every month to help alleviate any feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Among the main reasons for Weston Park Cancer Charity’s outreach work is to bring services like these closer to people like Peter.

Darnall, which neighbours Peter’s home in Handsworth, is among our target wards with high incidences of premature cancer deaths. Figures show that these communities tend to be among those least likely to access the charity’s support services.

Working in partnership with the National Lottery and with significant support from Westfield Health and the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System Cancer Alliance, we will ensure that our services reach more people just when they need support most.

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