CancerWise, an independent, Chichester based charity offers professional and caring support to local people with cancer and their families. Based in the centre of the town and serving patients and their families throughout West Sussex and South East Hampshire, we offer a wide range of services. These include counselling, complementary therapies, art therapy, gentle exercise classes, music therapy, specialist support groups and social events. Many clients who access these services often find themselves isolated after receiving their diagnosis, our drop-in centre in Chichester helps them to build strong and lasting relationships with both clients and staff. Cancer patients including parents with young families and those who have a child or loved one diagnosed face fear, anxiety and sadness, CancerWise offers them a talk therapy in a non-clinical environment. Inevitably, many of those who access our services are unwell and a significant number are elderly.
Over 250 people per month visit our centre with referrals coming from Macmillan, Worthing and St Richards Hospitals and local GP’s, clients can also self-refer to our service. As the only facility offering such services in the area and based on our strong local reputation for professionalism and care, we have seen an ever-increasing demand for our work. CancerWise services are client centred and directed, supporting clients through diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
Increasingly more people are being diagnosed with cancer and living longer, fear, anxiety and depression quite often continue well after treatment has stopped. The quality of life of cancer patients is to be tracked as part of plans by the NHS to radically improve care and support for people once treatment ends. CancerWise has been supporting people throughout their cancer journey since 1983. Our aim is to help people live as well as possible with the impact of cancer, improve quality of life and wellbeing. During treatment cancer patients have the support of nurses, oncologists, and doctors but once treatment has ended they are often left with feelings of not knowing where to turn to. Many people have described the feeling of ending their treatment for cancer as ‘falling off a cliff’ this is an extremely anxious and lonely experience. Counselling referred by a GP can have a waiting time of up to 4 months and in some cases clients have been referred to CancerWise from other services for having no availability. CancerWise can offer clients a counselling appointment within 2 weeks of their first contact. Often support will focus on the patient, CancerWise will support family members who find it difficult to accept the diagnosis of their loved one, adapt to their role changes of partner to carer, changes in body image and bereavement.
CancerWise also provide counselling services to children aged 16+ who have been diagnosed with Cancer or are coping with the diagnosis of a loved one. It is apparent that counselling available to a young person prior to bereavement is extremely limited with long waiting lists and at most times unavailable. CancerWise receive many calls and referrals from local health providers and schools requesting counselling for young people experiencing cancer. To be able to provide this service with our team of professional, qualified and DBS checked counsellors is a great achievement and an extremely valued service to many young people throughout West Sussex and South East Hampshire.
CancerWise provide 2100 hours of counselling and complementary therapy services per year at a cost of £42,000, we need to raise over £100,000 per year to keep the centre open and services accessible to the growing number of clients coming through our door.
CancerWise support clients through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. It is vital that CancerWise continue to provide prompt access to counselling and support services while providing a backup service for the already oversubscribed services in the area.