New cancer support service is launched

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A unique cancer advocacy service for over 50s in the Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire areas has been launched.

ICANN (Independent Community Advocacy Network North) in association with OPAAL (Older People’s Advocacy Alliance) was granted a share of £1.2m Lottery cash offered nationally to run a three-year pilot scheme.

Open to anyone over 50 who is affected by cancer, either as a patient,

a family member, friend or carer, advocacy support will help signpost help with social care, finanical matters, practical issues, and volunteers can also attend appointments with a person.

Janet Cullingford, services manager at ICANN, said: “This will be very helpful for more isolated people.

“Ideally, people have friends and family for support, but not everybody does, and some people can’t always discuss everything with people close to them - they might want someone independent.

“This is a holistic service that helps join up all the gaps and helps show people what they are entitled to.”

There are currently eight volunteers signed up to the service, with Janey hoping to double the number by the end of the year.

All are over 50, given full training, and some have personal experience of dealing with cancer.

Janet added: “We will try to match the people to a volunteer we think they’ll get on with.”

People can self-refer to the service based in Victoria Road, Fulwood, or they can be put in touch by medical staff of Help Direct.

Generally volunteers carry out home visits, but they can meet with people in hospitals or in other places the person feels comfortable.

Janet added: “It’s a really exciting time and we hope we can eventually expand to the whole of Lancashire.”

Anyone interested in the service is asked to call 01772 900253 or visit: