When you are facing challenges in life, no matter how big or small, support means everything. Without a shoulder to cry on or someone to share the happy moments with, your journey can feel lonely and isolated.
Having a safe space – somewhere where people can feel supported and welcomed – can turn a situation around. Compassion is a big factor in support, by simply having somewhere to feel loved and looked after. This can be from anyone, but especially those who are caring for you.
Emma Ormrod, Wessex Cancer Trust Support Centre Manager in Bournemouth shares the importance of having a place to find strength, courage and just be yourself.
More Than Just A Service
“There’s a difference between fixing someone medically and taking care of them. You can’t give someone treatment and send them away, they still have a long way to go,” explains Emma.
As Emma sees it, once you have experienced something like cancer, you come out the other side as a different person. In order to help heal people fully, we help them find their new normal. In a holistic way, healing is much deeper than just having a clear medical record. Steering away from a clinical approach with white walls and disinfectant can provide that healing environment that people need.
“We pick people up from where their physical treatment ends. They don’t have any other aftercare. What we offer is a home from home, a community family which is big on connections.”
Knowing You’ve Made A Difference
“Actually coming to us is a big deal in itself. It is easy to put a face on and act like things are okay. You don’t need that mask here – you can offload, cry, anything you need.
“You can be you.”
It might sound small to some, but being yourself can be a big sigh of relief. Once you have let your guard down and spoken to someone who understand your situation, such as our volunteers, a weight is taken off of your shoulders.
At Wessex Cancer Trust, represented by Maria Tidy at Ferndown Business Network (FBN), a lot of the team has experienced cancer in some form in their lives. They won’t say anything clichéd or shy away from hard topics, so there’s no barrier to what you can and cannot say. You form a relationship with everyone and become personally invested in them getting better, just one reason why people turn to us. It is a form of care you can’t get elsewhere. You walk away uplifted, helping your mental wellbeing along with the physical.
“Cancer is a reality. People look at you differently, you can’t always work, and you might lose your hair. It comes with all these challenges, and we’re here to help you through them all.
“We act as a hug. We hold your hand, give you a shoulder to cry on and be your emotional rock throughout.”
Making Sure The Service Is Helping
The journey towards finding yourself again can be a long and painful one, but there will be a point in which you’ve found yourself again.
“As I’m in charge of that space, I feel like the mother of the ship,” Emma clarifies. “I just wanted to make more of what was already existing. There’s so many services, but so many gaps in care too.”
Wessex Cancer Trust prioritises care for each individual, it’s not a one size fits all policy. If we think another service is more tailored towards you, we’ll recommend them. It works the other way round too, so people recommend us.”
Not only does this help the people looking for an extra bit of support, but it helps us providers too. Less pressure is put on the NHS and other bigger charities to increase services and decrease waiting times. The more options available to patients, the better.
“When people are having to go to the hospital day in day out, it’s wearing. Some people can’t even drive past the hospital any more, as it’s too much for them. That routine is what we’re breaking. Having a separate supportive space is key.”
The moment you come through our door, everything is on your terms. You can say as much or as little about your experience to our staff, knowing that Wessex Cancer Trust is here for you regardless.
Emma gets to know everyone in the Centre, and they know her equally as well. Things like our coffee mornings and art groups bring people together in a way the hospitals aren’t able to, building that community. The groups become friends, and those friends see each other in their own time. It takes the pressure off of our workers, and gives the building blocks to people finding themselves again.
“We can look at people and figure out what they need, even if they don’t know what that is yet.
“It’s all about supporting yourself and others, that’s how you find your strength.”