Last week Macmillan Cancer Support at Disability Solutions celebrated the official launch of their Welfare Benefits Advice Service in Staffordshire. The service offers free, confidential advice to people living with cancer, their carers and family on issues such as welfare benefit entitlements and all aspects of independent living to ease some of the additional pressures a cancer diagnosis brings.
The Service was established in July 2012 and since then the Macmillan Advice Workers have achieved gains of £1.4 million in benefits and additional income for over 700 people in Staffordshire affected by cancer. The service recently moved premises to the North Staffordshire Medical Institute and on the 23rd May volunteers, local GPs, the Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trent, medical professionals, charity organisations and councillors came together to celebrate the launch and find out more about what the service can offer.
There were speeches by representatives from Macmillan, Disability Solutions and Dorinda Palmer, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse at UHNS, followed by workshops to help dispel some of the myths around welfare benefits and to introduce the concept of Personal Health Budgets. The aim of the day was for people to understand the role of Disability Solutions, gain more information about the welfare benefits system and to understand some of the financial issues facing people affected by cancer.
Marika Hills, Macmillan Development Manager, said: ‘The launch of the service was a huge success, the feedback from attendees was that they all felt the aims of the launch were met and many congratulated us on an informative and interesting event. We are thrilled at how successful the partnership with Disability Solutions has been so far, they are making an enormous impact on the lives of local people living with cancer.’
Rodger Read, Chief Executive at Disability Solutions, said ‘We would like to thank everyone who attended the launch and all those who have helped us achieve so much. Disability Solutions have had links with Macmillan and UHNS, providing welfare benefit advice to those affected by cancer, for the past eight years. Demand for this service grew to a point where we could no longer cope and a bid was successfully submitted to Macmillan for a properly funded contract to cover the whole county. In Staffordshire there are high levels of deprivation and people affected by cancer so this service is vital and we look forward to celebrating its continued success.’
If you or your family live in or are currently receiving treatment in Staffordshire, and are struggling to cope with the impact of cancer you can access the Service by calling 01782 667321 to arrange a face to face appointment or for advice over the phone.
Cancer is the toughest fight that many of us will ever have to fight, but you do not have to do it alone. The Macmillan team is with you every step of the way. For more information about cancer, practical and emotional support, and to find out about local fundraising opportunities, call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk.