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£460K National Lottery funding to improve cancer care across Western Trust region



The National Lottery Community Fund has announced that a total of £465,000 is going to Cancer Connected Communities West programme; a collaborative partnership between 6 specialist Cancer Charities from across the Western Trust area.

The programme provides care and support for people and family members affected by cancer and is supported by the Western Trust.

As part of the initiative programmes and services will aim to address social wellbeing through support groups and health improvement activities. This includes addressing emotional wellbeing through counselling and therapeutic interventions, physical wellbeing through Behaviour Management Programmes, the promotion of checking and screening as well as financial wellbeing through benefits and social welfare advice.

Importantly, for some, the initiative also supports spiritual wellbeing by providing time for meditation, relaxation and connection to the things that sustain and supports the will to live.

The lead partner in the initiative is Derry Well Women; a not-for-profit centre which offers health and social care services to women of all ages in a welcoming, relaxed, safe and confidential space.

In total the National Lottery Community Fund has announced it is to award £2.6 million of funding to 59 projects across Northern Ireland, with almost 20% going to the Western Trust region.

Over three years, it is hoped the project will closely connect people affected by cancer to each other; to support in the community and will also link them to the people who deliver cancer services so they can use their experiences to make improvements.

Commenting on the Lottery award Western Trust Director of Acute Services, Geraldine McKay, said:Support

“This award from the National Lottery Community Fund is very welcome and will help us to further strengthen the availability of Cancer Support Services across the Western Trust region.

“The allocation of these funds to Derry Well Woman as lead partner, demonstrates the strong relationships among our partner organisations and will give the opportunity for to build upon support to patients and their families impacted by cancer.”

“Over the next three years, with the help of these funds, we hope to demonstrate further what can be achieved through true collaborative working and by forging relationships between the Western Trust and our partner organisations.

“Ultimately it will be patients and their families that benefit from this award, and it is our hope that it will also lead to the delivery of stronger patient care in the months and years ahead.”

Susan Gibson, Manager of Derry Well Women said:

“This is the first time that multiple charities along with the WHSCT have come together in a coordinated way to improve services for cancer patients. This is a great achievement and a commitment to work together and make change happen.

“In the last four years 3,995 people* were diagnosed with cancer in the WHSCT area which has a population of roughly 300,000. So, we have a lot of people to help, and we need to make sure the support they get is meeting their needs.

“As we recover from COVID-19, this project is needed now more than ever. We have challenges to overcome but connecting people and giving them a voice to create change will help.”

Patrice Doherty, 39, a pharmacy technician from L/Derry knows how vital connections and improvements to services like this will be for cancer patients. Patrice was diagnosed with Breast Cancer three years ago and has been supported by Derry Well Women for the last two years.

Patrice explained:

“Everyone’s cancer journey is different, so they need different support and information. I was seriously ill for weeks in hospital after suffering side-effects from chemotherapy and the doctors decided it was too risky to have radiotherapy or surgery, so I’m now on long-term immunotherapy. Being able to have a voice and use our varying experiences to improve services is brilliant.

“The support group at Derry Well Women has meant I’ve never felt alone – we’re a support system for each other. This project is going to make a big difference to people like me.”

National Lottery players raise around £36 million every week across the UK for good causes like these. The vast majority of grants awarded are for smaller amounts of under £10,000, going to the heart of communities to make a big difference.

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“It’s great to see such a variety of vital projects being funded to help people as they recover from the pandemic. I’m looking forward to seeing how these projects improve communities and the lives of people from across Northern Ireland as people start to come together again to re-build and re-connect.

“National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is making such a difference to people’s lives.”