Cancer support charity Charis celebrates its 7th anniversary by unveiling a significant expansion programme at the centre. Local Portstewart and former Charis Cancer Care centre user Irene Moore discusses the services that Charis provide:
“When you are coping with cancer in your family it brings a range of challenges. There are times that you just need to escape, to chat to someone, to take timeout for yourself to reinvigorate. Charis offers a range of services that are essentially focused on your well-being. The highly skilled staff recognise what you’re going through, they’ve seen it many times before and they simply ‘help’. Whether that’s providing practical solutions such as dietary advice, or boosting your mental reserves by alleviating stress through massages or reflexology or counselling, it works! It helps and it makes a difference to people’s lives at a time when they need support.”
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and it is estimated that one in two people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer support charity Charis, which has been working to support people in Northern Ireland affected by cancer for the last seven years, has announced the centre will almost double in size in 2017.
The new, state-of-the-art expansion phase, where patients and families are treated under one roof, has been designed by Vision Design Architecture. The cutting edge design reflects two complementary aspects of cancer care – the ‘Science of Treatment’, which houses the treatment room facilities, and the ‘Art of Care’, which features more social and interactive areas. All of these services are provided free of charge.
Charis Cancer Care works in conjunction with clinical treatments for cancer. Comfortable treatment rooms are designed for the delivery of complementary therapies by trained practitioners. Support ranges from counselling services and dietary advice, right through to offering treatments such as reflexology and massage.
The expansion phase has been prompted by a significant increase in demand for the charity’s services. Imelda McGucken, Director of Charis Cancer Centre explains:
“For anyone who may not be familiar with Charis Cancer Care or what we provide, the charity was established to support people who are affected by cancer and families who have been bereaved through cancer. Charis can broaden the services offered to patients coping with diagnosis, detection and treatment. The programme has been designed to complement rather than replace orthodox cancer treatments with the aim of providing physical, psychological and emotional support through the relief of symptoms.
“Over 4,300 people have accessed Charis’ services to date and the centre will welcome its 5000th visitor this year. On average, the centre welcomes in excess of 25 new users per week and with the extension in place that number is likely to double. Highly trained therapists and tutors work with the person as a whole, ensuring they benefit from advice and treatments which are free of charge.”
Tom Diamond, Trustee at Charis Cancer Care adds:
“To accommodate this growth in demand we’ve submitted a planning application for an extension which will increase the size of the centre by roughly 50%, adding approximately 3,000 square feet. The new facility will provide two new treatment rooms, one counselling room, one beauty therapy room, one rest room and additional office space. We are delighted with the vision for the new centre and the difference it will make for the people who will avail of the expert services.”
“Charis does not receive government funding and relies exclusively on the support from the local community and businesses to raise funds. The annual running costs for the centre are currently in the region of £300,000. To help co-ordinate fundraising we are in the process of appointing a dedicated fundraiser. I can’t thank all our current donors enough. Their generosity makes a massive difference to people’s quality of life and well-being.”
To help with the administration side of the charity two new trustees have been appointed, Kirsty McManus and Jim Henry, bringing the number of trustees to seven in total.
Should you wish to make a donation to Charis to support cancer patients, their families and those bereaved with cancer, please contact Imelda McGucken on T: 028 8676 9217. All donations go straight to the charity.