This Friday, hopes are sips of coffee and bites of cake will help raise millions of pounds to support people living with cancer in our community.
The annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is run by British charity Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer, and is its largest fundraising event.
The first Coffee Morning took place back in 1990.
Kathryn Johnson, communications officer - South East, Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It was a rather small affair with a simple idea: guests would gather over coffee and donate the cost of their cuppa to Macmillan in the process. It was so effective, we did it again the next year – only this time nationally.”
Since then, the Coffee Morning has raised over £200 million for Macmillan.
The initiative has grown over the years in West and East Sussex, too. More than 2,420 Coffee Mornings took place across Sussex in 2017, raising over £565,000 for people living with cancer.
Previous years’ Coffee Mornings have, for example, helped fund The Macmillan Information Centre at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester.
Kathryn said: “We are funding the Hospital Specialist Palliative Nursing team to extend their working hours to include weekends and bank holidays; several Macmillan specialist cancer nurses and two Macmillan support workers, as well as two Macmillan Chemotherapy Support Workers.
“We recently formed a partnership with Carers Support West Sussex to fund a new Macmillan Carer Wellbeing Service, to support family and friend carers of people living with cancer.”
This Friday, events are being held in homes, workplaces and community centres across the community.
They are attracting considerable support from the business community.
Macmillan’s headline partner for Coffee Mornings for nine years, Marks & Spencer is donating a percentage of sales of a range of cakes, supplying free kits for hosts and making a 5p donation from the sale of every drink or slice of cake sold in its cafes over September.
Kathryn said other events are in the pipeline, too: “Local fundraising groups and committees often organise events and social activities – keep an eye on local media or check our Facebook Page, Macmillan in the South East, for details.”
‘Do something amazing’
British charity Macmillan Cancer Support is inviting volunteers to help people impacted by cancer live their lives to the full.
Macmillan spokesperson Kathryn Johnson said: “People affected by cancer tell us they need local support during their cancer journey. By choosing to join us as a practical and emotional support volunteer, you’ll be doing something amazing for people at a difficult time.”
Ways to get involved range from cheering on a marathon runner to volunteering in the charity’s offices or providing hands-on support.
Kathryn said: “Macmillan Coastal West Sussex Buddies is a new volunteer-led service designed to provide emotional and practical support to people living with cancer. We’re looking for volunteers to help people aged 18 plus living with cancer.
“Our volunteers will be fully trained to provide free practical, emotional and companionship support for people when they really need it and help them feel a bit more in control. You’ll be helping someone affected by cancer who will identify the support most useful to them, which may change over time.”
Activities include practical support, helping with daily activities such as shopping, gardening and housework, or emotional support, listening and talking, providing a supportive relationship to help reduce feelings of isolation, offer reassurance and increase confidence.
While the role involves working unsupervised in the community, support is available from Macmillan staff. Participants also receive an induction and training, plus access to a lone worker personal safety system.
“This is flexible, based on the time you have available and the needs of the people we support. You’ll need to be available during the service opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We’d suggest a few hours a week, more if you have the time, ideally for a year or more. This role is based within the community; you’ll need access to a car or be able to use public transport.”
Macmillan is recruiting volunteers from Chichester, Bognor Regis, Selsey, Littlehampton, Arundel and Worthing.
Kathryn said: “Whether it’s minutes or months, hours or days, the time you give by volunteering for Macmillan really does matter.”
Contact Anton Morgan-Thorne on 07540 760808 or AThorne@macmillan.org.uk