Charity's hardship grants help Lancaster district cancer patients during pandemic

Macmillan gave almost £23k last year to help 73 people in Lancaster with cancer struggling with the financial impact of the Covid pandemic.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 4:55 am
Nancy Whittaker, Macmillan Interim Head of Partnerships North and North West England.

The charity’s grants are available to anyone living with cancer in Lancashire facing financial difficulties, thanks to donations from the public.

They gave just over £222,400 in hardship grants to people with cancer in Lancashire, meaning more than 700 people in the county were able to pay for home comforts and essentials, such as heating their homes, travel to hospital appointments, bedding and clothing.

In Lancaster, Macmillan gave out £22,900 to 73 people with cancer, while across the north west the charity handed out more than £1.4m in total.

Macmillan grants are means-tested, one-off payments of £350 aimed at helping people living with cancer on low incomes. They can be a huge help especially when many cancer patients are having to shield during the current lockdown by paying for things like a new washing machine or going towards energy bills.

The charity reports that more than a third of people with cancer (39 per cent) are severely financially impacted by their diagnosis.

Macmillan expects their grants will continue to be a vital safety net for many and will become more in demand than ever as many families deal with the double blow of a cancer diagnosis and the financial impact of the pandemic.

All this at a time when the charity is facing a huge drop in fundraised income due to Covid-19 and donations are needed more than ever before.

The most common reasons people apply for Macmillan grants are: to buy new clothes when their cancer treatment had resulted in body changes; to help pay for higher than normal heating bills from staying at home; travel costs to and from regular hospital appointments, which can mount up significantly during treatment; and bedding.

Nancy Whittaker, Macmillan’s Interim Head of Partnerships – North & North West England, said: “As the current lockdown continues, we want to remind everyone that Macmillan is here to help, whatever it takes.

"One way is with a Macmillan grant to help pay for the little things that can make a big difference to the lives of people living with cancer, especially at the moment. Imagine your washing machine has broken, or you can’t pay your heating bill, or you need to buy a blender because cancer treatment means you are having trouble eating but you can’t afford one.

"It’s these basics that a Macmillan grant can help pay for, making someone’s life that bit easier when they need it most, and it’s all thanks to our supporters.”

To find out more about Macmillan grants, including who can apply, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (open seven days a week) and talk to the Macmillan Welfare Rights Team, or visit here.

The Macmillan Support Line also has specially trained nurses and cancer information specialists who can provide information and advice, as well as emotional support, to help people with cancer cope with the additional strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nancy added: “If you are struggling to meet the extra costs of cancer, I’d urge you to call Macmillan to see if you are eligible for a grant and the rest of the support on offer. Macmillan are only a phone call away and are waiting to help you.”

For comprehensive cancer information and support, including Macmillan’s latest guidance on the impact of coronavirus on cancer care, visit here.