Macmillan Information and Support
Our team at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust are award winners in the Macmillan Professional Excellence Awards in the Whatever it Takes category.
The Macmillan Professionals Excellence Awards are an opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution Macmillan Professionals make to cancer services.
This new award category recognises those extraordinary efforts, where individuals and teams have had to adapt, innovate, collaborate, support wellbeing initiatives, show great resilience despite distressing situations and lead with compassion.
“We’re proud we responded so quickly. People with cancer who were isolating and shielding, and who were extremely anxious during the pandemic, could access beneficial peer support.”
- Helen Jones, Macmillan Information and Support Service Manager
The Macmillan Information and Support Service is based on the Greenlea Oncology Unit (ward 7) at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and at the Jayne Garforth Macmillan Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
We’re here to help everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can, and our service aims to complement the clinical teams by providing information, as well as practical, financial and emotional support to patients and their families.
Our support is tailored to the individual needs of the patient/carer, so whatever cancer throws your way, we aim to be right there with you. If we don’t know the answer to your questions, we will find out or refer you on to someone else who can help you.
We are not only here for people undergoing active cancer treatment at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary or Calderdale Royal Hospital, but we are a service for anyone affected by cancer either as a patient or a carer, living in the Calderdale and Huddersfield area.
We have a member of staff based at each hospital in each of the information centres and a team of dedicated volunteers.
Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - Macmillan Information Service Manager - Helen Jones
Calderdale Royal Hospital - Assistant Macmillan Information Service Manager - Mandy Davies.
Our Volunteers can be found supporting our information centres, helping by signposting to other services, talking and listening to patients or anyone who has been affected by cancer. They help with several roles which do include helping at our support groups and admin tasks.
The centres are open for drop in or booked appointments between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. We suggest you phone to check someone is in the centre before making a special journey, in case the staff are attending meetings etc. Our contact details are:
Huddersfield Royal Infirmary - Ward 7 Greenlea Unit: 01484 343614
Calderdale Royal Hospital - Macmillian Unit: 01422 222709
Mobile Numbers – Helen Jones - 07795 497663; Mandy Davies – 07554 415564; Holly Smith 07796 937492
Our two Macmillan Information Centres have a wealth of Macmillan and other cancer booklets which cover a wide variety of topics such as recipe books/healthy eating/managing fatigue/travel insurance/work and self-employment/talking to someone affected by cancer/managing the emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis/physical activity/pensions/wills/sorting out your affairs/managing stress. We also have many leaflets on local and regional support groups, as well as our centre’s newsletter. We have information in other languages, or can organise this for you. We also have information available in other formats such audio/visual and easy read formats – again if this is not available in the centres, we can organise it for you.
We also have information pods around the hospitals, as well as a new large information pod in the entrance to HRI to promote the service and for people to access information. We produce a newsletter every other month which includes information on various events, courses and support groups happening in the Trust and locally. The latest version is available here, or if you wish to receive a copy by email please email email@example.com or by post please phone us on 01484 343614 or 01422 222709.
The Macmillan website www.macmillan.org.uk has a wealth of information on all aspects of cancer, including information on site specific cancers, information for carers, information on practical and financial aspects of cancer such as work support. There are also many useful videos such as films by health professionals about what cancer is, talking to children about a cancer diagnosis, travel insurance and many patient stories.
There are many other services which could support you and your family during your cancer experience.
In First Steps we talk about "What Matters To You" and help provide you with information which is relevant to you at the beginning of your cancer experience, but we are also here to support you right through the journey.
We can refer onto many organisations who may be able to help you e.g. to Gateway to Care for home adaptations (e.g. bathroom adaptations/grab rails); carers support organisations; work support advisory service; bereavement support; housing help; provision of toilet cards; travel insurance list of providers; local hospices; other charities who may be able to support you (such as the British Legion if you have a military background). We manage a team of volunteers called ‘Headstrong’ who manage a hair loss support service at both hospital sites. Our practical support is varied and again personalised to the needs of the family so in the past we have negotiated the clearing of heating arrears, helped to organise a wedding, applied for breaks/grants for patients, liaised with universities and schools on behalf of children and young people whose parents we are supporting at the trust and helped with housing issues. We can also help people apply for a Blue Disabled Parking Badge if they meet the criteria.
Some cancer patients may be entitled to the disability benefits called ‘Personal Independence Payment’ (for under 65s) or ‘Attendance Allowance’ (for over 65s), neither of which are means tested, but dependent on personal care needs and the impact of a cancer diagnosis on daily living. Our service can refer you to our local Macmillan benefit advisors to see if you may be entitled to any benefits due to your cancer diagnosis or you can contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 0000 and ask to speak to a welfare benefits advisor, who can also advise you about eligibility and help you make a claim.
Carers under 65 who meet certain criteria may also be entitled to Carers Allowance and patients who have worked may be able to claim ESA Employment Support Allowance. We can give you information about who could help with a claim for carers allowance, as well as you being able to contact the Macmillan Support Line as above.
For patients on a low income, we can also apply for a Macmillan Grant which is a one off payment of around £300, which could help with heating costs/buy new clothing due to weight changes etc, if the eligibility criteria are met.
We can be a listening ear when patients and family members need someone to talk to. We make referrals for patients for counselling and psychological support in the trust, and signpost to other community emotional support organisations such as hospices, counselling and carers services.
We have information about local support groups, as peer support can be invaluable to patients and carers as a way to meet other people in a similar situation. Our Macmillan Information & Support Service also runs three support groups – Macmillan Coffee Time, a Macmillan Singing Group and a Macmillan Health Walking Group. All of these groups are for anyone affected by cancer at any stage of the cancer journey, and are for patients, carers, staff, volunteers, family members and friends.
Please contact us on the above numbers for more details.