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Norfolk cancer charity aims to expand support centre network

PUBLISHED: 12:23 28 August 2014 | UPDATED: 12:23 28 August 2014

Nikki Morris(right) with support staff Daphne Skinner, Anne Templeman and Marion Andrews at the Big C Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Nikki Morris(right) with support staff Daphne Skinner, Anne Templeman and Marion Andrews at the Big C Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

A charity that has helped thousands of cancer patients and their families for almost 35 years is looking to expand its network of information and support centres to other parts of Norfolk.

Local support groups

• Brain Tumour Support Group - Meets at Big C Centre, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, on the first Wednesday of month. Contact 01603 289705.

• ABC (After Breast Cancer) - Meets at St Albans Church Hall, Grove Walk, Norwich. Contact 01379 741518 or 01508 492914.

• Young Women’s Group (breast cancer) - Meets in the Norwich area at different locations. Contact 01603 740653 or 01603 665662.

• Keeping Abreast - Meets in Norwich and King’s Lynn. Contact 01603 860083 or 01760 444291, or visit www.keepingabreast.org.uk

• The Rosemary Group (for women living with secondary cancer) - meets at Mangreen Hall, Ipswich Road and the Big C Centre. Contact 07766 851178.

• Breast Friends - meets at James Paget University Hospital, in the Burrage Centre on the first Thursday of each month from 7.30pm. Contact 01493 721570/01493 856510.

• Bowel Cancer Support Group - meets at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Benjamin Gooch Hall. Contact 01603 287828.

• Colorectal Cancer Support Group - meets at the James Paget University Hospital chapel on the first Tuesday of every month from 10.30am to midday. Contact 01493 452427 or 01493 662188.

• Teen and Young Adult Cancer Support Group - meets bimonthly at Big C Centre. Contact 01553 818737.

• Wiggly (support group for families affected by children’s and young people’s cancer) - meets at the Big C Centre. Contact 07990 990 158 or visit www.wigglysupportgroup.co.uk

• Lung Cancer Support Group (including mesothelioma) - meets at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Benjamin Gooch Hall. Contact 01603 289625.

• Liver Support Group (supports people with liver disease and liver cancer). Contact 01603 456567.

• Lymphoma Group. Contact 01603 250800 or visit www.norfolklymphoma.org.uk.

• Lymphoedema - arms and legs lymphoedema support group - contact 01603 810670.

• Myeloma Support Group - meets at the Big C Centre. Contact 01603 483327 or 01603 288365.

• Mesothelioma Cancer Network (Online support) at www.mesothelioma.uk.com

• NET Group (Neuroendocrine Tumours) - meets at Big C Centre on the second Tuesday each month. Contact 01603 288113.

• Pandora’s Box (for women with gynaecological cancer) - meets at Big C Centre. Contact 07826 342204.

• Norfolk and Waveney Prostate Cancer Support Group. Contact 01603 289845 or 01493 453510 or visit www.prostatesupport.org.uk

• Star Throwers provides medical advice, support and complementary therapies from its base in Wymondham. Call 01953 423304 or visit www.starthrowers.org.uk

• Sarcoma Support Group - meets Big C Centre monthly. Contact 07941 434351

• Bereavement Support Group - meets on alternate Thursday mornings at the Big C Centre, Norwich. Contact 01603 286112.

• Carers Forum - meets every Tuesday at the Charing Cross Centre at St John Maddermarket, Norwich. Contact 01603 219924.

• Carers Support Group - meets at Big C Centre, Norwich, on the second Monday each month. Contact 01603 286112.

• Stars - Colostomy Association on 01603 661751.

• Sport Action for men after cancer - meets at UEA Sportspark. Contact 01953 605208.

Big C has gone from strength to strength since its formation in 1980 by two local men, who had to travel to London for treatment.

Officials from the Norfolk-based charity are now looking to set up more cancer support and information centres across the county to offer a wide range of practical and emotional help to patients, their carers, and family members.

The organisation, which dedicates all of its funding to projects in Norfolk, opened the Big C Centre in the grounds of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in 2006, which was followed by the opening of an information and support centre in Great Yarmouth in 2012 and in King’s Lynn last year.

Leaders from the charity, which is also based at the Louise Hamilton Centre at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, are hoping to expand into north Norfolk and south Norfolk in the future to provide valuable support for more local patients at a time when cancer diagnosis rates continue to rise.

Nikki Morris, deputy CEO, said a move to place support and information centres in high street locations had been successful in helping to raise the profile of Big C and help more patients.

“We undertook a project asking people in Norfolk what they wanted from support services and they wanted what we had in Norwich, but closer to home and that is why we expanded to King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth. We are a Norfolk charity and want to be there for everyone in Norfolk and it is important to provide services that people know about and access.”

“Going forward, it is about rising to the challenge. We do not have a centre in north Norfolk or south Norfolk. We have shops in Cromer and Sheringham and we are very keen to explore ways to provide more services locally and we are conscious that we do not have services in Diss and Thetford.”

“We know our niche and what we are really good at is providing local people with local information and support and research that is based locally and make a real difference,” she said.

Big C costs around £750,000 a year to operate and is run by an army of 300 volunteers and 55 members of staff.

The Big C Centre in Colney has gone from 184 drop-in visits a month in its first year to more than 800 a month in 2014 as a result of increased demand and the increased profile.

The charity’s staff are also available every Monday at the Millennium Library in the Forum in Norwich to help. Since 1997, the charity has raised more than £1m for medical equipment and £2.5m into research.

Mrs Morris said the organisation would continue to support local research projects and had recently invested £250,000 to help build the new Norwich Medical Research Building on the Norwich Research Park, which is set to be completed later this year.

• Big C Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is open 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and is open until 7pm on the first Wednesday of every month. Call 01603 286112 or email cancer.information@nnuh.nhs.uk

• The Big C Cancer support and information centre at 33 Regent Street, Great Yarmouth, is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm. Call 01493 855297 or email yarmouthcentre@big-c.co.uk

• The charity’s cancer support and information centre in 32 Norfolk Street, King’s Lynn, is open Tuesday to Thursday from 9am to 4.30pm. Call 01553 818737 or email kingslynncentre@big-c.co.uk

• The Big C support at the Louise Hamilton Centre at the James Paget University Hospital is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 7.30pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

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