Virtual programme and fundraising events are helping those affected by cancer.
Working in collaboration with hospitals, Maggie’s Centres provide practical and emotional support to anyone touched by cancer, being it patients or family and friends. Founded in 1996, the centres run a comprehensive programme in areas ranging from wellbeing to debt & benefits advice across its 23 locations in the UK plus Hong Kong, Tokyo and Barcelona.
Based in Hammersmith, local Maggie’s West London works closely with Charing Cross Hospital and was Olympia London’s charity of the year from 2017-2018. The relationship continues with partnerships such as Maggie’s Culture Crawl last September when the venue welcomed over 500 guests and a team of Olympia London staff challenged their fitness levels whilst fundraising for the charity during national event Battle Cancer.
In the last couple of months, the centre has adapted to continue supporting anyone who needs it. Most of the programme now runs remotely with services available over the phone, online, email, video conferencing and online group support sessions. The building has remained open whilst adhering to current social distancing guidelines and running a reduced service.
We spoke to Helen Muir, Centre Fundraising Manager to learn more.
How has our local Maggie’s Centre adapted?
Our centre has remained open during this time seeing a limited number of visitors face to face due to social distancing. A lot of our visitors are self-isolating or unable to leave their homes but we have continued to help anyone who needs it and have moved the majority of our support to email, phone and Facetime. We have launched a virtual summer programme so our groups can still continue and our visitors can find the support they need.
What difference virtual support has made?
Virtual support is so important at this time as many of our visitors are vulnerable and therefore self-isolating. By going online, it means we are still easily accessible to anyone who needs our support. It means we can continue to speak to our regular visitors, our regular sessions can continue to run and we can be just a phone call or email away for anyone who require support at this uncertain and anxious time.
How can anyone support Maggie’s Centre?
Taking part in virtual fundraising events is one of the ways to support us. The 2.6 Challenge for example was created by London Marathon Events for all charities to get involved with. It centres around people doing a challenge which includes the numbers 2 and 6. As a West London staff team we all took on our own 2.6 challenge but anyone can get involved. We also still have gardening volunteering opportunities available (observing social distancing rules).
With fundraising events going virtual, Maggie’s Centres are currently updating their calendar bringing exciting new opportunities to join while practicing social distancing. It will soon launch a virtual cycling challenge open to everyone to participate, fundraise and get fit in the process, so it’s worth visiting their website for details.
Find out how you can get involved and support Maggie’s Centre > maggies.org