Bolt Burdon Kemp are proud to support South East Cancer Help Centre

October 25, 2019

Posted by: Hannah Travis


I am very excited that Bolt Burdon Kemp is supporting the South East Cancer Help Centre (SECHC) in Purley, South London.  My firm are passionate about doing all we can to ensure charities such as SECHC can support those who have been diagnosed and are suffering from cancer.  I am proud to be getting to know them and volunteering with them.

What is the South East Cancer Help Centre and what do they do?

A warm welcome to The Centre, Jennifer Mollett, Yvette Hopley, Hannah Travis (BBK),  Lizzie Hewitt, Wendy Ager and Kim Alexander (BBK)

The Centre started in 1983 as a small self-help support group, meeting in a home in Caterham, for people who had been diagnosed as having cancer.  The numbers gradually increased as more people became aware of the need and the benefit of emotional support, following the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

The benefit of emotional support should never be underestimated and can be key in helping a patient find their way through when they have been given shattering news about their life and their future.  Speaking to like-minded people and having that sense of camaraderie is empowering and provides so much helpful information and inspiration that you can’t necessarily find out online or from the doctors involved in your care.

Over 300 members now attend the Centre regularly which is a testament to the overwhelming need for additional support and therapies which aren’t ordinarily provided as part of standard treatment programmes in the healthcare service.

SECHC aims to give any person affected by cancer an opportunity to explore ways which may help them to cope with their situation.  Confidentiality is always maintained.  The Centre aims to respect and support them in the choices they make and to provide individual as well as group support, complementary therapies and information within a friendly, caring environment.  These services have local NHS recognition.

Their policy is to provide time and support in addition to that available from healthcare professionals.  Their mission is to provide complementary therapies, counselling and other therapeutic activities, within a caring friendly environment resourced predominately by volunteers, which will help anyone affected by cancer cope with their situation.  This enables them to have available a plethora of services to support them both physically and emotionally through their journey.

Their ethos focuses around the individual and their family, they have a tailored approach to each patient or family member they meet which makes the support that can be provided even more beneficial.  I get the overwhelming sense that members can leave all their troubles behind outside the door when they enter The Centre and most see it as a sanctuary giving them hope and light through the dark days and a new view of life.

What support do they provide?

Hannah Travis admiring artwork with a member

The Centre provides a wide choice of complementary therapies and counseling, offered to members by professionally qualified therapists.  There are a range of groups, catering for different needs, such as emotional and physical support, reflection and relaxation, as well as social gatherings for others.  The Centre has many counseling services available catered specially for individuals, couples and young people which can be done on the phone, in person or in group sessions.

Members having fun whilst being creative

Therapies available to a patient, to help them feel their best, include aromatherapy, beauty treatments, facials and massage. Hairdressing services are also available to help with the effects of chemotherapy, increasing confidence at a time where changing appearance can be very distressing.  Hairdressing services can also assist with natural hair re-growth post treatment and help wigs look and feel as natural as possible.

Mindfulness and psychiatric therapies can be very helpful to a patient.  The Centre offers a wide range including hypnotherapy, reflexology, reiki and emotional freedom technique.

Other groups, to help lift spirits and provide ever important peer support and friendship, include a cinema club, arts and crafts, creative writing, and drama and choir groups.  The Centre also arranges trips out to places of interest, including to the seaside and afternoon teas.

There are gentle exercise groups to help patients continue or improve their physical wellbeing including pilates, tai chi and yoga.

The Centre also runs specific support groups including bowel, breast, oesophagus, ovarian and prostate cancerPatients meet others who are in the same boat where they can talk about and discuss their own experiences, stories of hope, the dark days, inspiration and even to talk about the weather if they like.

Quotes from Members

Members who attend The Centre cannot speak highly enough about the services provided and how they have truly helped them get through a very difficult time in their lives.

The Centre receives an incredible amount of praise for being supportive, a listening ear and a warm, welcoming calm environment, the benefits to members are clear.

When hearing what members have to say about The Centre, there is an overwhelming sense of it being a safety net and a place to feel valued and normal again.

There are many quotes I could list but some that echo the many sentiments of others are:

“What a sanctuary – peace and calm – a place to feel valued.  The therapies make me feel so good.  I really won’t want them to end!  After the trauma and shock of diagnosis and treatment what a great benefit to recovery and normality”  Anonymous

I have always been so grateful for the companionship and love I have had at the cancer Centre.  There is always someone to make you a cup of tea – give you a tissue and a hug and understanding.  Thank you so much.”  Anonymous

Fundraising Events 

The SECHC receive no government funding and relies solely on income raised by voluntary donations, legacies and fundraising events.  They are staffed predominantly by unpaid volunteers.

The vital work carried out by SECHC would not be possible without the support of its fundraising.  It costs The Centre £500 to support a new member for a year and for those who can contribute to the fundraising effort, they will be directly supporting someone affected by cancer in the local area.

What is absolutely incredible is that the SECHC has no defined catchment area and so they support those from far and wide and accept patients from all over the Country.  There are excellent transport links as a result of being situated in Purley with a mainline station only a few minutes’ walk away.

These are just a very small selection of upcoming fundraising events arranged by The Centre:

Paint Purley Purple

Paint Purley Purple week will be taking place this year from October 19 to 26.

This is the biggest annual event in The Centre’s calendar.  This week sees SECHC utilising the whole month of October to raise awareness and raise ever important funds for The Centre.  There will be daily and weekly events that anyone will be able to get involved in.  Jennifer Mollet the SECHC chair says “The aim of Paint Purley Purple is to raise people’s awareness about how SECHC helps people affected by cancer whilst raising as much money as possible to fund the vital services provided at The Centre.

From left, fundraisers Teri Gate and Wendy Ager with South East Cancer Help Centre chair Jennifer Mollett, ready for this October’s Paint Purley Purple week

This is the fourth year that the fundraising campaign will be held and The Centre is calling on local shops, businesses, schools, organisations and residents to hold purple-themed events or activities and share their efforts on social media.

Some of the exiting events lined up for the event include a race night, a Rod Stewart impersonator evening, a charity ball and a dog jog. 

Why does Bolt Burdon Kemp support SECHC?

We act for many clients who have had their lives turned upside down by cancer.  We are passionate about helping people and improving the quality of their lives.  We see the direct impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on an individual and their loved ones and how important it is for them to get access to valuable support services such as those provided by the SECHC.  Services which can bring patients together to share their stories and to learn from one another.  Services such as counselling for the individual and their family members is so very important at this very hard time in their lives and can make such a difference helping them through this difficult journey.  Practical services such as hairdressing and beauty can make the patient feel like themselves again and get to know their changing appearances as a result of cancer treatment.  The benefits of reflexology, massage and aromatherapy and nutrition for example can greatly assist the patient alongside their treatment by helping to improve mental and physical wellbeing.

It has been an absolute pleasure to attend The Centre on a number of occasions in full swing and meet the members it helps support and experience the warmth and welcoming atmosphere that it provides.

Bolt Burdon Kemp are now supporting SECHC by sponsoring five new members to attend 12 therapy sessions and receive support from The Centre for a year.  We have in the past sponsored the Christmas tree lights and have volunteered our time assisting with bucket collections.  We have also lined up our assistance for the October awareness month and are very excited about the prospect of assisting with many more events to come.

A little can go a long way, and we strongly believe such a worthwhile and wonderful charity deserves as much support as possible.  If you would like to get involved, or are interested in supporting SECHC please visit their website.

Hannah Travis is a senior solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp specialising in Medical Negligence claims.  If you or a loved one are concerned about the treatment you have received, contact Hannah free of charge and in confidence on 0207 288 4820  or at hannahtravis@boltburdonkemp.co.uk.  Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Medical Negligence team will contact you.  Find out more about the Medical Negligence team.

Posted by: Hannah Travis

Share

See all posts

Comments are closed.