Innovative scheme reaches out to people who have been affected by cancer via city libraries
A new service offering support and advice to people affected by cancer in Edinburgh has been launched at the city’s Central Library.
Macmillan at Edinburgh Libraries is a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and City of Edinburgh Council, bringing a range of help into communities across the city.
The service is staffed by specially-trained volunteers and currently operates in two locations: Central Library and Craigmillar Library. It will eventually be available at six libraries in the city; two sites have already been chosen and will open later this year, with a further two sites launching by the end of 2017.
Volunteers staffing the resource are trained in cancer awareness, listening skills, giving support, signposting to further help and services, and dealing with difficult situations.
Janice Malone, Macmillan's Engagement and Volunteering Manager for Scotland, said: "The Macmillan at Edinburgh libraries service brings support and advice for people affected by cancer right into the heart of communities.
“When someone is diagnosed with cancer, or a loved one is diagnosed, it can raise lots of questions and concerns. Thanks to our partnership with City of Edinburgh Council, people affected by cancer can access up to date relevant information and someone to talk to.
“We know it can also be difficult and costly for people affected by cancer to travel so having this support available locally in relaxed and friendly venues like libraries can make it much more accessible.
"Cancer can affect not just the person with the diagnosis but also those around them, whether it's friends, family, children or colleagues, and Macmillan support is available to all of them. Whether the cancer diagnosis was this week or years ago, if you need help or advice or just someone to listen, this service is there for you.”
Culture and Sport Convener, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “Our libraries provide for local communities in so many ways, from social engagement to information access, and now we are able to extend this to offer support and guidance to those affected by cancer, thanks to investment from Macmillan Cancer Support.
“Most of us will be touched by cancer at some point in our lives, so it’s fantastic to know that this excellent service is available to give help and advice on a local level at such a difficult time. We have already seen people benefit from its introduction at Central and Craigmillar Libraries and I look forward to seeing it roll out to other communities in the city.”
Irene is one of the people who has been able to use the counselling service already. Irene, 82, from Edinburgh had been married to James for 60 years when he was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. After his death in August last year she needed someone to talk to but didn’t want to share how she was feeling with those closest to her.
Most of us will be touched by cancer at some point in our lives - Richard Lewis
Irene said: “It’s been a lifeline for me. I didn’t want to burden family and friends and welcomed talking to someone from an outside agency. Things are more sorted out in my mind and I’m looking forward now. Christmas was difficult but I feel I have to get on with my life.
“I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to benefit from the counselling provided by Cancer Support Scotland. I’d advise anyone who has cancer or has lost a loved one to access their service.”
The Macmillan at Edinburgh Libraries service currently operates at: Central Library, Mezzanine level, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EG; Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh EH16 4DS