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Here at Meet, we believe that everyone in every business has the ability to make a differenc...
Here at Meet, we believe that everyone in every business has the ability to make a difference – it simply comes down to whether you choose to do so. We decided to do something, which is why we’re thrilled to announce our newest charity partner, Maggie’s.
Being in the industry we’re in, we’re incredibly proud of the (small but important) role we have in shaping the future of global health. Working alongside real-life heroes means we’re also well aware that we can always do better. That’s why alongside our ongoing ESG contribution, we continuously look for opportunities to learn and improve, and fundraising has been and always will be an intrinsic part of who Meet is.
This year specifically, we wanted to choose a charity partner that bridges the work we do in Life Sciences with the patients and families on the other side. So, let me introduce you to Maggie’s – our newest partner who supports those whose lives have been touched by cancer, whether that’s patients themselves or their friends and family.
But rather than have us explain what’s truly special about Maggie’s, Centre Fundraiser Amy Sorrell sits down with us to explain the history of Maggie’s, how they support those affected by cancer, and the importance of partnerships in continuing their fantastic work.
Hi Amy! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me today. To kick things off, can you explain what Maggie’s does?
We’re a charity that provides free practical and psychological support to people living with cancer as well as their family and friends.
We’re here for everyone living with cancer. Whatever type of cancer, whatever age, whatever stage – we’re here for as long as we’re needed.
What’s Maggie’s history?
Maggie was a writer, gardener, and designer. When she was 47, Maggie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and then five years later, in 1993, she was told it had returned. After hearing this, Maggie and her husband Charles Jencks were moved to a windowless corridor where they were left to process the news. This was when the conversation started, as the two of them discussed the need for somewhere ‘better’ for people with cancer to go.
Maggie and Charles designed the blueprint for the first centre together, enlisting the help of some of their friends from the architecture world. The first Maggie’s centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996, shortly after Maggie died. Charles and her medical team, including her cancer nurse Dame Laura Lee (now Maggie’s Chief Executive), had made her vision a reality.
Today, Maggie’s has grown into a network of centres built beside NHS hospitals across the UK. Our centres are a source of support, helping people take back control when cancer turns life upside down.
How does Maggie’s help those who’ve been affected by cancer?
We’re here for anyone living with cancer as well as their families and friends. It doesn’t matter what kind of cancer or what stage they’re at. All our support is free, and no appointment or referral is needed. Our expert team of cancer support specialists, psychologists and benefits advisors are available for anyone with cancer and those close to them.
Our workshops, courses, 1:1 and group support help people change the way they live with cancer. We focus on the things that really make a difference, like money worries, help with stress and depression, managing cancer’s side effects and relationship and family support. Understanding every person’s individual circumstances is central to what we do and means we can guide them to the support that will help them most.
The Maggie’s site we visited (Barts) is beautifully designed, and from the photographs, each centre seems equally stunning while remaining truly unique. Was this a deliberate choice Maggie, Charles and the architects made?
We work alongside some of the best architects in the world to design our centres because we know that light, colour, and a connection to nature can help people feel better. Every Maggie’s location is thoughtfully designed to be calming and welcoming; a place to escape from the clinical environment of the hospital.
Our centres have large open spaces for group activities and a kitchen table at their heart to encourage people to chat and connect with others who understand what they’re going through. We also make sure there are plenty of peaceful corners for quiet moments, or simply to have a cup of tea.
What impact do partnerships have on the work Maggie’s does?
Partnerships are at the heart of what we do. At Maggie’s, we know that great partnerships can lead to excellence in care and support.
At Maggie’s Barts, we have a strong track record of supporting our partners and are very excited to be working with Meet to help us raise funds to support the vital work we do.
In your opinion, what does a good partnership look like?
A good partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship that leverages the strengths of both organisations to achieve shared goals. For us, it’s about creating a long-lasting relationship that ultimately makes a real difference to people living with cancer and their loved ones.
With Maggie’s, this would involve fundraising through events and team challenges, volunteering, and spreading awareness of the work we do and how Meet supports us. For Meet, Maggie’s will support your staff to better understand cancer, in turn, supporting the team and your stakeholders.
How does fundraising help cancer patients and their loved ones?
One in two people will develop cancer in their lifetime, so the need for cancer support has never been greater. We want our centres to support as many of these people and their loved ones as possible, and you’re helping us do that.
The majority of Maggie’s funding is from voluntary donations, as such, fundraising is vital to help keep our centres open. The money you raise is used to make the biggest possible difference to the people living with cancer who need us now more than ever.
As an example:
£38 means an individual, couple or family can have a one-hour support session with a psychologist, helping them address a complex range of issues.
£150 pays for one day of benefits advice to support people to claim the grants and benefits they’re entitled to.
£282 provides cancer support sessions for up to 20 people to help them understand their diagnosis, treatment and life with cancer.
Since you’ve been at Maggie’s, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen regarding people’s perspectives on cancer?
We’re meeting the needs of nearly every person who visits us – 99% of our visitors rated our support as good or excellent. The range of our support and its flexibility to suit everyone is what makes Maggie’s work.
We offer a range of psychological support, including 1:1 sessions, workshops, and courses. This support reduces anxiety and increases self-esteem for people with cancer, and helps people cope with a diagnosis. We also support individuals, couples, and families to navigate the impact of cancer on their relationships.
Every Maggie’s offers a safe place to express emotions, share experiences and the opportunity to talk with people in similar situations. Research shows that group support and sharing life experiences can help people’s moods, quality of life, and develop hope and determination.
At Maggie’s Barts, in 2022, our psychologists supported people in nearly 400 sessions, with visitors saying we helped them feel less alone, and help them have an improved understanding of cancer.
Cancer is one of those diseases that touches so many of us in some capacity. How do you hope to see cancer support develop in the future?
It’s important to us that we constantly listen, evaluate, and respond to the needs of people with cancer and those who love them. By measuring and understanding both the wider cancer landscape and the individual experiences of those who come through our doors, we know we offer the best possible psychological and practical support and critically, equity of access.
We know Maggie’s provides hope and stability throughout these times. Moving forward, our focus is to be here for everyone with cancer, including carers, families, and friends.
And finally, what are you most excited about in our partnership?
Whilst I’d love to say our fundraising events as they’re so much fun – I’m excited to be working with Meet to raise awareness of Maggie’s and support the team by sharing our expertise in cancer support. We want the team to come away being able to have the confidence and knowledge to speak to colleagues, clients and candidates affected by cancer and make them aware of the support available at Maggie’s should they need it.
We’re all really looking forward to what this partnership has in store; how we can help support Maggie’s as individuals and as a team as well as learning more about how we can support patients and their loved ones beyond the Life Sciences aspect of it all.
Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today, Amy. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!
Learn more about Maggie’s and how they support patients, families, and friends dealing with cancer.