Rothesay Library is to host a pilot of a new service aimed at people affected by cancer and their families.
From September this year, the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service will be established at the libraries in both Rothesay and Campbeltown, with a view to rolling out the services to all the other public libraries in Argyll and Bute.
The project is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and run in partnership with Argyll and Bute Council, NHS Highland and Argyll Voluntary Action.
The service aims to complement the work of medical staff by providing someone to talk to for people affected by cancer, whether that is the person who has been diagnosed with the disease, or their family and friends.
Service manager Deirdre Henderson and volunteer co-ordinator Chris Holden will be based at Campbeltown Library, and are recruiting and training volunteers to provide drop-in ‘listening ear’ sessions in the libraries.
A range of Macmillan Cancer Support leaflets will be available in the libraries, with guided support to online resources and further specialist support.
Argyll and Bute’s lead councillor for community, culture and strategic housing, Cllr George Freeman, said: “If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you will want all the information you can find and a chance to talk about it.
“The local library is a familiar place for most people, which should make the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service easy to find and use. Sometimes friends, colleagues and close family members can also find themselves struggling to know how to cope, and this new service is for them too.”
The service is not clinical but aims to help people make informed choices about their treatment and care, to help reduce anxiety and also to help overcome the practical, financial and emotional aspects of the illness.
Elspeth Atkinson, director of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “A cancer diagnosis brings with it all kinds of questions and uncertainty for patients, their families and friends.
“Being able to access information and emotional support at this stressful time is vital.
“This fantastic new service will mean that people affected by cancer in Argyll and Bute will be able to get the information and support they need from trained cancer specialists, right on their doorstep.
“It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our supporters in Argyll and Bute, who raise so much money for us that we are able to establish such a vital service.
“Macmillan believes that no-one should face cancer alone and the continued support from people locally will help us to ensure that no one does.”
To find out more about the project, or if you are interested in volunteering, contact Deirdre or Chris on 01586 555932. More information can also be found at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/macmillan