A financial advice service which has helped nearly 2,000 local people affected by cancer in the last 5 years is being expanded to help more people.

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The Wolverhampton Macmillan Welfare Rights Service has claimed £4.6 million for around 1,900 local people affected by cancer since it was established in 2010.

It has proved so successful the team have secured £356,750 in additional funding from Macmillan to expand the service and support people affected by cancer in the Shropshire area.

The new Wolverhampton and Shropshire Macmillan Welfare Rights Service is a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and Wolverhampton City Council.

Cancer doesn't just affect people physically, it can impact on all aspects of their life - and many people find a cancer diagnosis can bring money worries, with costs they hadn't considered.

Macmillan research shows that 83% of people are, on average, £570 a month worse off as a result of a cancer diagnosis, often due to being unable to work and facing increased costs such as travel to hospital or higher fuel bills. The physical and emotional impact of cancer is hard enough without the additional burden of money worries.

Ranjit Klare, Wolverhampton and Shropshire Macmillan Welfare Rights Service Manager, said: "We are thrilled to have been given additional funding to expand the service into Shropshire. Our Macmillan Welfare Rights Officers provide free confidential advice and support with claiming benefits and one off grants to help people cope with the cost of cancer.

"Being diagnosed with cancer is the toughest thing most of us will ever face, not just for the person diagnosed but for everyone caring for and supporting them. We are here to help people living with cancer access the financial advice and support they are entitled to so they can focus on what's most important: their health."

Gail Finch, 47, and her husband Andrew, 46, from Wolverhampton know first hand how vital this support is. Gail said: "Andrew had just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and he was very ill so he was unable to work. He was only receiving basic statutory sick pay from his employer so we were suffering a big drop in our income and we have 2 children to support. It was a very scary and stressful time worrying about what would happen to Andrew and how we were going to cope financially.

"We were referred to the Macmillan Welfare Rights Service by the palliative care team at New Cross Hospital. They were wonderful, they helped us to claim income support and disability living allowance and got us help towards our mortgage costs and council tax payments.

"They also helped us to apply for a Macmillan grant of £380 to help with the travel costs to the hospital, clothing and a new washing machine. They even helped our 18 year old daughter claim carers allowance and supported me to get a one off grant with the college so I could continue my studies as well as care for my husband.

"Their ongoing support has made a huge difference for us, it took away that extra stress, it allowed Andrew to focus on getting better and us to focus on spending quality time together as a family."

Tudor Humphreys, Macmillan Development Manager for Shropshire and the Black Country, said: "We are extremely pleased with the success of the service in Wolverhampton, it's a real testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of the team that we are funding the service to expand to support people affected by cancer in Shropshire as well.

"By working with partners such as Wolverhampton City Council we can ensure people affected by cancer have access to the best quality advice and support no matter what stage they are at in their cancer journey."

For help and advice, please contact the Wolverhampton and Shropshire Macmillan Welfare Rights Service on 01902 695780.

Anyone who has questions about cancer, or would like to support Macmillan, should visit Type=links;Linkid=3341;Title=Macmillan cancer support;Target=_blank; or call 0808 808 00 00.

  • released: Monday 27 April, 2015