Maggie’s Kitchen Table Day in Forth Valley the launch of Maggie's Kitchen Table Day at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert where a new Maggie's will open its doors this summer. (Contributed pic) the launch of Maggie's Kitchen Table Day at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert where a new Maggie's will open its doors this summer. (Contributed pic)

The kitchen table is very often the heart of a home, where families gather to enjoy good food and company.

It is for that very reason that the kitchen table is also at the heart of every Maggie’s Centre the length and breadth of the country.

This year, to celebrate Maggie’s 20th birthday in Scotland and to raise awareness of its work, the charity has launched a fundraiser – celebrating its unique formula.

Gillian Hailstones, who is Maggie’s head of centres operation in Scotland, explained: “The kitchen table is at the heart of every Maggie’s Centre.

“It’s at the centre of everything we do; it’s the first place people come to.

“There’s something very familiar about sitting down at a kitchen table.

“People feel comfortable there because it’s not clinical – it feels more everyday so it immediately makes everyone feel more at ease and relaxed.”

So it made sense when considering how to celebrate Maggie’s achievements since 1996 to ensure the kitchen table was represented. That’s how Kitchen Table Day was born!

The inaugural event will be held on Friday, February 26, when people are being asked to stage fundraisers round their own kitchen tables, inviting friends and family to join in.

Maggie’s is solely funded by donations. It costs £500,000 to run each of its eight centres annually – meaning Maggie’s in Scotland has to raise £4 million every year to provide its ground-breaking services.

Founded in Scotland, its first centre opened at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in 1996. Since then, the people of Scotland have raised nearly £50 million to build and run a further seven centres.

The eighth Maggie’s Centre will open at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert this summer, funded by Walk the Walk’s Moonwalk event.

In 2015, there were 75,000 visits to the Scottish centres and 198,000 UK-wide.

Maggie’s offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.

Colleagues from Maggie’s and staff from Forth Valley Royal Hospital got together to launch Kitchen Table Day in the hospital’s restaurant.

They tucked into a celebratory Burn’s Supper, as well as special Maggie’s Kitchen Table shortbread.

Jane Grant, chief executive of NHS Forth Valley, said: “We were delighted Maggie’s chose to launch this major new initiative at one of our hospitals.”

Maggie’s Edinburgh is hosting a Kitchen Table Day on Friday, February 26, from 10am to 4pm.

People are invited to enjoy a cuppa and home-baking, while raising funds. For more details, call 0131 537 3131.

To find out more about Maggie’s and its Kitchen Table Day, pick up a copy of this week’s paper and enjoy our in-depth feature!