A pioneering new initiative is being developed on the Western Isles to provide support for people affected by cancer and their families.
The Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative (WICCI) will be working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and other local partners to address specific needs of individuals and families affected by cancer in the Western Isles.
The current Macmillan Cancer Support Isle of Lewis Fundraising Committee has been operating successfully for many years and in that time has raised over £1million.
As a result of their work over the years the Committee have identified various specific issues which affect cancer patients and their families in peripheral and often isolated communities throughout the Western Isles.
These issues include extensive travel and accommodation costs, and for some can lead to loss of employment and income.
The islands also has the highest level of fuel poverty in Scotland which is exacerbated by a cancer diagnosis.
WICCI will develop support, information and financial systems to relieve issues of isolation and financial hardship.
The initiative will also encourage improved access to information and support for cancer patients and their friends and families throughout the Western Isles.
Macmillan’s Head of Services in Scotland, Janice Preston said: “We know cancer affects every area of peoples lives, from relationships and money to work and emotions.
“However, living in a rural location can intensify these issues and we know we need to tailor our services and support to address this.
“This truly unique partnership will help us do that and we are delighted to be a part of something which will change and improve the lives of people affected by cancer on the Western Isles.”
The first step for the new initiative will be to recruit a Development Officer into post.
The successful candidate will then develop and implement a plan of activities and developments to address specific needs and issues of individuals and families affected by cancer in the Western Isles.
The Fundraising committees in the area will continue to operate normally and as separately constituted organisations as the funds they raise for Macmillan will be the basis of financial support for WICCI.
The WICCI Charity currently has 10 Trustees and there is scope for including Trustees from the Southern Isles as the service develops.
Membership of the Charity is free and open to anyone in the Western Isles over 18 Years of age.