A Macmillan Cancer Centre that has helped thousands of people is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The Lynda Jackson Centre was the first of its kind in the country when it opened in 1993 and has since been emulated all over the country.
Rosemary Lucey, manager of the centre, said it had been a learning process trying to find the right services to provide, but that they are primarily helping by offering support.
She said: “At that time there wasn’t this sort of service so we had to write the rules, write the guidebooks and find out what people wanted.
“We offer things like a drop in centre where people can come in and they can chat about what they’re going through and they can receive some on-going support from the people they’re talking to.”
The number of people relying on the centre’s services has grown over the 20 years they have been functioning and now thousands of people rely on the centre for support every year.
Rosemary said: “The figures for last year show that we had 42,000 interactions with people affected by cancer, which was incredible.
“Over the last 25 years, in our drop in centre alone, have had over 100,000 conversations and in our helpline, which is part of the drop in centre, we’ve had over 52,000 conversations so as you can see, it’s used by a lot of people.”
In addition to the support it offers, the centre performs research of its own, as the centre looks for ways to further help those who it supports.
Rosemary said: “Everything we do is underpinned by good quality research and our department does all sorts of interesting research.
“Cancer treatment such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy is completely different to where it was 25 years ago. Treatments are far superior and effective. What’s also changed is the way people cope with it. No longer have you got people who are lucky to be surviving because actually what you’ve got now is that more people survive than don’t.”