Craft and chat support group for people affected by cancer reunites following pandemic

A group of cancer survivors and people affected by cancer who are part of a creative support group have reunited following the pandemic.

Craft and chat groupThe craft and chat group at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust held its first face-to-face meeting recently after nearly three years apart after restrictions were put in place in response to COVID-19.

The group, set up as part of the trust’s Macmillan cancer information centre, makes items sold off in aid of the centre.

It is also a place for people affected by cancer to connect and support one another.

The group are holding their meetings at the Butterwick Hospice day centre, next to the University Hospital of North Tees.

Louise Harland, who used to work at the centre and now volunteers in the group, said: “We are delighted to have reunited.

“The group is a way of people affected by cancer being able to connect and support one another.”

Cancer group sit by tableMary Sayers, one of the first volunteers to the group when it first formed in 2016, said: “We are all people who had cancer ourselves or who have had relatives with cancer.

“The real success is that we have come together to help each other, make friendships and do our bit to help raise money for the centre.”

Alan Chandler, Macmillan information and survivorship manager, said: “The last two and a half years have been a real challenge for us all.

“But, while the group has been unable to meet physically, the members have kept in contact and support one another.

“The group do so much to help people affected by cancer and have continued to do so over the course of the pandemic.

“The work they do is outstanding – we couldn’t support our patients in the way we do without their support.”

The group create a whole range of amazing craft items including sewing and stuffing cushions, making teddy bears for children with cancer and making drainage bags enabling patients to feel more comfortable when carrying their drains.

They also make general cushions in varying shapes sizes and patterns for every patient undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

The group meets every Friday at the Butterwick Hospice day centre, between 12.30-2.30pm.

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