A centre providing a dedicated local support service for people affected by cancer has opened in Great Yarmouth.

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"We found our charity shop managers were increasingly giving people advice and a sympathetic ear, so we thought we would extend the place. "

Nikki Morris.

Big C, Norfolk and Waveney’s own cancer charity, is opening the centre above their pre-existent charity shop on Regent Street, aiming to provide a comfortable, relaxed environment in which people can receive support and advice on coping with the illness.

In what is the first initiative of its kind in East Anglia – with plans for a centre in King’s Lynn in the pipeline – the team have created a welcoming, warm environment complete with consulting rooms, a library with information and resources, kitchen, sofas, TV, artwork, quiet room and reclining chairs.

Nikki Morris, head of clinical services for Big C, said: “We decided to link the retail side of it with the support side. We found our charity shop managers were increasingly giving people advice and a sympathetic ear, so we thought we would extend the place.

“It is about having a one-stop place were people can access our organisation. This brings Big C into the community.”

Big C: Just for Norfolk and Waveney.

Big C was formed in 1980 by David Moar and Clive Bamford, two young Norwich men who were forced to travel to London for their cancer treatment. They were determined that people in Norfolk should have local access to the best treatment and care.

In the thirty years since it was established, more than £17 million has been raised. These funds got towards xancer equipment in hospitals and across rural areas, such as the mobile breast screening units taken out to market towns, support for those with cancer in the form of nurses, services, and centres, care for those affected by cancer - such as Big C’s Bereavement Group and research carried out by Big C funded scientists.

Big C operates solely in Norfolk & Waveney.

Services available at the centre will include counselling, family therapy –such as how to break the news to loved ones – welfare advice, complementary therapies, including massage, and information including “ask the nurse” sessions.

Healthy eating advice, along with cooking and baking sessions, will be on offer in the kitchen facilities.

No appointment is necessary, and trained staff and volunteers are on hand from 9pm to 4.30pm.

Lisa Dennis, the centre manager, said: “I am very excited, it is lovely to be able to bring something to the people of Great Yarmouth.

“We are really happy with how it looks; it makes you feel as though you would like to sit down and have a cup of tea. I feel lucky to be the manager of it.”

A Big C spokesman said £475,000 was needed to fund this, the planned King’s Lynn centre and the Louise Hamilton Information and Support Centre at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

To donate to Big C, visit www.big-c.co.uk or call 01603 619900.

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