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July 2020 Update

It is safe to say that, like most of society over recent months, our charity has undergone massive changes in order to continue providing vital services.

And like most organisations, technology has played a key part in maintaining vital lines of communication and support for those in need. Our counselling team have restarted with the support of new cloud phone technology, allowing them to reconnect with our clients, and, from September, we will be introducing secure video meetings via dedicated media tablets.

Whilst we realise that the adoption of these technologies is far from the comfort afforded by face to face support, we are pleased to be there for our clients once more, particularly at a time of such uncertainty.

Our specialist counselling services are delivered by staff qualified through the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), all of whom specialise in cancer and bereavement. And speaking on their behalf, I can say that they are all immensely proud to be able to provide their support at this time.

We have also made good progress towards opening our centre in Cramlington and plan to see members of the public who can visit us securely from September. Our centre has been Covid assessed and we will be ensuring the safety of our visitors  by using the correct PPE, adhering to social distancing, and carrying out regular deep cleaning.

We will also soon be restarting our Auricular Acupuncture therapy now that restrictions have been lifted. Many of our clients are referred for this treatment following radiotherapy and chemotherapy pathways as it offers a welcome respite from some side effects. As we only moved into our new premises in Cramlington two weeks before lockdown, we are currently awaiting the local authority to finalise our licence for this service but hope to have it up and running by September.

Government guidelines and advice resulting from NHS risk assessments have meant that all of our complementary therapies usually delivered in hospitals throughout the region have stopped. However, we hope to offer complimentary therapies at our centre in Cramlington later on in the year, as well as introduce a new ‘Coaching for Living with Cancer’ programme for all those affected by cancer. To help us reach more people, we are also currently seeking another site for delivery of these services south of the River Tyne. 

Unfortunately, Government guidelines and restrictions within hospitals have also led to a shortage in funding from some of our NHS partners. As this funding was allocated from patient funds (mainly through oncology wards) restrictions on footfall has led to a marked funding shortfall. However, we are working hard to secure alternative income streams in order to retain our Therapy Team and range of services for the future.

Step by step our services and support for those affected by cancer are opening up and we are glad to be able to help those feeling particularly vulnerable at this time. We continue to innovate and work on projects designed to develop and expand our services throughout the North East, including Enterprise Development with Occupational Health Teams,  training in Cancer Care and Support, as well as a new Fundraising Strategy.

Please contact us if you can support us in any way, thank you for your continued engagement.

Meet The Team: Millie White, Complementary Therapist

Millie is based in Sunderland Royal Hospital and specialises in Reiki and reflexology treatments. She’s been with us for 10 years. 

When Millie retired, she decided to carry on using her Reiki skills and began volunteering with us. Eight years later, she became an employed staff member.

“Helping people makes you feel so much better, like there’s a point to being retired. I had to do something rather than sit around the house. Reiki and reflexology are something nice in the hospital rather than tests and more tests.”

Eight years after volunteering, Millie became an employed staff member. She frequently works on the hospital wards giving complementary treatments.

“The feedback you get is lovely, it makes you feel great that you’re the one helping them. It’s so rewarding to do this job, there’s nothing hard about it. The patients are wonderful.”

Meet The Team: Linda Baines, Area Manager

Linda works at Sunderland Royal Hospital four days per week and specialises in auricular acupuncture [link to treatment article]. She’s been with us for 15 years.

“The acupuncture groups are brilliant; they talk about anything and everything. You wouldn’t believe the giggling going on in that room!”

From seeing friends and neighbours deal with cancer while she was growing up, Linda has had plenty of personal experience with the condition.

“Years ago, cancer was terrifying. Nowadays you hear of more and more people living with it and after it. I went to be a nurse and worked in a hospice for a while, but I couldn’t turn off from the job when I got home. When saw Coping with Cancer advertised, I started as a volunteer then went on to have a paid staff job.”

“I’m doing such a small act but helping people so much, it’s very rewarding. It makes a big impact in peoples’ lives.”

Linda’s family member had complementary treatments while he was dealing with cancer. Many family members struggle to see their friends or family in hospital, but one of our relaxation treatments [link to treatment article] can help ease their symptoms.

“It can be hard when people get quite ill, but it’s a good feeling that we can make them feel the best they can with a treatment.

“Cancer can rob people of their control, but I always say to people it’s entirely up to you – they’re in control of that one thing. It’s an important option to give people.”

All About Counselling

The NHS estimates that ‘1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime’.

Whether it’s yourself, a family member or a friend who’s diagnosed, finding out someone you care for has cancer can coincide with difficult, unsettling and often painful emotions. Shock, anxiety and anger may be a huge part of it and can be hard to process.  

We provide counselling services in Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and, most recently, South Tyneside Hospital.

Kerry Rundle, our Manager of Counselling Services, said: “Some people prefer structured sessions with coping strategies and advice. Others want to offload and talk to someone who isn’t emotionally involved in their situation, it’s totally up to them.” The first session is about finding out what the client wants from counselling.

A goal is set for the eight sessions and is reviewed at the end. “Our aim is to get people to where they feel they’d like to be within the eight sessions. It’s regularly reviewed and worked on so the client can get what they need from counselling.”

Talking about your feelings with someone who isn’t directly involved can be very freeing and create some mental space. Family and friends often mean well, but we find clients often hold their feelings back so they don’t burden or upset their loved ones.

Counselling could also be about financial worries, employment, or how to talk to your loved ones. Sometimes, clients may have lots of questions about their situation.

The counsellors are guided if there’s a particularly difficult or pressing situation to deal with. “All our counsellors are supervised,” adds Kerry. “If they’re stuck, for example, me or Angela will offer guidance to help the sessions progress.”

Our counsellors are qualified and highly trained, with some of them working towards more CPD hours for accreditation.

Although doctors and nurses may help emotionally where they can, a counsellor is always the best option if you need more structured, regular support.

Meet The Team: Angela Angus, Complementary Therapies Manager

Angela has been with us for four years and came with lots of valuable non-profit experience from her previous role.

In charge of eight paid staff members and a team of volunteers, Angela coordinates where they need to be in various hospitals and hospices, manages therapists’ time and organises clinics, ensures everyone has what they need to carry out the treatments, develops new services, liaises with Maggie to bring in funding, collects and collates client data, carries out staff and volunteer training, recruits new team members, and liaises with staff clients like the NHS.

“I love helping patients feel as well as they can, and the team I work with are all absolutely amazing. It’s all about helping people and complementary therapies are away from the medical side, away from the tests and medication – it’s a lovely job to have.”

Meet The Team: Andree Daly, Complementary Therapist

Andree specialises in auricular acupuncture and massage at South Tyneside Hospital, Sunderland Royal and the QE. She’s been with us since 2015 after completing her Foundation Degree.

“I left nursing and started a beauty therapy course. After qualifying and then teaching it for eight years, I moved to a managerial role, but it took me further away from the hands-on work. I saw an advert for Coping with Cancer after moving to Newcastle and loved that I could use my massage and nursing skills in one job.”

After taking care of multiple family members living with cancer, Andree has ample experience of how complementary therapies can help with the emotional and physical symptoms.

“The appreciation from the clients, no matter how small the treatment is, is amazing – they’re so grateful and lovely. You know you’re doing something nice and making someone feel great. It’s just the best job in the world. I certainly feel more chilled! I practice a lot of mindfulness which I can bring to the client’s treatment too, it’s lovely.”

Meet The Team: Pauline Johnson, Office Manager

Pauline works at our Cobalt offices four days per week, supporting company operations, maintaining the office, and being a friendly first point of contact for anyone who calls. She’s been with us for a total of 20 years.

Pauline has had cancer herself so knows the emotional and physical strain that can come alongside it. She regularly raised funds for us and ran a drop-in session in South Tyneside after attending it herself.

“I contacted Coping with Cancer for help for myself and then I started volunteering with them, putting on social sessions and helping with the old telephone buddy service. It was my way of giving something back because they helped me. I love the team!”

Meet The Team: Kerry Rundle, Manager of Counselling Services

Kerry manages our counselling team and makes sure they’re delivering a professional and ethical service to our clients. In charge of two paid staff members and five volunteers, Kerry also carries out the initial assessments before pairing a client up with the most suitable counsellor.

After completing her placement, Kerry began working with us as soon as she qualified, became a manager in 2015 and has been with us ever since! She’s a psychotherapist so can work with people at a deeper level, decided on a case–by–case basis.

Kerry has had extensive experience of bladder, breast, lung and stomach cancer in her family so is well equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and empathy to help others and her team.

“In the future I really want to set up children’s counselling services, so children who are affected by cancer have someone to talk to. I’d love to get some therapy dogs as well!”

How We Can Help – Our Treatments

Cancer and its symptoms can affect much more than physical health. We believe complementary therapies are an integral part of self-care and can offer a small respite to people living with the effects of cancer.

Allowing yourself some time out can help you focus your energy and mind. We offer our services on hospital wards or in treatment rooms, meaning you can relax wherever you are.

Our Complementary Therapy Manager, Angela, describes the treatments we offer.

Auricular Acupuncture

Tiny needles are placed into the outer ear area for around 45 minutes to help relieve symptoms such as neuropathy, hot flushes, nausea, pain and insomnia. The treatment is based on the idea that the ear is a reflection of the whole body.

“It’s essentially reflexology for the ears,”Angela explains. “Every point corresponds to a symptom the patient may be feeling and helps to reduce it.”

For the first six weeks, one symptom is treated. After that dual treatment can take place, where the acupuncture can target more than one symptom.

Body Massage

A gentle massage all over the body with the aim of relaxing the patient, reducing anxiety, improving sleep quality, and being an overall well being treatment.

“All our therapists are well trained in avoiding tumour sites, areas undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and IV tubes,” Angela adds. “This massage technique is more of a surface treatment, rather than for getting deep knots out.”

Indian Head Massage

A massage for the head, neck, face and shoulders. Just like body massage, it’s perfect for relaxation and improving sleep quality. It can also reduce muscle stiffness, prevent headaches, and promote hair growth.

HEARTS Massage

Hands on, Empathy, Aromas, Relaxation,Textures, and Sound make up our HEARTS massage therapy. It draws on a range of natural skills and sensory experiences to provide a relaxing treatment for the patient. The benefits from a HEARTS approach may help people who are anxious,in pain, or unable to sleep.

‘M’ Technique – Manual Massage

Gentle strokes along the body in a sequence to have a positive effect on the brain waves and put things back into balance.  

“Rather than massage, this treatment is made up of light strokes. The ‘M’ Technique has got to be exact; you can’t deviate from the sequence,” Angela explains. “Two of our therapists are trained in this so we can offer it to people who don’t want a regular massage, which is great.”


Based on the theory that different points on the feet correspond to different areas on the body, our therapists are trained to massage these to reduce stress, relax the patient, and alleviate symptoms.

“It’s a great treatment for putting the patient’s body back into equilibrium, having everything balanced,” adds Angela.


A Japanese technique that focuses on the realigning body’s chakras and channelling positive energy. Our therapist hovers their hands over the patient’s body and pulls their chakras back into sync. It’s great for relaxation, anxiety and depression.

“You’ve got seven chakras along your body and if any of them are out, Reiki puts them back into line. It’s energy from the therapist over to the patient, straight into the various chakras,” explains Angela.

One of the advantages of complementary therapies may be that they’re relatively free of risks, which means less adverse events.

Complementary therapies can’t help to treat or cure cancer, but it can help relieve some symptoms and side effects from your treatment. Please call 0191 280 5160 to find out more information or to book a complementary therapy.

Trustees Wanted

We’ve been delivering care and support to patients with cancer in North East hospitals for over 37 years. Our services have mainly been delivered in Oncology Day Units and Macmillan Centres but, in the midst of great changes, we need experienced professionals who are passionate about making a difference to peoples’ lives.

We’re looking to recruit four individuals to formally join our Executive Committee in 2020. Prior Trustee experience isn’t necessary as we’ll be offering full training, but your skills and experience in areas such as Quality, Law, PR, or knowledge of working with the NHS is vital to our future success.

With a small team of 30 staff and volunteers and a new Chief Executive who has instigated a significant change programme, we’ve introduced new systems, policies, processes and training to bring us up to date in all areas.

We’ve just launched our new website with a new logo and communications plan to increase general awareness and understanding about our services. We are planning to move to new offices and increase our services – and need to increase our board and strengthen our governance.

Please take a look at the job description and person specification for more details: https://bit.ly/2S646tk.

If you would like to discuss the role or have any questions about joining us, please email [email protected]

If you’d like to apply, please send a letter telling us why you are interested and what you would bring to the role.

Don’t forget to enclose your CV, including two professional references.

Application deadline: 31st January 2020

Interviews: w/c 10th February 2020

Get In Touch

If you think Coping With Cancer can help you, or would like to help us, please get in touch using the details below.

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Write To Us:

The Woodruff Centre

Apex Business Village



NE23 7BF

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0191 250 2026

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