Grantham Journal Big Interview: Macmillan calls on readers to join the ‘47 Club’

Tanya Taylor, Macmillan
Tanya Taylor, Macmillan

Macmillan Cancer Support is launching a unique campaign in Grantham to transform the lives of people affected by the cost of cancer. The ‘47 Club’ will be made up of 47 local businesses, schools, and clubs who will each try to raise £333 to fund Macmillan grants that will help people who have been diagnosed with the disease cope with the extra financial burden that cancer can bring. Tanya Taylor, Macmillan fund-raising manager for Lincolnshire, is behind the campaign.

What was the inspiration behind the ‘47 Club’?

When I’m out attending events and presentations, there is always an incredible sense of community in the area and that really was the inspiration behind the campaign. People are genuinely amazed by the extent of support Macmillan provides to people affected by cancer in the town where they live and work. Last year Macmillan provided grants to 47 patients in Grantham, totalling in the region of £15,606. So I thought if we can get 47 members into a club, each raising £333 each, they would be giving back to people who potentially could live down their street or go to the same supermarket as them. They would be helping people at a time when they need it most.

What does the campaign aim to achieve?

We want to raise awareness of the hidden costs of cancer and show people that although we are a national charity, we work on a very local level in the heart of the community. The hidden cost of cancer affects 83 per cent of those diagnosed and can have a devastating effect on families at a time when they’re already under pressure. According to research by Macmillan, costs such as travel to and from hospital appointments, an increase in heating bills due to feeling the cold after treatment, and paying for extra support at home can cost the average family an extra £570 each month. Many people have to cut down their working hours or stop working altogether because they are too unwell, resulting in a significant loss of income.

How can businesses/organisations get involved?

We would like businesses, schools, clubs and organisations to join Team Macmillan and help us to make a difference locally, by pledging to raise £333 by December 31. All they need to do is contact me directly as their local Macmillan representative and they will be sent a fund-raising pack full of ideas to support them over the coming months.

Tell us more about the grants Macmillan gives to patients.

These are small, mostly one-off payments to help people with costs associated with their cancer diagnosis. For example, it can pay for clothes for someone who has experienced weight loss, or help with the heating bills. It could even pay for a new washing machine. Everyone’s practical needs are different, so grants are available for a variety of things. How much you receive will vary depending on your circumstances and needs, but the average grant is around £400. A grant from Macmillan would not normally affect the benefits you’re entitled to. It’s an extra help, not a replacement for other forms of support. Cancer is probably one of the toughest fights any of us will ever have to face. It might mean having to give up work and the financial stress of not being able to make ends meet is the last things families need. Having one less thing to worry about, like being able to put the heating on if you are feeling the cold as a consequence of treatment, can make a huge difference.

Who is eligible, and how do they go about applying for help?

Every week, more than 600 people receive a grant from Macmillan. We aim to make our application process as simple and quick as possible.

1. You need to apply through a health or social care professional. This may be a social worker, a district nurse or a Macmillan nurse, if you have one;

2. They’ll fill in a grant application form with you and send it to the grants team at Macmillan. They will also include a short medical report from your specialist nurse, doctor or consultant;

3. The Macmillan grants team will process your application on the day they receive it;

4. If your application is approved, payments are generally sent out within three working days.

Any personal or medical information included in your application will be treated confidentially. If you have any questions about Macmillan grants or if you’re having problems getting someone to fill in an application form with you, please contact us on our support line on 0808 808 00 00.

What is your role at Macmillan? How long have you been with the charity?

I am the local fund-raising manager at Macmillan Cancer Support for Lincolnshire and have worked at the charity for five years. My job is to raise as much money as I can locally to help fund vital cancer support services in Lincolnshire, which range from Macmillan nurses, to cancer information and support centres and physical activity schemes. Macmillan’s aim to improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer by providing practical, medical and financial support to people when they need it most. But with nearly one in two of us now receiving a cancer diagnosis at some point in our lives, the need to raise even more funds has never been greater. Ninety-eight per cent of our funds come from donations, so without your help and generosity we simply wouldn’t be able to carry on.

What does Macmillan mean to you?

Everybody knows someone affected by cancer and I’m no different. I’ve lost family members to this terrible illness. I have friends and family that are living with and beyond cancer. I know that the support that Macmillan gives is unquestionably the best there is. I feel incredibly passionate about the work Macmillan does and I feel extremely humble to work for this amazing charity where day in and day out I meet some truly inspirational people who really do want to make a difference.

n To sign up to the ‘47 Club’ contact Tanya by emailing at ttaylor@macmillan.org.uk or calling 07595 091659. Together, we can help improve the lives of everyone affected by cancer in Grantham.