Once again, Stonehaven Ladies Probus was fortunate to have another excellent speaker, local lass Debbie Thomson who has worked for Clan for the past 11 years.
Debbie gave members an excellent insight into the work of Clan (Cancer Link Aberdeen and North) which up until November was housed in the old Rosemount church site. However, due to the development of the many services provided there, for both cancer sufferers and their families, the charity had outgrown the Rosemount site and desperately required larger premises.
After four years of planning and fundraising, the charity moved to the new custom built premises at Westburn Road, the main advantages of this move being its close proximity to the essential services provided at ARI, and the lovely peaceful surroundings.
Debbie showed a number of slides of the new premises and also one of their holiday home at Silver Ladies site near Banchory. Since moving to the new larger premises they have been able to almost double the accommodation they provide for patients and families, and have also increased the number of therapies on offer.
CLAN is committed to providing services which offer comfort and support to both patients and their families while they are undergoing cancer treatment, and to improving their quality of life.
The range of services provided includes social activities, counselling for patients and their families, and benefits advice, all of which are given by trained volunteers and are available when needed 24/7 either personally, or via telephone and email. The many therapies offered include Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Homeopathy, Shiatsu and Mistletoe therapy. The main aim of these is to improve the wellbeing of patients when receiving treatment, and to help them relax.
At the Westburn centre there is now a library, and a hairdressing salon which allows privacy for those patients requiring wigs fitted.
Another truly valuable and necessary service is the special support programme given to children, who find themselves having to face the loss of a parent or sibling. This is mostly done through fun activities in groups, and the aim is to ensure that life for these children is as normal as possible.
The staff adopt a holistic approach to patients and encourage them to socialise with others through groups such as craft classes, yoga sessions and coffee mornings.
CLAN have a number of premises spread throughout the North East including one in Stonehaven, all of which offer drop in services on certain days. There are also centres as far afield as Orkney and Shetland.
Probus members were indeed impressed by the monthly statistics presented by Debbie for 2011 eg 392 therapies, 530 Drop-ins 319 telephone calls for support and last but not least 25 contacts per month with children.
CLAN is a local charity requiring some 200 volunteers – 40 sessional workers (Therapists and counsellors), - drivers – and 38 employees. A staggering £1,200,000 is required annually to run the charity as all services are given Free of Charge.
A quarter of Clan’s funding is raised through their charity shops, and the remainder raised through Friends of Clan, the newly founded Trust Fund and of course public donations.
The charity’s main aim is their commitment to developing, maintaining and extending the service to enable them to keep it running 365 days a year. In order to achieve this, they are always looking for more volunteers from all walks of life.