Charity secured £2m welfare benefits for cancer patients in Edinburgh

The cash has helped hundreds of sick people in the Capital cope with financial difficulties caused by cancer.

By Shona Elliott
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 4:45 pm

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New figures from Edinburgh Macmillian Benefits Advice service shows it helped 615 sick people claim an average of £3000 between June 2020 and June 2021.

The service, which is partly funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and run by Edinburgh City Council, was set up to help patients cope with the huge financial pressures cancer can cause.

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The fund has helped over 600 people with cancer in the Capital.

Advice service manager Mark Upward said that for many cancer comes with a huge loss of income and financial security.

He went on to say that his team are working hard to make sure that nobody coping with cancer in Edinburgh is burdened with financial worries.

He said: “No-one who has a life-threatening illness should have to worry about how to pay their bills, cover the costs of getting to hospital or buy warm clothes or healthy food, but every day we hear from people facing these choices.

Cancer comes with lots of unexpected costs and often a loss in income. Particularly for those who have never tried to navigate the benefits system before, it can feel like a maze, especially when someone is going through gruelling treatment or struggling to deal with the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis.

“We want everyone affected by cancer – whether that’s a patient or their loved ones - to know we’re here to help make sure they get access to all the money they’re entitled to. I’d urge anyone with cancer to get in touch and see how we can help.”

Fundraising events are integral to this service

Macmillan relies almost entirely on donations from the public to fund its services, and since the pandemic hit, has seen its fundraising income drop.

The charity is hoping that after 18-months of cancelled fundraising events, people across Edinburgh will sign up for its World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on September 24.

Macmillan’s head of services in Scotland, Janice Preston said: “Dealing with the emotional and physical impacts of cancer is one thing, trying to do so while worrying about how to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head is another.

“Even before Covid-19 a cancer diagnosis is something that can turn people’s lives upside down with a huge range of emotional, physical and financial impacts. It’s not always what goes on in hospital that concerns people the most – for many, money is the next biggest worry after the shock of their initial diagnosis.

“Cancer is simply not something anyone can budget for and we are immensely proud of what our Macmillan benefits advisers are achieving when it comes to relieving just some of the financial anxiety experienced by people with cancer.

“These are services that simply would not be there without the continued backing of our generous supporters, supporters who we need now more than ever before after 18-months of cancelled fundraising events amidst the pandemic.

“With our flagship World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event just around the corner on Friday 24 September we hope everyone will get involved so we can keep services like this running at a time when people with cancer need us the most.”

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