Maggie's benefits advisory service helped its service-users access more than £15.5 Million in unclaimed benefits last year.
The service was used by more than 14,000 people across the UK in 2012. It is the kind of support players of People's Postcode Lottery can ensure Maggie's can continue to offer vital support that, in the light of last week's budget which saw many benefit cuts, is likely to prove even more crucial in the future in helping people through their cancer journey.
Over the past five years, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised £2.4 Million for Maggie's. This money helps to ensure that the 14 Maggie's Centres across the UK can continue to provide their unique programme of support to people with cancer, their friends and family.
Maggie's benefits advisor Carol Scott said: “When people come to see me at Maggie's they are generally incredibly stressed and facing a really difficult time. People with cancer list money worries as their second biggest concern when facing a cancer diagnosis, second only to major pain. It is only once they have been helped to put their financial situation in order that they can relax and give getting better their full attention.
“And anyone can find themselves struggling when facing a cancer diagnosis and unable to work, which is why knowing exactly what they are entitled to claim and what help they can get is vital. I am happy to work in a Maggie's Centre which allows meto provide a service that enables people with a cancer diagnosis to access their benefit entitlements and I know it is partly in thanks to the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery.”
Benefits advice at Maggie's Centres operate on a drop-in and appointment basis. While it is there for people with cancer, like all aspects of the Maggie's programme, it is also available for friends and families as well.
Louise Whitehill, 26, from Glasgow, has been a Maggie's visitor since her Mum was first diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Benefits advice was one of the first services her Mum sought at Maggie's.
She said: “When my mum was diagnosed with cancer, Maggie's was a valuable resource to us both but on hearing the news, her financial situation was one of her biggest concerns. The benefits service provided a great sense of reassurance when things were up in the air; the advice helped us realise that whatever happened, we would be guided in the right direction.
“Having Carol to put it all in simple terms made a stressful time a whole lot easier and once my Mum was able to relax about her finances she was far more able to deal with her cancer. That helped me to feel less anxious as well and I am incredibly grateful to Maggie's for providing the service and players of People's Postcode Lottery for helping make sure people like me and my Mum can find that kind of support.”
People's Postcode Lottery Trusts Manager Kate Pearson said: “The work undertaken by the team at Maggie's empowers people who are affected by cancer to face the many challenges it creates. Not only do the team provide wonderful advice on health, nutrition and relaxation, they also advise on the practicalities that can often be overlooked during difficult times.
“Maggie's staff offer a vital service to help people get access to the benefits they are entitled to, taking away that extra bit of worry at a time when their focus should be on their health. We are delighted that players of People's Postcode Lottery are able to support such a wonderful charity like Maggie's so that they can continue to provide such a valuable service.”