Meet: Maggie’s Centre Swansea
We spoke to Pippa Daley, from Swansea’s Maggie’s Centre, about the charity's work with those affected by cancer and its partnership with the Turn2us Response Fund.
Who do Maggie’s Centres help?
Maggie’s Centres provide free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their families and friends. They are always built within the grounds of a NHS hospital.
At Swansea, we are a small team of professional staff supporting people finding their way through cancer through our drop-in-centre, which is open Monday-Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Tell us a little about your role as a Turn2us Response Fund partner?
I am the Benefits Adviser at the Swansea Maggie’s. I have worked here for five years and offer full welfare benefits advice to people affected by cancer. I assist with form filling, benefit checks, grant applications and represent people at benefit tribunals.
Last year I advised 1,217 people and in Swansea the total annual benefit gain including grants was £1,116,909.89.
The total Turn2us Response Fund grants awarded from July 2017 (when we started the partnership) was £13,850 between nine people. In 2018 so far, Turn2us have awarded £14,600 in grants between seven claimants. This has been primarily for day to day living costs but grants have also been awarded for meeting the cost of funerals and help with moving costs.
Tell us about one of the grant recipients you’ve helped?
I advised a man who had recently lost his partner to cancer. She had managed all the money in the household and he didn’t know where to start. He was struggling to come to terms with the enormity of the grief he was feeling and on top of that he was very worried about meeting the cost of the funeral.
The Turn2us Response Fund was able to award him a grant to help with his day to day living costs and a grant towards the cost of the funeral. This has been an enormous help and has enabled him to gain some control over his finances. He had claimed Universal Credit and there was a six week delay before payment and in that time he had a funeral to arrange.
How important is collaborating with other charities in your work?
The partnership with Turn2us and Maggie’s is very important in trying to alleviate the cost of cancer and easing financial hardship at a critical time in a person’s life. A cancer diagnosis can cause serious financial pressure on families. A grant from the Response Fund eases that pressure and allows people to focus on their treatment or to be able to grieve the loss of their relative without the fear of falling into unmanageable debt.
Why is this an exciting time to be working at Maggie’s Centre? Tell us about some of the projects you are working on.
Maggie’s Centres are growing all the time. There are now 20 Maggie’s around the UK including an online centre and there are a further eight in development.
The Swansea Centre has been operational for seven years and our visitor numbers are increasing year on year.
In 2016-17, we had 23,497 visitors. I work currently work closely with other welfare rights teams and benefits advisers in the sector to ensure the smooth transition to Universal Credit for our clients. The full service of Universal Credit has recently been introduced in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot. We are encouraging people to get as much support as possible when making the claims and we have two computers in the Centre for visitors to use to make claims.
I also work closely with the new CLIC Sargent young person’s Social Worker who has recently started working with us at Swansea Maggie’s. I have been able to connect her as an intermediary for the Turn2us Response Fund reaching more young people with cancer who are experiencing financial hardship.
Find out more about Maggie's Centres.