A North East cancer charity is opening a new family room at its Gateshead headquarters thanks to the support of a regional employer.
Fighting All Cancers Together (FACT) moved to new premises on Clasper Way in Swalwell earlier this year, with a view to refurbishing and adapting the building to create a reception area, family room and garden.
The family room was conceived as being a multi-use area for the group, as well as a venue for FACT’s weekly coffee morning for anyone in the community if they are affected by cancer, and as also being available to hire by community groups or individuals to help bring new funds into the charity.
And now, after FACT secured a £6,000 grant from regional employer the Banks Group via its Banks Community Fund, the family room has been redecorated, new carpets have been laid, new tables and chairs have been purchased and a new boiler fitted.
New doorguards have been fitted which enable open access to the family room whilst still protecting the area in case of fire, while new patio doors which will lead out to a community garden will follow in the new year once work on improving the garden commences.
Founded by chief executive Joanne Smith in 2005 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34, FACT Cancer Support aims to help cancer patients, their families, and friends find opportunities for support, awareness and social interaction with people in similar situations, especially for younger people or those that have young families.
It offers a range of different events and activities, including counselling, a wig service and awareness talks, and helps around 2,000 local people every year, with a 100-strong team of volunteers helping to maximise the range of work that FACT can do.
The charity’s services are provided free of charge to cancer patients, with its running costs met through revenues from its eight shops around the region, fundraising events and private donations.
Joanne Edwards, Funding and Partnership Manager at FACT, says: “Our coffee mornings are often the first port of contact for people with us, and they provide a very warm and welcoming environment in which visitors can start to find out how we might be able to support them and their families.
“When we were moving into our new building, we knew getting the family room right was going to be a priority, and the generous support we’ve had from the Banks Group enabled us to get on with the job straight away and in one go, rather than having to do the work when finances allowed.
“The room is more modern and comfortable than the facilities that we could previously offer, and we’ve had some great feedback from visitors old and new.
“The improved facilities have already enabled us to broaden the scope of activities and support we’re able to provide here, and we are looking to continue to grow the numbers of people that we’re able to support next year and beyond.”
Chris Kelsey, communications manager at the Banks Group, adds: “FACT provides wonderful and invaluable support for families across the region during some of the most difficult times they will ever face, and we’re very pleased to have been able to help them complete this very impressive project.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects. Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.