The Kilkenny Cancer Support Centre has been officially recognised as an affiliate of the Irish Cancer Society and will become part of a network of groups all across Ireland who provide information and support services to people with cancer.
Evidence suggests that when people with cancer receive good support within their own network and community, their quality of life improves. Support centres throughout the country such as Kilkenny Cancer Support Centre have been providing this service and are mostly run by volunteers. As part of the National Strategy for Cancer Control, the Irish Cancer Society was asked to expand its role to become an umbrella body for these support centres.
The Society carried out a scoping study to determine the number of groups around the country, what activities they were engaged in and what their expectations of such a project might be. A directory of all the cancer support services right across the country and a set of good practice guidelines were developed. The purpose of the guidelines is to encourage the cancer support services to provide and manage their services in the best way possible.
The Society is rolling out training programmes for each support service and the first of these - “Core Skills for Volunteering in a Cancer Support Service” – has just been completed by 30 volunteers from across the country. Further programmes are planned for 2012. The Society will also run a grants scheme that each of the support services can apply for as part of their affiliation.