The Northumberland Cancer Support Group is a completely
voluntary self-help organisation.
The Group was started in 1986 by cancer patient Joan
Ridley and was granted charitable status in 1987. Joan was
inspired after going to the Bristol Cancer Help Centre
(now Penny Brohn UK), the pioneers of the holistic
approach to cancer care. To begin with our meetings were
held in Joan's home but, as we grew, new premises were
found and we have been meeting regularly in Hexham ever
since. We have moved into the Education Centre on the
second floor of Hexham Hospital.
We offer a gentle, holistic approach to cancer which does
not conflict with conventional medical treatment. We
recognise that each person touched by cancer responds in
their own unique way, and respect their right to choose
what feels right for them.
We have a Code of Practice and a Confidentiality Policy.
We have a team of dedicated volunteers who all work
tirelessly to keep things running smoothly. Our
complementary therapists are all fully qualified and
insured; they work to strict guidelines.
We welcome people regardless of gender, race, religious
belief or sexual orientation.
A safe and friendly environment where people with
cancer, their families and friends, can meet others facing
a similar challenge.
Meetings are held on the first and fourth Tuesdays of
each month with a varied programme. For full details check
Complementary therapies including aromatherapy,
reflexology and relaxation.
For more details about these click on the "Complementary
Therapies" tab above.
A library of books and resources covering all aspects of
cancer, including self-help techniques.
Friendship and fun
Workshops on a variety of topics.
A residential weekend retreat once a year.
Many of us can remember that it felt a bit scary coming
to the group for the first time, meeting lots of strangers
and not knowing what to expect. We hope that having a
rough idea beforehand, of what happens during the evening,
will help you to feel more comfortable about joining us.
Members arrive from 6.30pm onwards; refreshments are in
the foyer of the Education Centre. We try to get settled
and seated by 7.00pm in the meeting room on the left hand
side of the Education Centre, and only water may be taken
into the meeting room.
If you have not received a copy of our programme please
ask someone. We have a 'white board', on which you will
see the names of the complementary therapists and time
slots available that evening. If you would like a therapy,
please write your name against one of the available times.
As places are limited, priority is given to people with
cancer, followed by carers and then others.
Seating is arranged in a circle and the volunteer
facilitating for the evening will welcome members, give
out information, ask if anyone has any news, remind us
what is on the programme for the evening and introduce the
guest speaker if there is one. At this point, before the
programmed event starts, we usually have our 'circle'.
This takes the form of a brief relaxation (just a few
minutes) which may include a short reading or
visualization, finishing with the joining of hands around
the circle to reaffirm our friendship and support for one
another. Please do not feel that you have to join in with
this if it will make you feel uncomfortable.
At this time, usually around 7.30pm, the therapists start
the therapy sessions, and the remaining members stay for
the speaker, or whatever is programmed. This is usually
planned to take around 45 minutes (except for the
meditation nights, which are longer).
The library of books, CDs and DVDs are available, however
we cannot bring the library into the Education Centre.
Please ask the librarian of the evening if you would like
to see the library. An information folder is provided
containing a list of our selection of books, CDs and DVDs
for you to look through. You can borrow books for up to
four weeks and will be issued with a library ticket. There
are leaflets and booklets for reference and minutes of
committee meetings are available for perusal.
There is a register for members to sign-in and a donation
bowl is left out during the evening. As we do not have
subscription fees, we invite members to make a small
contribution when they attend. We suggest £1 per person or
per couple, or whatever you can afford, as a contribution
toward the refreshments, postage, stationery and so on. We
hope you enjoy your first evening with us and look forward
to seeing you again.
A brief description of therapies that we have available
free at our Tuesday evening meetings, held on the first
and third Tuesday of the month.
Gentle massage using essential oils (which have been
extracted from aromatic plants) mixed with a vegetable
carrier oil to create blends which can enhance mood, help
with aches and pains, or assist with some of the side
effects of treatment, e.g. nausea, constipation. All
therapists at the Group use only very low dilutions, and
light touch, appropriate to the needs of cancer patients.
Indian Head Massage
This is a massage of the shoulders, upper arms, neck, scalp
and face, which is carried out over clothes. It can be
helpful in the treatment of muscle stiffness and tension
held in these areas. It is also very effective in helping to
reduce stress and bring about a sense of deep relaxation and
Reflexology is a therapy session carried out on the feet,
using precise movements primarily with the side of the
thumbs. It is a treatment aimed at balancing the body, and
although there are reflexologists elsewhere, who work very
firmly, we believe that a gentle and soothing approach is
more appropriate. Anyone hesitant for fear of it tickling,
can be reassured that this is not the case, and most people
find it deeply relaxing.
The therapist acts as a channel for the energy, which is
passed to the recipient through the therapist's hands; the
recipient is fully clothed and sitting or lying in a
comfortable position. It offers people emotional and
physical support and can help bring about balance and a
feeling of wellbeing. Most people find it extremely relaxing
giving them a feeling of peace or calm which they may
continue to feel long after the treatment session. It can
sometimes trigger an emotional release in some people whilst
others may feel energized by it. Most people report having
slept soundly after a treatment and many have said they felt
they could cope better with their problems.
Some of our therapists are trained in Reiki. However all
the feedback we have received confirms that regardless of
any differences in the approach of the individual
therapies, for the receiver it all feels the same. For
this reason we prefer to use the term "Therapeutic Touch"
which reflects the benefits whilst not making any
distinction in approach.