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 third Tuesdays of each month with a varied programme. For full details check the diary.
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 7pm onwards; refreshments are in the foyer of the Education Centre. We try to get settled and seated by 7.30pm 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 8pm, 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 wellbeing.
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.