Macmillan Active Manchester Launch

Macmillan has teamed up with the Manchester Community Giants and Sport England to help people affected by cancer in Manchester stay active and healthy. Under the ‘Macmillan Active Manchester’ project, people affected by cancer will be able to access free activity sessions, some of which will be led by the Giants themselves. The sessions will take place across Greater Manchester at leisure centres, community halls, outdoors in parks and the Manchester Giants venue.

A large turnout of key stakeholders, healthcare professionals and local business representatives were all in attendance at the launch on Friday 27 March. The sunny morning and the breathtaking backdrop of the grounds at Wythenshawe Park proved a great opportunity for the launch activities to take place.

Guest speakers included Macmillan Development Manager Jez Such, Ambo Bell and Steffan Gill from the Giants and Project Ambassadors Jonathan Deakin and Champion Tommy Stott. Tommy and Jonathan both gave an insight into their role as champions and the benefits of the project for people affected by cancer.

The launch included tea, speeches and a walk around the park with the Macmillan Connected Wythenshawe Walkers. All who turned up signed a pledge card of support towards the project. Steffan Gill from the Giants ensured attendees got to experience some of the activities on offer in the project including chair based arm rotations.

Under the ‘Macmillan Active Manchester’ project, people affected by cancer will be able to access free activity sessions, some of which will be led by the Giants themselves, including rising star Stefan Gill who is backing the initiative after two family members were diagnosed with cancer.

Manchester is one of six areas in the UK to pilot the design, implementation and evaluation of a physical activity pathway for patients living with and beyond cancer, following growing evidence of the positive impact of exercise on recovery.

Stefan said: ‘I have a very personal interest in this project as I have family members who have cancer. The mental and physical strength people with cancer have is so commendable, anything I can do to help is an honour. My aim is to help ease physical ailments and improve mental well-being through exercise and mobility.’

The activity sessions will take place across Greater Manchester at leisure centres, community halls, outdoors in parks and the Manchester Giants venue.

After an initial consultation with one of the project’s qualified trainers, people living with cancer will be matched to an activity which suits their physical abilities and interests, either as part of a group or on a one-to-one basis.With funding from Sport England, the project is being delivered by Macmillan Cancer Support and Manchester Community Giants with support from Public Health Manchester and Manchester City Council who have opened up their leisure facilities to people affected by cancer.

Jeremy Such, Macmillan Development Manager, said: ‘We know that exercise has an incredibly positive impact on recovery from cancer and can not only reduce the risk of dying or the cancer coming back, but also help to manage some of the devastating side effects of treatment such as swelling, fatigue or anxiety. However, our research shows that currently 1.6 million of the two million people currently living with cancer are not active at recommended levels. This needs to change.’

To sign up for an activity session or for more information on the scheme visit



Top tips to help you move more in 2015

2015It’s that time where the mince pies and joyous feasting of yesteryear (2014 was weeks ago!) might be playing on our minds (or our waistbands). With determination and self control to rival Tibetan monks many of us decide to embark on one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions worldwide: be more active and/or eat well.

Whether you’re doing it for improved overall health, to tone up, or to lose weight you aren’t alone and it’s no easy feat. To help make sure your resolutions don’t fall by the wayside we’ve listed some failsafe tips below.


– Its unlikely you’ll lose 10 pounds, completely cut out sugar, run a marathon and master a new sport alongside your current day to day life in two months. Get real about your goals – no fad diets or gruelling daily workouts when you previously avoided exercise like the plague. Instead become a healthier you by eating healthily and being physically active at a level that suits you.


– To really achieve your goals they need to be specific. Know what you want and focus on the positive. Also break down your goals into manageable chunks. By being specific it’s easier to review how well you’re progressing with your goal.


– Once you’ve decided on your goals, tell people about it! It’s easy to break promises that only you know about, so by sharing your resolutions with friends, family or colleagues you are more likely to stick to them. You can then get people around you to remind you on a regular basis why you want to achieve your goal and what you need to do to get there and lean on them for motivation.


– We know goals are rarely achieved in one go, so break them down into smaller milestones and reward yourself along the way (not with a takeaway, mind.) Celebrate your success with treats that don’t contradict your resolutions but contribute to them. E.g. A pricier cut of meat for dinner, a new item of sportswear or booking a massage. Treat yourself healthy!


– This is the most important tip, ENJOY YOURSELF. You’ll never stick to a healthy eating plan or get physically active if it’s boring or unrealistically difficult. Rather than just eating lettuce, healthy eating can be tasty and filling if you take the time to find meals you like. And if you hated running all your life, don’t do it! Maybe you love swimming, football or Zumba instead.

Finally don’t beat yourself up if you have a slip up, mistakes do happen and rather than drag yourself down, just look to the following day to start afresh.

Good luck

Get walking with Paths for all

MMPaths for all is the Scotland equivalent of Walk for Health (mentioned in a previous post) and we’re working with them alongside Sport Aberdeen to deliver an extensive programme of health walks for people affected by cancer in Aberdeen city.

Walking is a fantastic activity for those who are just starting to be more active and the walks are free, sociable and of varying difficulty so anyone in the community can partake. The enthusiastic volunteers who lead the walks have all completed their training so are able to help you get the most out of a healthy, enjoyable walk, whatever your pace.

It’s a great opportunity to get together with likeminded people with similar life experiences and challenges or even leave those same things behind!

For more information please contact or call 01224 577729. You can also access the Paths for all website here:


Jantastic is a unique and exciting digital challenge that gives individuals and teams the structure and motivation to achieve their personal fitness, health and performance goals through the tough winter months. It’s perfect for that New Year’s resolution to add some physical activity into your lifestyle.

It’s a wonderful tool for whether you’re already an exercise junkie or just starting out with some moderate physical activity, and for the first time, Jantastic participants can set fitness targets in running, cycling and swimming (or a combination of the three) and also have the option of raising money for Macmillan via a one-off donation or by fundraising as they commit to their fitness goals.

Jantastic works across three distinct four-week blocks. Each block is about setting yourself a personal running/swimming/cycling goal and as Jantastic progresses through January, February and March so does the level of your challenge. And that’s the best part. It’s tailored to YOU and the level you are happy to start with, whether that’s walking 10 minutes or running for 30.

If you coordinate or help run a physical activity project encourage your service users to take part in Jantastic as motivation to reach their physical activity goals, whatever they are.

For more information about Jantastic head to

Knowledge exchange workshops


IMG_1151With the festive season upon us and projects in full planning mode for 2015, last week we delivered two Knowledge Exchange Workshops, one in Luton at the Inspire Facility and one in Manchester at the Manchester Giants Basketball Club Training Venue. The events brought together over 50 key stakeholders including Physical Activity Project Leads, Sports Development Officers, Senior Lecturers, Expert Advisors, Physiotherapists, Macmillan Development Managers and Service Users. There were representatives from across the UK in attendance that came from far and wide to hear what the hosts had to say about their exciting projects. The format of the day included a national Physical Activity update, host project update and an opportunity in the afternoon for projects to share their key successes and challenges and lessons learnt along the way.

Workshop attendees got a little extra physical activity as a lunchtime walk was led by our Walking for Health team to the local Chill Factor Snow dome in Manchester and the Luton attendees got free activity vouchers for the pool and gym.

As a result of the workshops we will be creating a knowledge hub where resources, tools and information can be accessed and shared, giving an opportunity to facilitate networking opportunities for those with a role in running and supporting Physical Activity projects for people affected by cancer.

Knowledge exchange workshops are free one day interactive events led by Macmillan’s Physical Activity team across the UK on a quarterly basis. Some of the feedback we have received from workshop included:

“an insightful workshop inspirational speech on exercise benefits for cancer #lifechanging #movemore

“very useful and enjoyable in terms of networking and sharing information”

“The workshop today was marvellous, keep the learning going”

“Fantastic #physicalactivity meeting held today by @MacMoveMore lots of sharing good practice and networking!”

Following the positive feedback from the people who attended the workshop we will be holding additional workshops across the UK on a quarterly basis.  The next two available workshops are Berkshire 11th March 2015 and Sheffield June 2015. Workshops are filled on a first come first served basis so if you are interested in sharing best practise and solutions with like-minded others contact to book a place.

Our physical activity resources

Some of our available resources in action.

Some of our available resources in action.

Macmillan move more resources

The physical activity team has resources to provide those affected by cancer and healthcare professionals with practical advice and tools on how to safely become more physically active during and after treatment. Here’s what Helen Birch, 43 who was diagnosed in 2010 had to say about one of our resources:

“The most beneficial bit was the activity diary that I was given, because I found it really really good to track what you were doing. But by actually writing it down each day, it just helped me stay on track. And it pushed me; it gave me that incentive to get on.”

By using our available tools and information, more people can benefit from physical activity as Helen has done. To hear more about her story click here.

For anyone providing services for people affected by cancer, we recommend our basic cancer awareness course which can be found on the Macmillan Learn Zone alongside many other learning resources. It’s a course that all members of our team have taken and we think you can benefit too.

These resources are available here, simply register and order away!

Keep a look out for more posts introducing specific resources and how best to use them. Happy ordering!