Health and Wellbeing Events

Attending health and wellbeing events are proving to be a fantastic way for services to increase referrals and make new contacts with healthcare professionals and create new support group contacts.

Recently the Macmillan Active Manchester service were invited to a series of Health
and Wellbeing events including an upper GI support group meeting, a head and neck wellbeing event and a cancer experience forum event. All of these events provided the opportunity to meet people who had been affected by cancer and to increase awareness of the support that is available when the treatment finishes. These meetings resulted in three new referrals, two new clinical nurse specialist contacts and three new cancer support group contacts.

Ambokile Bell, project lead from Active Manchester said,

“The health and wellbeing events provide the perfect opportunity for our service to network with health care professionals, various community services and meet new service users. The sessions are an informal setting to provide advice and support to all on moving more, the event coordinators  allowed us to distribute project leaflets and move more resources at the event which has resulted in an increase of self referrals. We have now produced an annual calendar of well being events and allocated project ambassadors who are able to give a powerful message of their journey through the project. ”

The Get Active Feel Good service in Shropshire also attended a Health and Wellbeing day for Sarcoma patients which provided the opportunity to make contact and network with a population who they previously had no contact with.

Kim Davies from Get Active Feel Good Shropshire said,

“At this event Get Active Feel Good was able to give a 20 minute presentation where we discussed getting patients back into various sports and deliver Move More packs, DVDs and marketing leaflets. The event also enabled us to meet new clinical nurse specialists from a different trust and make new contacts with physiotherapists, nutritionists, complementary therapists and other charities. The Boots team were also present to provide referrals and signpost. This event will be an annual event in our calendar and we are looking at attending a regular support group to deliver very brief advice”.

Move More Fife Walking

move more fife

Move More Fife was launched 2 years ago and is now expanding to include Move More Fife Walking. It is well known that walking is an extremely popular activity for people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis due to the social, accessible and fun nature of the activity.

Jacquie Stringer, health and physical activity manager for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust said,

“Move More Fife Walking is a great way for people during or after cancer treatment to take part in physical activity while enjoying the social support of people in similar circumstances. There is lots of evidence to show that physical activity for people during and after cancer treatment can provide benefits to improved physical function, relief from fatigue, nausea and improve quality of life. Equally, for those living with cancer, physical activity helps support a return to a healthy and active lifestyle.

move more fife 1

“We have volunteers who will help take walks which last around 30 minutes – the volunteers come with a variety of backgrounds and most have been involved in our health programme previously. People taking part are welcome to bring along a family member or friend if they prefer. We hope the programme will offer people across Fife both emotional and physical benefits following a cancer diagnosis.”

For more information about Move More Fife and Move More walking visit:

Using sport as a tool to gain back control of your life

Running and cycling are proving to be a popular activity for people affected by cancer within our physical activity project sites. Whether it is going on a gentle walk on a Sunday or competing in marathon, physical activity is a fantastic tool to gain back control of people’s lives affected by cancer. Macmillan wants to ensure that everyone, no matter their age, background, geography, stage of their cancer journey is supported to become and stay active. We are in partnership with five National Governing Bodies of Sport ensuring the support they offer is appropriate and accessible for people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. This includes sports such as dance, golf, cycling, walking, badminton which all act as a gentle re-introduction to the sport and have lots of positive health results such as weight loss.

Nottingham Tri 2Neill Timmins from Milton Keynes has run two marathons, walked two of the Yorkshire three peaks, completed numerous 5K parkruns and done a sprint triathlon.  Little did he know he was completing these challenges with stage 4 tonsil cancer.

Once diagnosed Neill underwent major surgery followed by 6 weeks of radiotherapy supplemented by chemotherapy. He approached his cancer journey like training for a marathon, by pushing through the pain and remaining positive throughout. He has a tremendous support network including his wife and two sons and a fantastic job which has allowed him to return to work gradually following the end of his treatment.
Neil strongly believes that a healthy lifestyle has helped him recover and gain back control over his life,

“You have to get your head into the right space. Being reasonably fit and undertaking exercise I truly believe has helped me get to where I am now quicker and get back control over my life. This is important. By necessity you have to give others control during parts of treatment. If you want to get back control then you have to put some work in and frankly take some pain”.

Neill is currently in the middle of the triathlon season and plans to compete in a Brownlee Triathlon at the end of the month having already completed a sprint triathlon and two at Olympic distances. He also regularly does parkruns, yoga and cycles to work each day. On top of that he recently completed a Personal Training Diploma. He also altered his diet as his taste buds changed alongside treatment.

“I am truly grateful to all the people who have helped me get to where I am and giving me more life. Just saying thank you seems wholly inadequate”

For further information on sporting opportunities for people affected by cancer please contact

Pink Champagne

Dragon Boating is an extremely popular activity for people affected by cancer and one that is offered as part of the Living Well Active menu of opportunities in Dorset. Through a research project by Dr McKenzie in Canada (link here) it has been proven that paddling helps to mend the muscles and can help control the consequences of treatment.

Pix by Sally Adams  24/6/12      bPinkdragon1 The Pink Champagne Dragon Boat team, pictured, hold a fundraising event at Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre.

Pink Champagne was originally set up in 2008 by Dr Mary Mills, Layne Hamerston, Living Well active project  lead and the healthcare professionals  at Bournemouth hospital through a group of ladies to help them recover following breast cancer. The name Pink Champagne was suggested by a daughter of a team member to mean a celebration of life.

A small group of ladies quickly grew in numbers and before they knew it they were saving up to race in Canada. The event attracted 72 teams from all over the world to race in Canada with everyone and everything dressed in pink. The team came a fantastic 34th! From this, the team travelled to Sarasota in the USA last October and numerous other races in England and around the world.


Their aim is to spread the world about paddling and the benefits it has both physically and psychologically during recovery. Thanks to them they have set up their own Breast Cancer Dragon Boat team in Spain. There is a fantastic person centred support network available for the participants including attendance at Living Well Actives monthly motivational evenings and social events.

More recently the Pink Champagne ladies attended the Living Well active launch to promote their taster sessions and have featured on the BBC news promoting the benefits of the sport for people affected by cancer. Representatives have also attended our knowledge exchange events to speak about their journey.

Christine Bailey, a member of Pink Champagne says “Breast cancer is a bad thing, but the friendship that we have in Pink champagne and all over the world is a wonderful thing. We come for different walks of life and would never have met, but we are here for each other. We feel we have been given a second chance and were going for it. All in one boat together”.

To find out more about  Dragon Boating take a look at the link here. If you live in Dorset and the surrounding areas take a look at the other opportunities available to you here.

Move More Edinburgh Launches

move more edinburghMacmillan Cancer Support and Edinburgh Leisure are delighted to have teamed up to establish Move More Edinburgh. This is the latest Move More project to get started. Move More Edinburgh will offer all four of the Move More activities; gentle movement, walking and circuit classes with gardening following in year two.  Many of the classes will take place in Edinburgh Leisure venues as well as local community spaces to help bridge the gap back into mainstream physical activity. Following participation in one or more of the physical activity sessions participants will be signposted onto Edinburgh Leisure and community activities to continue with their physical activity.
Edinburgh Leisure is the largest leisure provider in Edinburgh with over 30 venues and more than 4.8 million customer visits per year.  As a not for profit organisation their goal is to make a positive difference across the city, helping everyone to get active, stay active and achieve more. The Move More project sits within Edinburgh Leisure’s health team along with 7 other projects, many funded by external partners.  From weight management to falls prevention, each of the projects aims to help those who face health inequalities the chance to experience the benefits of physical activity for themselves.  Edinburgh Leisure have a strong presence in local communities across the city and with funding and expertise from Macmillan Cancer Support the Move More Edinburgh project will reach out to people in Edinburgh affected by cancer, enabling them to get active.

Signposting your individuals to a challenging event


Goals are an effective way to maintain focus, measure progress and to provide a positive challenge for individuals living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Goals could also be completing events such as the 5km parkrun…

parkrun is a free, weekly, 5km timed run which takes place in pleasant parkland surroundings. There are currently 47,555 events across 348 locations in the UK with 748,921 runners taking part. This event is a fantastic goal for individuals from your projects to complete. It is safe, fun, challenging and provides a huge sense of achievement and a massive confidence boost.

Michelle is 35 years old and was diagnosed with cancer where she went through chemotherapy treatment for a year. She is part of the Macmillan Berkshire Well-Being Team who signposted her to a parkrun in Maidenhead. The Well-being team had been concentrating on regaining her confidence, muscle strength and energy levels. They set her a goal of running the Maidenhead Park Run. She had walked the route hundreds of times with her dog Eddie but had not run it for 2 years.

I was super proud when I completed my first Park Run in Maidenhead. On the Saturday morning as usual we were up early for swimming lessons and footie training but the kids said ‘Mum we want to come and run with you… Can Eddie come too?’ That’s the dog, ‘we can ask I suppose, lets print you some numbers’ I replied, so off we went.

Off to the start line, full of conversation and nerves 5km… 3.16miles… they said, wow lets see if I make it back before dark! I look around and I see other families, lots of bright colours, some people had all the gear and people like me…a mum… a dog owner… even a dad with a buggy its not cold but I’m shaking with anticipation lets do this and off we go.

It’s two laps of a water way, an area I’ve walked with Eddie a million times but wow did it feel longer. The kids are running off, Kevin is chatting away and I see people smiling and having fun. The front runners were obviously no where to be seen, but I had my little pace and I was sticking to it. Come on Michelle I said we can do this! It’s the second lap and people have over taken me and I too have over taken them but every time I got a ‘good morning’ or a ‘looking good’ big smiles from me. I had a little walk run thing going on now and I was nearly at the end 35 minutes had passed and I was on the home straight, there was one thing keeping me going and that was the offer of a free coffee from Kevin at the pub!

We had finished and in the pub Michelle…Me… a 35 year old lady who was diagnosed with Cancer and pumped with poison for a year had done 5km YES 3.16 miles all in one go a distance I hadn’t done for nearly two years, I had a feeling of success, achievement and so proud of my families support. My Saturdays were about to get better!

If you want to find out more information about these events and where they take place please click on the link here

Flagship Living Well Active project launched in Dorset for people living with cancer

More than 200 people attended the Big Living Well Discovery Day at Bournemouth University on Friday 17 July, for the launch of Dorset Living Well Active.

Funded by a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and Sport England, Dorset Living Well Active is one of six flagship pilot projects nationwide aimed at supporting people to live well with and beyond their cancer diagnosis, through being physically active.

Layne Hamerston, Director of Living Well Active based at Bournemouth University explained: “We know that exercise has an incredibly positive impact on recovery from cancer and can not only reduce the risk of recurrence, but also helps to manage some of the side effects of treatment such as swelling, fatigue or anxiety. We’re now working with over 36 different delivery sites across Dorset who between them offer a range of activities and support services, making it easier than ever for people affected by cancer to become active, and access support locally.

“Macmillan’s research shows that 1.6 million people currently living with cancer are not active at recommended levels. We need to help people change their mindset so that they can just start to move confidently, and in ways they enjoy to help them keep momentum. This project is centred around being physically active – whether it’s going to the gym, cycling, health walks, nordic walking or even gardening – but aside from the physical benefits, the friendship and camaraderie makes it fantastic for psychological health and wellbeing too. It really can make you feel good.”

Over 100 local people affected by cancer attended the event, which formed part of Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning 2015. Attendees took part in taster sessions and activities, hearing from experts on exercise, diet and nutrition, a Macmillan Clinical Psychologist, as well as having the chance to ask questions of an expert panel.

Rosa Adams from Wool brought her own experience of life beyond diagnosis and treatment. She enthused about Living Well Active saying; “It’s really good to help people to be active, and I think we need to get more GPs on board with referring to programmes like this. It has a knock on effect, just like if you start smiling you feel happy. If you start doing exercise, the better you feel and the more you want to do. It’s getting you out of the house, meeting people, being part of the world again and you also get that sense of achievement.”

dorset 3Membership to Living Well Active is free and available to anyone affected by cancer in Dorset over the age of 18.
The service supports members to ‘improve their potential to live well’ with information on a selected network of physical activity providers, support groups and health and wellbeing related organisations who are mindful and considerate of cancer and the side effects of treatment. The specific exercise referral programmes recommended by Living Well Active are all staffed by level four cancer and exercise rehabilitation instructors.

dorset table tennisThere are also regular free discovery talks and events on a range of subjects, giving members a better understanding of how they can take personal steps to improve their quality of life.

Referrals are welcome from GPs, health professionals and clinicians on behalf of patients, as well as individuals self referring.

For more information and/or to register as a Living Well Active member, please contact the Living Well Active support team on 01202 426 588 or visit

If you’re affected by cancer and need information or support, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit

Charity cycling – Way of the Roses

Greg Hayward Cycling

On the 28th June Greg Hayward (York HEAL project manager) will be cycling the infamous Way of the Roses route from the West (Morecombe) to the East (Bridlington) coast. Greg and a team of 3 cyclists will be tackling the hilly 170 mile route in just one day for a local charity to help residents in York living with and after breast cancer.

York Breast Friends is a recently established support group for residents of York and the surrounding area who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The group is a peer-led charity and provides a safe and supportive environment by holding regular meetings and organising fun activities for those living with and beyond a breast cancer diagnosis. Greg is part of the council’s HEAL team and has seen firsthand the positive influence support groups can have on individuals affected by cancer, especially when clinicians and health professions are unable to relate to the emotional and physical experiences.

We wish Greg the best of luck with this huge challenge! If you would like to donate and make a difference to many lives you can sponsor the Way of the Roses team HERE.

Richmond Group – Launch of first prevention report focusing on secondary as well as primary prevention.

What an amazing day we all had last week launching the Richmond Group of Charities report to show why prevention must be considered a top priority at the wonderful House of Commons.

MPs including Public Health minister Jane Ellison, Shadow Secretary of Health Andy Burnham, and Lib Dem health spokesperson Paul Burstow addressed the room, providing great support for Physical Activity along with our Richmond Group charity partners. We’ve already seen lots of media coverage as a result on  Health Service Journal, bmj and The Daily Mail . Thanks to everyone involved.

We showed parliament how walking works with representatives from Healthy Walks Lewisham as well as our very own Cancer Voice, Ian Rigby, who all shared stories about how walking has benefited them. We then enjoyed a walk (at moderate intensity) around the streets of Westminster. Read Ian Rigby’s story here

The Richmond Group of Charities is a coalition of 10 of the leading health and social care organisations in the voluntary sector working together as a collective voice to better influence health and social care policy focusing on secondary as well as primary prevention.

You can read the report here which outlines nine key calls to action through which political leaders and key decision-makers can ensure disease prevention is placed at the top of the agenda.