Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Action Cancer will deliver support services in the form of pain/symptom control and complementary therapies to children and adults affected by cancer in a deprived community with one of the highest incidents of cancer in Western Europe.

This is a totally unique service because:
• The service will be offered to both those diagnosed with cancer and also those affected by the diagnosis, i.e. family and carers, at any stage across the cancer journey
• Action Cancer is the only organisation in Northern Ireland to offer the Emmet and Bowen techniques (pain and symptom control) to those affected by cancer
• It is available to children and young people from age 5 upwards

The Community

Research shows that people prefer to access services in their own localities. The Falls Road/Divis area is ranked in the top decile for deprivation in the UK. The 2012 cancer death rates in West Belfast was 31.8%, compared to 24.2% in East Belfast (NiCAN).

Action Cancer would like to introduce its services to the heart of this community, in partnership with the Maureen Sheehan Centre, a well utilised community centre situated just off the Falls Road.

Action Cancer has a successful history of delivering therapies with partners in communities with high cancer incidences e.g. Strabane, L’derry, Portrush/Coleraine and Lurgan.

The Service

Action Cancer will provide weekly sessions to local people affected by cancer (patients and their carers/family members) in the Maureen Sheehan Centre (Lower Falls/Divis). This includes children and young people aged 5 and up who have cancer or are related to someone with cancer.

Complementary therapies work alongside traditional medicine and focus holistically on the physical, mental and emotional aspects of an individual. Their therapists are highly trained professionals with many years experience of caring for cancer clients and their families. The video shows the techniques used to help people.

The Benefits

Action Cancer's research has found that when they first attend, family and carers suffer from significantly reduced quality of life in a similar way to those who have been diagnosed. However, after using the services, quality of life significantly increases.

Feedback from our Emmett and Bowen techniques used by those with a cancer diagnosis shows the majority (63%) reported improved physical changes.

Word has spread about the new services, and more and more people are specifically asking about these unique therapies when making appointments. Should this bid be successful, Action Cancer will use the money for start up costs in the Maureen Sheehan Centre for equipment, oils, Bach remedies etc and to pay for weekly sessions for one year.

Users Perspectives

“I feel the service provided is excellent and I was delighted that this was also extended to my family who were having difficulties with my diagnosis.”

“My sessions with Lorraine were honestly bliss.... Lorraine is a fabulous therapist, she has hands that are so soft, so touching; she has hands of an angel. On the first appointment, I had to tell Lorraine my history and before with other therapists I didn’t always like discussing it and saying it aloud. With Lorraine, however, she made me feel really valued and listened to. She didn’t quiz me or interrogate me; she actually made me feel better as she described me as a larch tree.....I am so glad I was referred to Action Cancer. Lorraine has had a massive impact on my well-being. “

“They are a friendly service that is caring and shows great empathy to people with a cancer diagnosis. I would also have experience with the Health Services which tends to treat the symptoms, not the whole person. It was really helpful having somebody who was non-judgmental to speak to that understand where you were coming from. It was also a bit of craic – we laughed and cried a bit too and it was ok – a safe place to be myself.”

Project Video

Action Cancer

Moment of Pride

We, at Lockton, are impressed by the huge impact on wellbeing and emotional support offered by Action Cancer’s therapists to local people with a cancer diagnosis and their families, children and carers. West Belfast, with its extraordinary statistics of cancer, is less than 2 miles from our office.

Location: Belfast