The charity’s Brighter Outlook project helps people in Brighton and Hove stay physically active before, during and after cancer treatment, with the charity working closely with local cancer teams Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Research shows staying active is beneficial at all stages of cancer treatment – helping control fatigue, maintain strength and fitness, and reduce risk of recurrence - and since launching the project back in 2015 almost 1,000 people have benefited from the support provided by the charity.
Participants are offered one-to-one specialist support from Albion in the Community’s cancer rehabilitation coaches, and access to the charity’s free group activity sessions.
With all Albion in the Community’s sessions temporarily postponed due to Covid-19, however, staff at the charity needed to come up with other ways to support the almost 100 people currently attending the free weekly sessions.
Rosie Sadler, who heads up the project for Albion in the Community, explained, “Many of the people we work with on Brighter Outlook are self-isolating as part of the government’s guidelines on shielding the most-vulnerable; most of them have compromised immune systems, lowering their ability to fight infections.
“It must be such a worrying time for them and their families. At the moment I think we all need more support, but even more so for those already struggling with cancer and its treatments.
“Physical activity can reduce anxiety and help manage some of the nasty side effects of cancer treatment, as well as playing an important role in recovery, so staying active before, during and after treatment is very important and we’re determined to help our participants do just that.
“As well as regular phone calls and Skype chats checking in on how our participants are doing, we’ve started producing a series of videos which show people how to stay active in their homes and begun emailing out instructions on simple exercises people can do without equipment or using household items.
“It is more important than ever that people remain active and although our films, which will be uploaded to YouTube, are designed for our Brighter Outlook participants, they can be useful for anyone looking to get active at home and for those who perhaps needs some encouragement, advice, and support.”
Albion in the Community is also holding regular check-ins with former participants, offering them additional support during this challenging time, while staff are working on delivering gentle circuit sessions and seated classes live online over the coming weeks, and looking for ways to connect participants now missing the support of the wider group they usually attend.
It is an approach which participants are certainly appreciating.
Rosie continued, “We’ve already had some amazing feedback. This is a very challenging time for the people we work with and we’ll continue to support them in whatever way we can over the coming weeks.”
For more information on Brighter Outlook, which is funded by NHS Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group and supported by Macmillan, and how you can access support, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.