STAFF at a cancer support centre in Weston-super-Mare are celebrating after it was awarded the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark (MQEM.

The Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) Macmillan Cancer Support Centre, based at Weston General Hospital, was given the accolade which recognises the Macmillan Centre’s excellent standards of care and support for local people affected by cancer and marks the first anniversary since the centre opened in February 2018.

The MQEM award, given by Macmillan Cancer Support, is the first in the UK that specifically assesses how well buildings such as chemotherapy units and information centres provide support and care to people affected by cancer, and also recognises high standards in building design. Impressively the centre has

The centre achieved the highest possible overall score of 5 in all key areas (design and use of space, user’s journey, the service experience and the users voice), rating the facility as ‘Excellent’.

WAHT’s Macmillan Cancer Support Centre Manager, Emma Pugh, said: “To have achieved such a high score in our first year is fantastic.

"We are so proud of the wonderful new facilities we have at the centre to help support people affected by cancer and know they make a difference to those who use them.

"The team work so hard to make each and every person who comes through our door feel welcome and supported when they need it most.

"We appreciate the support Macmillan has given us in making the vision for this new centre a reality."

The Macmillan Cancer Support Centre at Weston General Hospital helps local people living with cancer, and their families, with free, confidential support and advice.

Visitors to the centre can browse a wide variety of information booklets, get one-to-one specialist Macmillan benefits advice and practical help with issues like nutrition and coping with symptoms and side effects of their treatment.

There are regular activities designed to support wellbeing including health and wellbeing events, HOPE courses (to help people with any emotional or physical concerns after cancer) and Eat Well Move More sessions. The centre is run by a dedicated team of experienced six staff members and one volunteer.

The new, purpose-built centre officially opened in February 2018 and was funded by a £173,000 investment from Macmillan Cancer Support and £10,000 from WAHT’s Oncology Haematology Day Unit Charitable Fund. Since opening it has supported just under 2,000 people and their families helping them find their best way through cancer.

Sue Littler, Partnership Quality Lead at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “I’d like to congratulate the whole team who work so hard to make the Macmillan Cancer Support Centre in Weston such a special place to be for local people and their families.

"To have achieved a perfect score is testimony to the commitment and passion of all involved. It is great achievement and very well deserved.”

To achieve the MQEM award, centres have to score highly in areas such as use of space, comfort and atmosphere, personal and social interaction and health and wellbeing.

WAHT chairman, Grahame Paine, said: “Providing the best possible support we can for our patients and their families is important to every member of our team, yet receiving such an award from Macmillan Cancer Support acknowledges the special effort that Emma and her team have made to be the best that there is.

"I am very proud to receive such recognition within our Trust.”

The Macmillan Cancer Support Centre is located on the first floor of Weston General Hospital (opposite Sandford Ward) and is open Monday to Friday 9.00am – 4.00pm (except bank holidays).