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Cancer charity reopens Kirkwall centre

Face-to-face CLAN support services for those affected by a cancer diagnosis are resuming for the first time since March.

CLAN Cancer Support’s centre in Kirkwall reopened its doors to clients for the first time this week, since closing on March 16, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

CLAN’s centre on Victoria Street will open on Monday and Tuesday, from 10am to 4pm on an appointment-only basis, and clients are asked to book a slot through their website.

The booking system will ensure compliance with social distancing, and several measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of clients. Initially, CLAN will be offering emotional support, and their children and family service, to ensure those affected by a cancer diagnosis can seek the support they need.

Clients will be asked questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms when booking an appointment, and before entering the centre. Enhanced cleaning measures have been put in place, and PPE will be provided to those entering the centre.

Karen Scott, CLAN’s Cancer Support Services area manager, said: “We are delighted to be reopening our doors this week to our clients. We have been hard at work, introducing new safety measures to provide a safe environment for our clients.

“We made the tough decision to close our centres a week ahead of the initial lockdown, to ensure the safety of our clients,  and we quickly pivoted our services to telephone and online support. Since the start of lockdown, our team have provided 1,226 telephone support sessions, 424 counselling sessions, had over 1,000 visits to our online support centre and 511 support sessions for our children and families clients.”

While the online and telephone services have been a great source of support to those dealing with the uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis over the past few months, CLAN has had significant demand from clients for face-to-face contact with their cancer support professionals.

Ms Scott continued: “It has been an incredibly challenging time for people affected by cancer, whether it be the stress of the diagnosis or having to shield over the last few months; that is why we have been striving to get our centres back open as soon as it was safe to do so.

“We recognise how significant face-to-face contact is for our clients and, while we will continue to offer the telephone and online services, it is so important to offer in-person support.

“Face-to-face contact has always been at the heart of CLAN’s support model, and in these challenging times it is more important than ever for us to be here for people, and their loved ones, facing a cancer diagnosis.”

CLAN is encouraging anyone who is facing a cancer diagnosis to book an appointment with their support team today by visiting www.clanhouse.org, emailing orkney@clanhouse.org, or by calling on 873393.