Behind the blue door of Howard House, 23 Union Street is not only a warm welcome for people living with cancer, their families and carers but a calm environment with people who have time to listen.
For those coming to Cherry Lodge we offer them something important: the belief that everyone, whose life is affected by cancer, has the right to the best support and information throughout their cancer journey.
Cherry Lodges works in partnership with hospitals and community healthcare services, understanding that it is not just about the times at hospital, important as they are, but also about quality of life.
Cherry Lodge offers much needed additional help; information, support or complementary therapies. Our services are led by two Macmillan Cancer Information Nurses and are available free of charge.
The majority of therapies, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, reflexology, reiki healing and counselling are based in Howard House; we can often arrange home visits when people are unable to come to us.
There are weekly drop-ins and twice monthly evening drop-ins; people can speak to a nurse, enjoy a tea or coffee, receive a short therapy and share their experiences. Group activities include a singing group, an art group and exercise classes. There are also support groups for people with lymphoma, ovarian, prostate and bladder cancer
One of our Macmillan Nurses runs our outreach service, providing one-to-one confidential advice regarding cancer and other healthcare issues in various community centres throughout the borough.
We now have some 1,500 active members and if not for our wonderful group of more than 150 volunteers, we certainly would not be able to help and support so many people. We have two charity shops, Barnet and Borehamwood, hold our own fundraising and networking events and support third party events.
What do our members think of us: “An Oasis of Love”, “Friendly and Unthreatening”, “Wonderful for one’s sanity”, “Understanding and Full of Warmth”, and “A great healer for cancer patients”.
It has not always been an easy journey. Our charity was founded in 1988, when palliative care was in its infancy. Initially it was all about providing such care, starting with a very successful symptom-control support team at Barnet Hospital, it was soon realised that we needed to extend our work to supporting people with cancer all the way through their cancer journey.
Our first Information and Support Centre opened in May 1988 in a Portakabin at Barnet Hospital. An important milestone was reached in 2003 with the arrival of our 1000th new member. The following year we had to leave the Barnet Hospital site but were fortunate in finding our current building in Union Street.
No charity can stand still, so should anyone reading this article have new ideas whether it is to raise funds, offer new networking opportunities, or to volunteer, we would love to hear from you.
To know more or to offer support, please go to our website, www.cherrylodgecancercare.org.uk, or you can always telephone 020 8441 7000 and we will more than happy to talk about the work we do and our hopes for the future.