Cancer patients and their families in North Lancashire will be able to access a brand-new benefits advice service thanks to a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and Citizen’s Advice.
The partnership offers free and confidential advice about benefit entitlements and other financial support available to anyone affected by cancer.
Macmillan is investing almost £500,000 on the special service, which will be delivered by Citizens Advice partner organisations based in North Lancashire, as well as Rossendale & Hyndburn, Preston, Fylde, Blackpool and Lancashire West.
The service will provide vital support for those facing the double hit of the cost-of-living crisis and a cancer diagnosis, which can have a significant impact on someone’s personal finances, including loss of income due to not being able to work and an increase in costs with frequent travel to hospital.
Lancaster based Phil McGrath, who’s also a presenter on Beyond Radio, is one of the newly funded Macmillan Benefits Advisors based in North Lancashire.
Phil said: “People with cancer shouldn’t have to worry about money on top of everything else.
‘’Money worries can be extremely stressful, and it is well known that stress has an adverse effect on health. I hope our support will mean more people affected by cancer in Lancashire will be able to focus on what is most important, their health and recovery, rather than worrying about their bills.”
The service will offer free, confidential and expert advice to people affected by cancer about benefit entitlements, financial support available to them and wider issues, such as housing debt and work.
It will bring nine new Macmillan Benefits Advisors to Lancashire and will build on existing services to ensure rising demand for welfare benefits advice can be met and help is more easily available no matter where people live in the county.
Research by Macmillan has found that four in five people with cancer experience a financial impact, reaching almost £900 a month on average in addition to their usual outgoings.
Jez Such, Macmillan Partnership Manager for Lancashire, added: “We are living in such hard times at the moment, so easily accessible specialist welfare benefits advice is vital. Working closely with our local partners at Citizens Advice, we are excited to roll out this service across the county, offering benefits advice to more and more people affected by cancer in Lancashire.
‘’Our team of advisers can help people navigate the complicated benefits system and access any other help they might be able to claim.”
Macmillan and Citizen’s Advice are urging anyone in Lancashire who is affected by cancer and worried about their finances to contact the service for advice.