A SERVICE ensuring everyone in Glasgow is only one mile from cancer support is marking its fifth anniversary.

Thanks to 112 volunteers giving 32,000 hours of their time, the Macmillan@ Glasgow Libraries Cancer Information & Support Service has been a city success.

The Evening Times first revealed the service's launch in 2012 - and since then it has grown from strength to strength.

Macmillan’s Head of Services Janice Preston said: “We are delighted to see the tremendous impact this service is having on people affected by cancer in Glasgow.

"The difference it has made to the lives of people affected by cancer in the five years shows how vital and valued this support is.

“We couldn’t provide this service without the all the people who donate and fundraise for us in Glasgow so would also like thank everyone who supports us.

"Every penny really helps to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.”

Macmillan @Glasgow Libraries offers emotional and practical support to people affected by cancer in the city's 33 libraries and Scotstoun Leisure Centre.

A further eight services now operate in West Dunbartonshire and there is a city-wide Outreach Programme that delivers services to hard to reach communities.

Some 16 venues also offer service users a listening ear - the chance to pop in for a cup of tea and talk to trained volunteers about how they are feeling - along with helping send people to a number of other Macmillan funded partner services in Glasgow including physical activity, benefits and financial support and holistic needs assessments.

A further eight library venues house private rooms offering free complementary therapy and counselling appointments, delivered in partnership with Cancer Support Scotland.

More than 12,000 people in the city have visited the service, including Allison Reid, who needed help when her mum was diagnosed with mouth cancer in April 2016.

She was working as a Venue Manager at Parkhead Library at the time and so knew the service was available.

Allison, who now works in Royston Library, said: "It was a huge shock for all of us as she was the first member of our family to be diagnosed with cancer.

"The medical team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital were amazing and mum was given the best treatment and care by them but I really wanted to know as much as I could about the type of cancer she had, the treatment and how it would affect her.

"I just wanted to know how best to look after both my mum and dad."

Allison used the Macmillan service to find out more information about her mum's cancer and about how to help her with special recipes.

She also used the Macmillan Benefits service to help get a blue badge for her mum and access benefits for her parents.

Allison added: "Mum needed a fairly big operation and radiotherapy but despite being 85 years, she got through it amazingly well and was able to quickly say ‘I told you so’ to us all once she was back speaking again - which was pretty quickly being the strong and determined person she is.

"The treatment has left mum with lymphedema in her neck which causes it to swell up and be quite uncomfortable for her so she gets a massage from the complimentary services provided by Cancer Support Scotland at the library.

"Dad goes along with her and chats to the volunteers which gives them both a bit of a break and chance to relax and offload.

"Mum is getting stronger every day now and her smile is very much back in place thanks to all the great treatment and support."

Figures from the five years show that 49 per cent of users were people with cancer while the rest were family, friends and carers.

Some 55 per cent were looking for someone to talk to.

Working in partnership with Cancer Support Scotland the service has provided more than 1200 complementary therapies sessions and 1790 counselling appointments

The service won the 2016 Perfect Partnership Award at the Scottish Charity Awards and has been shortlisted for a Macmillan Excellence Award in November 2017 while the volunteering team has won multiple awards and was recently shortlisted for Scottish Health Awards

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and chairman of Glasgow Life, added: “Sadly, there are thousands of people in our city, like Allison and her family, who are living with the impact of cancer, either directly or through a loved one.

“Thanks to this unique partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, Glasgow Life offers practical and emotional support to help ensure that everyone who is affected by cancer in Glasgow will continue to have access to quality information and someone to talk to in their own community because no one in our city should have to face cancer alone.”

The Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries Cancer Information & Support Services has also provided evidence and support to roll service out similar services across Scotland, including Edinburgh, West Lothian, Argyle & Bute, West Dunbartonshire, Dundee, & Lanarkshire.

To find out more, see www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/macmillan-at-glasgow-libraries or call 0141 287 2999.