MINISTER for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill officially launched the Community Wellbeing programme, delivered by Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and LiLAC Cancer Support through their Better Together partnership.
The programme delivers a range of free cancer support and prevention services to over 2,000 people every year in Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt district council areas as well as Fermanagh. The services include health checks and health awareness sessions that will empower people to make healthy lifestyle choices. The programme also offers one-to-one and group support for people with a cancer diagnosis, family support services and bereavement support.
Minister O’Neill said many families have been affected by cancer and reach out to organisations such as Cancer Focus and LiLAC for support.
“This is why I am delighted that the Rural Development Programme has been able to provide funding of £150k, which will allow Cancer Focus and LiLAC to provide this innovative Community Wellbeing programme to the rural communities of Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh,” she added.
Gerry McElwee, head of cancer prevention, Cancer Focus, said a unique element of the Community Wellbeing programme is the ‘Keeping Well’ van.
“The mobile unit delivers health checks and cancer awareness sessions directly to schools, workplaces, sports and community groups in rural areas where such services are often hard to access and not readily available. The vehicle was purchased for Cancer Focus by local business RT Autoparts and the services delivered on board are funded by South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD). We’re grateful for all the support received,” he explained.
Margaret Campbell, Chair of LiLAC (Life is for Living After Cancer) added: “We’re delighted that the Community Wellbeing programme is able to reach out and offer support and advice to more people in the local area, in particular, people in areas of rural isolation. Through this partnership we’re actively achieving positive change. We would urge everyone in the community to use these wonderful services, which are all free of charge.”
To find out more information about the Community Wellbeing programme and how to avail of the services on offer, contact the Community Wellbeing Project Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07776 990 443.
This project was part funded by South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD), local delivery agent for Axis 3 of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 by the European Union and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.