New befriending service launched for patients and families

Feb 2023 cancer wellbeing befriending service.jpg
Published 8.3.2023

People affected by cancer and other life limiting illnesses can now benefit from additional support thanks to a new incentive.

Developed by Peterborough’s Cancer Wellbeing Service, the new befriending service is available to patients as well as their families and friends.

The Cancer Wellbeing Service offers a range of support talking therapies, complementary therapies, lifestyle and welfare advice, arts and craft classes or just a comforting and welcoming place for a cup of tea and a chat for people affected by cancer.

Based at The Robert Horrell Macmillan Centre at Peterborough City Hospital, the service has been providing various forms of support to people with a range of life limiting illnesses for nearly 30 years.

The Wellbeing Team has spent many months training volunteers to become ‘befrienders’, as well as working with colleagues in the Trust and in the local community (including the mental health service chaplaincy, palliative care team, community cancer nurses and holistic needs assessment workers) to develop and launch the new service.

Kate Durban, Macmillan Cancer Wellbeing Specialist Nurse said: “We are really excited to be able to extend the offer of befriender support not only to those affected by cancer, but also to people affected by other long-term life limiting illnesses who are under the care of the Palliative Care teams within the trust hospitals and the community in Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke.”

“The Cancer Wellbeing Service and Palliative Care Teams at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust already offer a range of support to their clients, but we recognise that there are some people that would benefit from a period of additional emotional support.”

“Some of our clients may be looking for extra support when it comes to living with or beyond the impact of cancer or other illness and maximising their quality of life. Living with illness or after treatment can be a lonely and isolating experience.

“Volunteers may be able to help support people as they adapt to living with the impact of illness and encourage them as they develop confidence in their own abilities and skills. They can provide a reassuring listening ear. Befriending sessions can take place in person at the Wellbeing Service, via video or on the telephone.”

Anyone interested can approach directly by phone or email. A staff member will then have a chat before allocating a befriender if appropriate or offering other support.

The Cancer Wellbeing Service can be reached on 01733 678570 or via email

Peterborough City Hospital, Rutland and Stamford Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon are all served by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.

Pic cap: The new befriending service at Peterborough’s Cancer Wellbeing Service has been launched to provide additional support to people affected by cancer and life limiting illnesses.

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