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Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support get active thanks to new funding

08th July 2021

People with Cancer have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic; treatments have been delayed and they have been unable to see family and friends for support. Now, Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support has received new funding from our Neighbourhood Fund which is enabling it to kick off its regular Nordic walking group providing vital support for its members within the Dorset countryside.

Axminister and Lyme Cancer Support is incredibly well-regarded and has been leant on more than ever by the local community recently with members increasing by more than 245% from 57 to 197. It focuses on offering both medical and mental support for those who are undergoing Cancer treatments as well as their families and friends.


The club which is usually reliant on fundraising events or grants has undoubtedly felt the effects of the pandemic.  The increase in members is partly due to similar organisations being unable to provide the necessary level of assistance and Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support priding itself on never turning away someone in need. It has pivoted in the last year and increased the numbers of trained volunteers who are capable of handling every situation whether that be the need for a telephone buddy for a survivor dealing with a changed body or some guidance for a grieving spouse.


The funding is being used to purchase Nordic walking poles for the group. This is a new initiative which has been introduced in line with the Government’s roadmap for cancer survivors to stay active through a gentle workout. This group is set to provide a fortnightly opportunity for many to discuss overcoming the trauma and the experience of such a horrific illness with those in a similar situation and is already hugely valued by the members thanks to the water provider’s financial support.


Heather Burnett, grant coordinator of Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support, who heard of the Neighbourhood Fund through the local council, said of the scheme: “This last year has been incredibly hard for us; we have had a huge increase in members but our income has swiftly decreased. South West Water’s funding has enabled us to buy five new Nordic walking poles which will be used frequently as our members get out and talk to each other through a shared hobby. Thank you very much to South West Water for the much-needed and fantastic help.”


Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support is run by well-trained volunteers and led by a board who have all experienced the effects of cancer, including two locally-renowned GPs. The group provides a much-valued service including providing therapists within 24 hours to those who have received terminal diagnoses as well as the sending out of crafts, books and jigsaws to those who have felt isolated and lonely.


Jo Ecroyd, South West Water customer service director, added, “the pandemic has put everyone’s life on hold but unfortunately people have still received such a hard diagnosis to come to terms with. Axminister and Lyme Cancer Support has shown incredible resilience and support for its members over the last year and we are pleased to contribute towards the walking poles with the hope that survivors will value the opportunity to share their experiences.”


We're giving back to the region it works within and cares about by actively improving the lives of its people and the places they love for generations to come. The pandemic has emphasised the importance of local communities and we're investing in supporting people across Devon and Cornwall to build back and connect communities. The Neighbourhood Fund is making a tangible difference to the lives of people living in Devon and Cornwall.


We're making this investment to better the lives of local people through funding projects which protect nature and the environment for the benefit of community health and well-being; provide new opportunities for people to learn and develop; bring communities together, virtually or physically – when safe to do so; and/or support the upkeep of local neighbourhood centres and facilities to keep communities strong.

For further information please contact:

To find out more about the Neighbourhood Fund, visit southwestwater.co.uk/community/support/neighbourhood-fund.