Charity Awards 2024

Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Centres Trust

Building and running cancer support centres on NHS sites

Since opening its first cancer caring centre in 1996, Maggie’s has now expanded to 24 centres across the UK.

Credit: Hufton and Crow

Maggie’s provides advice and support to people with cancer, and their family and friends, on areas such as claiming benefits, returning to work, and dealing with the emotional and psychological effects of a diagnosis. Each centre is created by top-flight architects, interior and landscape designers to deliver a calm, welcoming, inviting environment.

In 2019, the charity opened three new sites in Leeds, Cardiff and at the Royal Marsden in Surrey. Including construction costs, these three new centres cost £14m and will allow for an additional 50,000 visits each year. In addition, it started the construction of new centres in Southampton and Merseyside which were completed after pauses due to the pandemic in 2020.

The charity also expanded its provision in Edinburgh by adding a new drop-in centre and a second group room for peer support sessions and group workshops. Within Scotland, Maggie’s has already met its goal of operating a centre at each major cancer hospital.

All of its purpose-built centres are on NHS grounds, with the ground being provided free or at a low rent.

Maggie’s partners with other cancer-specific charities and organisations, such as Macmillan, Prostate Cancer UK and Breast Cancer Now, to provide specific information and sessions. It has a long-term relationship with Look Good, Feel Better which provides regular sessions at Maggie’s centres on managing the visible effects of cancer, such as hair loss. And it has recently launched a network of international affiliates that are set up independently but run Maggie’s programmes and are quality-assured by the charity.

Charity Awards judge Martin Edwards described Maggie’s as a “very impressive organisation” delivering “beautifully designed buildings and excellent psychological and information support for patients”.

“They’ve created sanctuaries,” he said. “If one had cancer, this is exactly where one would want to come to terms with it, within their welcoming arms. I think what they do is wonderful.”

OSCR Reg no. SC024414