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by SusieQ

Cancer Support Specialist's View
28 June 2016 at 12:21

A visit to Maggie's Manchester

Maggie’s Manchester – new yet familiar…

I recently spent two days working at Maggie’s Manchester – and found the whole experience to be reinvigorating. It reminded me that Maggie’s Centres really succeed at what our core philosophy is - being here for anyone with any type of cancer and their families and friends, offering the practical, emotional and social support that people with cancer need....

Maggie’s Manchester is our newest centre to open, (26th, April, 2016) and as with our other centres, has the unique architectural features, space, light and feeling of welcome that helps underpin the work we do. Designed by Norman Foster and Partners (who I know of through the iconic ‘Gherkin’ in London) – it emanates tranquillity. As the Maggie’s website describes it - ‘Set in a peaceful garden, the existing green spaces inspired the Centre’s design, which draws upon natural themes that engage the outdoors’.

What hit me most forcefully, on entering the building, was the delicious smell of toast and coffee… underpinned by a fragrant smell of wood – a timber lattice work which supports the building, and is very tactile. It felt like a cross between a Scandinavian lodge and a cathedral – and my eyes were drawn to the great modern fireplaces, the garden and glasshouse, nooks and crannies for people to sit and relax – and the hub of the centre, the kitchen, and kitchen table.

Sinead, the Centre Head and her team were very welcoming – a relief, as even as a seasoned cancer support specialist, I still get butterflies on a ‘first day’. Built in the grounds of the Christie Hospital, the new centre serves a large population of people affected by cancer. I met many wonderful people on those two days, many reflecting the range of cancers, treatments and clinical trials undertaken at this renowned cancer hospital.

Most were struck by the sense of peace and calm, and the beautiful garden and intimate spaces – and after a couple of incidences where I accidently guided people into broom cupboards instead of the toilets, I soon felt part of the place (and proud of what it is already achieving).

There will soon be courses and workshops held there, and the centre already has a buzz to it – reflecting the personalities of the staff and the people sharing the space. I felt at ease, and able to be spend the time getting to know people, and listen to what was happening for them, in their lives. I learned how we might fit in, offering an oasis of calm midst the cancer whirlwind.

So now I’m back online – enjoying my role as before, but with a new enthusiasm for what we’re all about…

Warm wishes


Registered Office: Maggie's, The Stables, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU   Registered Charity Number: SC024414
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