THE work of a specialist benefits team for cancer patients has been celebrated.
The small Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) team, based in Worthing, helps 84 people a month, offering a unique service to people across West Sussex.
People diagnosed with cancer are given guidance to help lessen the financial burden following diagnosis.
Julie Martin, head of service at Central and South Sussex CAB, explained: “The team concentrates on all the non-medical matters that, if left, can have a detrimental effect.”
The CAB Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service was set up in 2007 and has been funded by the cancer charity ever since.
Lisa Lusk, one of the team of five, said: “A lot of people have never claimed a benefit in their life and suddenly they are ill and don’t know what to do.
“You speak to very distressed people most days but it really does make a difference to people’s lives. That is the best part of the job.”
High Sheriff Jonathan Lucas and his wife, Caroline, joined partners, colleagues and friends for the afternoon tea celebration last Thursday.
He said he had seen similar good examples of partnership working and applauded the project, which is based at Worthing Town Hall, in Chapel Road, Worthing.
Patients who have benefited from the service spoke of the difference the team had made to them.
Jacqui Chipchase from Littlehampton, who has suffered mouth cancer, having watched her husband die from cancer, said: “You feel very isolated. Cancer is very expensive to have. It feels like you have to jump through hoops just to get even a small amount.”
Team members are fully CAB trained but specialise in working with cancer patients.
Ed Quibell, 44, from Worthing, had cancer 25 years ago, at the age of 18. The disease and radiotherapy damaged his stem cells and now it is affecting his hearing and speech.
In September, he had to give up his full-time role as vicar at Hosanna Church, part of the Broadwater parish and based at Worthing High School.
His wife Michelle, said: “We had no idea how to access benefits. The most amazing thing is that they meet with you and fill out all the forms, because you have no idea.”
Contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01903 532234.