Green-fingered project for Fylde coast cancer patients

Kerrie Newsham and Jessica Jones

A gardening club is being set up to help people from the Fylde coast who have been affected by cancer.

The joint project with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support, Unique Estate Agency and The Willow Garden Project in Fleetwood will have an open day on Wednesday, September 27, from 10am to 2pm.

All are welcome to go along to the event at The Willow Garden Project which is based at Fleetwood Cricket Club.

The organisers say gardening can have many benefits for physical and mental health. It can help prevent and manage some of the effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue and depression.

Hannah McKearnen, Macmillan Service User Involvement coordinator for the Trust, said: “We are looking for people affected by cancer to attend the open day to give us their thoughts and find out if this is something they would be interested in.”

A polytunnel at The Willow Garden Project in Fleetwood

Kerrie Newsham, Macmillan Cancer Care coordinator for the Trust, said: “We don’t have any general activity-based support groups in our local area.

“Most of the groups that exist are tumour-specific and meet in the Windmill Suite at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for a chat which doesn’t suit everybody.

“By having an activity-based general cancer support group, patients can meet and enjoy an interest that they have in common rather than feeling pressured to talk about their experiences.

“On the open day at The Willow Garden Project we are asking for feedback from all visitors which will help us structure the support group for the future.

Although the group’s focus is gardening and crafts, The Willow Garden workers are willing for patients to bring their own areas of expertise such as photography for possible calendars, IT skills to help with the website or building and structural skills to help with the site’s maintenance.

“We would really like this group to be about the patients and make it into something that they want.”

Jessica Jones, Macmillan Clinical Transformation Lead for the Trust, added: “There is evidence to show that being in a natural environment can have a positive effect on wellbeing, improving mindfulness and reducing stress levels.

Hannah McKearnen, the new Macmillan Service User Involvement Coordinator for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals

“This is an ideal opportunity for people affected by cancer to take part in a creative activity with other people who are going through a similar experience.”

For more information contact Hannah McKearnen on 07879428970 or email

Posted in Compassion, Excellence, Home Page, People Centred, Positive, Press Releases, Values.