A CAITHNESS centre which supports people with cancer reaches a milestone next week.
The North Highland Cancer Information and Support Centre (NHCISC) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, it is holding an open day at its premises at 5A High Street in Thurso next Saturday.
It was officially opened on May 26, 2008, by the then local MP John Thurso.
Centre chairwoman Jennifer Ironside said: “It is hard to believe that we are approaching our 10th birthday but preparations are well under way to celebrate this milestone.
“We are looking forward to welcoming all those that have had any connection with the centre over the past 10 years. We also would like to welcome those that have never been in the centre to have a look around and learn more about the work that we do and what we to offer.”
The centre provides support for people affected by cancer, including their carers, family and close friends.
“It was established by a small steering group who had all had cancer and understood the importance of being able to talk about their cancer to someone who could empathise with them. Our job as volunteers is to lend a listening ear, and although we do not give advice we do offer a wide range of information in booklet form on all types of cancers as well as signpost people to other services they may require.
“We are funded by donations from our generous local community and our own fundraising efforts throughout the year.”
The centre has gone from strength to strength in the past 10 years and is used by around 150 people a month. The service is free and confidential.
It is open on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and as well as support offers a range of activities, including arts and crafts, a health choir on Tuesday afternoons and a summer day trip.
In 2012 the centre received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark which is awarded to care facilities of a high standard.
“We are proud of the work that is done in the centre and the service we provide,” Mrs Ironside said.
One of those who attend the centre said: “I have got to know a lot of people since I started going two and a half years ago and it helped get my confidence back. Just chatting and having a laugh does you good.”
Another said: “It’s a wonderful homely place run by dedicated volunteers who immediately make you feel so welcome, safe and supported... What more could we ask for? And more importantly where would we be without the centre?”
Refreshments will be served throughout the open day and a full programme of live music will be provided by Caithness Big Band, piper Chloe Banks, pianists Niamh Fraser and Fara Donald, accordionist Catherine Mackenzie and the Community Health Choir.
There also will be a silent auction for two items of work donated by local artists, Mark Sutton and Frank Begg.