South West Water grant helps cancer charity get walking group off the ground again

Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support Nordic walkingPEOPLE with cancer have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic; treatments have been delayed and they have been unable to see family and friends for support.

Now, Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support has received new funding from South West Water which is enabling it to re-launch its Nordic walking group providing vital support for its members within the Dorset countryside.

Axminister and Lyme Cancer Support is incredibly well-regarded and has been leant on more than ever by the local community recently, with members increasing by more than 245% from 57 to 197.

It focuses on offering both physical and mental support for those who are undergoing cancer treatments as well as their families and friends.

The charity, which is usually reliant on fundraising events or grants, has undoubtedly felt the effects of the pandemic.

The increase in clients is partly due to similar organisations being unable to provide the necessary level of assistance and Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support priding itself on never turning away someone in need.

This organisation has had to adapt to the changing circumstances over the last year and has increased the number of trained volunteers who can provide guidance on cancer related matters or act as a telephone buddy for a cancer sufferer or a grieving spouse.

The funding from South West Water is being used to purchase Nordic walking poles for the group. This is an initiative which has been introduced in line with the government’s roadmap for cancer survivors to stay active through a gentle workout.

This group is set to provide a fortnightly opportunity to meet with those who share the trauma and the experience of such a horrific illness and is already hugely valued by the members thanks to the water provider’s financial support.

Heather Burnett, grant co-ordinator of Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support, who heard of the Neighbourhood Fund through the local council, said of the scheme: “This last year has been incredibly hard for us; we have had a huge increase in members but our income has swiftly decreased.

“South West Water’s funding has enabled us to buy new Nordic walking poles which will be used frequently as our members get out and talk to each other through a shared hobby.

“We have already seen first-hand the emotional impact of this funding on the participants. Thank you very much to South West Water for this much-needed and fantastic help.”

Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support is run by well-trained volunteers and led by a board who have all experienced the effects of cancer, including two locally-renowned GPs.

The group provides a much-valued service including providing therapists within 24 hours to those who have received terminal diagnoses as well as the sending out of crafts, books and jigsaws to those who have felt isolated and lonely.

Jo Ecroyd, South West Water customer service director, commented: “The pandemic has put everyone’s life on hold but unfortunately people have still received such a hard diagnosis to come to terms with.

“Axminister and Lyme Cancer Support has shown incredible resilience and support for its members over the last year and we are pleased to contribute towards the walking poles with the hope that survivors will value the opportunity to share their experiences.”

South West Water is giving back to the region it works within and cares about by actively improving the lives of its people and the places they love for generations to come.

The pandemic has emphasised the importance of local communities and South West Water is investing in supporting people across Devon and Cornwall to build back and connect communities.

The South West Water Neighbourhood Fund is making a tangible difference to the lives of people living in Devon and Cornwall.

South West Water is making this investment to better the lives of local people through funding projects which protect nature and the environment for the benefit of community health and well-being; provide new opportunities for people to learn and develop; bring communities together, virtually or physically – when safe to do so; and/or support the upkeep of local neighbourhood centres and facilities to keep communities strong.

To find out more about the South West Water Neighbourhood Fund, visit

For more details about Axminster and Lyme Cancer Support, visit

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