Television presenter and author Kirstie Allsopp, film director Richard Curtis and writer Paul Mayhew-Archer open new Maggie’s Centre in Oxford

Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building brings additional support for people with cancer across Oxfordshire.

Maggie’s, the charity that provides free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer and their family and friends, yesterday celebrated the opening of its new purpose built Centre in the grounds of The Churchill Hospital, Oxford.

A full programme of support has been running from the new Centre since July 2014 and yesterday’s event marks the official opening of the completed Centre. A small interim Maggie’s Centre had been running in the grounds of the hospital since 2006 prior to the completion of the new building.

The event was attended by Maggie’s Chief Executive Laura Lee and officially opened by television presenter and author, Kirstie Allsopp, film director, Richard Curtis and writer Paul Mayhew-Archer, in support of Maggie’s Oxford.

The new Centre has been designed by acclaimed architects Wilkinson Eyre and was developed by Maggie’s working in partnership with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to enhance the cancer care and support already on offer at the hospital. Every year 5,000 people in the region are diagnosed with cancer. As the number of people living with cancer increases, support becomes even more important.

Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building has more space and increased facilities for visitors to access a range of support that Maggie’s offers, including psychological support, benefits advice, nutrition workshops, relaxation and stress management, art therapy, tai chi and yoga.

Laura Lee, Maggie’s Chief Executive said:

“I’m delighted to celebrate the opening of Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building. To watch a Centre come in to being is an incredible journey, one I have been privileged to share with every Maggie’s Centre built so far, but nothing compares to seeing the Centre filled with people benefiting from the support we offer.”

“I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who made this Centre possible. From the team at Wilkinson Eyre who have created a wonderful building that captures the philosophy of Maggie’s, to those at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for finding us the best location near to the oncology unit and of course to all our supporters, especially Mike Thompson, CEO of Childbase Partnerships for making such a generous contribution to the Centre.”

Mike Thompson, principal donor to the Centre and CEO of Childbase Partnerships said:

“I’m honoured to see Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building open and to have my mother’s name incorporated is a wonderful tribute to her memory. My family and I are incredibly proud to have helped in bringing this new Maggie’s Centre to The Churchill Hospital. There is a real need for cancer support for people in Oxford and I know that anyone living with cancer will benefit from the unique support provided by Maggie’s.”

This year Maggie’s is celebrating 18 years of supporting people with cancer and the new Maggie’s Oxford Centre at the Patricia Thompson Building will be the 18th Centre to be opened in 18 years. The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996 and Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building joins 15 other Centres across the UK, an Online Centre and a Centre in Hong Kong.

Kirstie Allsopp, television presenter and author said:

“I feel extremely proud to support the excellent work Maggie’s does and honoured to be involved in the opening of Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building.”

“Cancer is sadly very familiar to my family, I was 17 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and after seeing her journey with the illness I realised the importance and value of having the right support to complement medical treatment. Something my mother believed strongly in. Maggie’s programme of support provides this for people with cancer and their Centres are warm places where you can find answers to questions and meet people who understand what you are going through.”

Catherine Stoddart, Chief Nurse at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust added:

“It’s fantastic to have this valuable service here on the Churchill Hospital site. We know that our patients will continue to benefit from the practical, emotional and social support provided at the Maggie’s Centre, now housed in an amazing new building which we are sure will be well-received by patients and their families.”

Built in the grounds of specialist NHS hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places, with qualified professionals on hand to offer an evidence-based programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.

Maggie’s relies on voluntary donations to support and grow its network of Centres and to develop its unique, high quality programme of support. Our aim is to make the biggest difference we can to people living with cancer, their family and friends.

To find out more about Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building, the programme of support provided, opening hours or to plan your visit or get involved with fundraising visit www.maggiescentres.org/oxford.