Thousands of hard-up Londoners with cancer accessed £1m in Macmillan grants


Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support last year gave just over £1 million in hardship grants to 3,300 people with cancer in London to help with the pandemic’s financial impact and the unexpected costs cancer can bring.

Overall in the UK, during 2020, Macmillan gave over £9.2million in hardship grants to pay for people’s home comforts and essentials, such as heating their homes, travel to hospital appointments, bedding and clothing. The charity’s grants are available to anyone living with cancer in London facing financial difficulties, thanks to donations from the public.

Kris Chadwick, 44, from Tooting, South London, was diagnosed with treatable but incurable breast cancer in 2018.

She says: “I tried to work through my treatment but realised after my first round of chemotherapy that I would need to take time off work.

“On top of this I’d had to move from a house share to a flat on my own so my expenses were through the roof.

“I reached out to Macmillan financial support and the wonderful person talked me through some options. They also suggested I apply for a Macmillan grant to help with heating costs and to contribute towards a wig. Just knowing someone cared enough to help made me tear up.

“When the grant was awarded it was such a relief. I’m forever grateful to Macmillan for the emotional and financial help and support they have given me during my late husband and now me – during both our cancer journeys.”

Macmillan grants are means-tested, one-off payments of £350 aimed at helping people living with cancer on low incomes. They can be a huge help especially when many cancer patients are having to shield during the current lockdown by paying for things like a new washing machine or going towards energy bills.

The charity reports that more than a third of people with cancer (39%) are severely financially impacted by their diagnosis. Macmillan expects their grants will continue to be a vital safety net for many and will become more in demand than ever as many families deal with the double blow of a cancer diagnosis and the financial impact of the pandemic. All this at a time when the charity is facing a huge drop in fundraised income due to Covid-19 and donations are needed more than ever before.

The most common reasons people apply for Macmillan grants are: to buy new clothes when their cancer treatment had resulted in body changes; to help pay for higher than normal heating bills from staying at home; travel costs to and from regular hospital appointments, which can mount up significantly during treatment; and bedding In London the highest number of grants were given to people living with breast cancer.