On Wednesday 25th May SCARS founder Tracy White delivered the commitee's Annual Report at The Annual Stalbridge Town Meeting.
"What great news it is to finally be able to come together as a community once again to get an update on the wonderful work undertaken by the groups in Stalbridge after such a long time apart during the pandemic. "
SCARS managed to meet on the last Monday of both January and February 2020 in our new location at The Annexe, Stalbridge Village Hall and it was wonderful to welcome our members back after the Christmas break with new members joining us. Little did we know that life was going to change so dramatically in March 2020 but once the lockdown was confirmed our March meeting had to be cancelled and at that time the Committee did not really have any idea on how we would continue going forward not only with the vital support of our current members and of course people who may need support after a diagnosis during these unprecedented times.
Thankfully, a wonderful member who had been with SCARS from our formation in 2014 set up Zoom on his computer which allowed us to all meet on our usual meeting date as an evening meeting of only 45 minutes as this meant we did not need to use funds as this could was free of charge. The meetings went well albeit strange at the beginning however it was vital to keep the link with each other as many of us are vulnerable (myself included) and as such were shielded and had to stay in our homes for months on end and this was the only contact with the outside world. Not all our members joined us on Zoom as some did not have the facilities to do so as well as some who found it too uncomfortable which is of course understandable.
SCARS decided to hold the first face to face meeting in September 2021 but sadly it was not well supported as we had lost some of our members very sadly during the pandemic to their cancer and of course we could not go and say a final farewell to them and pay our respects due to the pandemic, also members still felt a degree of fear and reluctance to be around other people due to their vulnerability. The Committee therefore had to make the decision to leave meeting again face to face until January 2022, but we continued with the Zoom meetings up to December 2021 which was wonderful for us all.
Since the first meeting in January this year SCARS has been growing slowly with new faces joining us for the vital peer support that is so necessary for those who have been left to struggle alone after getting a diagnosis and having to go through treatment alone throughout the pandemic.
The need to talk to others who have a clear understanding of the fear and emotions of a cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as the support of likeminded people can make such a difference to the mental health of anyone at what is one of the worst times of your life, as well as the isolation and loneliness.
Another tremendous success for SCARS since the start of 2022 is the wonderful growth of our vital work with a new SCARS group being set up and now running in Sherborne. The meeting is on the third Monday of every month (except bank holidays) in the Communal Room, Manor Court, Sherborne, DT9 3JH between 2-4pm.
Having met Roger Marsh of the Chairperson of the Patient Participation Group of The Grove Surgery in Sherborne at a Networking event through Dorset Community Action in 2019 a discussion took place with Tracy White about the potential of a cancer support group with the surgeries in Sherborne as it was apparent this needed. Further discussions took place until the pandemic took over in 2020 putting the matter to one side until we could resume discussions face to face.
Tracy White received contact again in early January 2022 to further discuss this matter further with a meeting arranged with Tracy White, June Harman and Lyn Robinson in early February in Sherborne. Agreement came for SCARS to hold the drop in with the group having recognition around the local area. It was at this point that the SCARS Committee made the decision hold a ‘drop in’ rather than a ‘meeting’ and this has proved to be a success in both Stalbridge and Sherborne. The second drop in at Sherborne sadly fell during Easter therefore not well supported but we have just had our third meeting on Monday 16th May and we welcomed fresh faces as well those who had visited before, and much laughter was had by all as well as a lovely cuppa and biscuits with new friendships being made.
As had been the case for all groups over the pandemic vital funds have diminished with no events, this has had an enormous impact on everyone. SCARS have now decided three events in 2022, one of which will be an Afternoon Tea in July. Full details of this event will be available at the right time along with details of our other events, it will be wonderful to get to see people again and to raise vitally needed funds to support cancer sufferers and/or their families with travel expenses, days out etc.
Although no real expenditure during 2020/2021 our accounts are fully up to date for 2019 onwards and audited and available for viewing should anyone wish to view, please do not hesitate to contact us.
A grant was made by Macmillan in February 2022 for SCARS to have a new website built and this was undertaken by John Fieldhouse of Fieldhouse Design & Print along with fresh marketing material and we are extremely grateful for his work and the wonderful website and printing materials he supplied. John is also hosting our site and will continue to do so as we feel it is important to provide business locally.
The new website address for SCARS is https://www.scarscancerandrecoverysupport.co.uk and new A4 & A3 laminated posters are available should you wish to display one (also supplied for the annual meeting).
SCARS (Stalbridge Cancer & Recovery Support)