Accessing support during the festive season

6 minute read time.
Accessing support during the festive season

This blog includes information about the support you can access over the festive season. This time of year, there are many celebrations taking place and it’s often a chance to spend quality time with our loved ones.

If you need a break from the festivities or are struggling with your emotions, we are here to support you. With a lot of support services closing for the holidays, we want to make sure you know how to access cancer support when you need it.

Support from Macmillan

The Macmillan Support Line will operate standard opening hours during the festive period of 8am to 8pm, except on UK Bank Holidays (25 & 26 December 2023, and 1st January 2024) when some services will be unavailable. The list below has the opening times for each Support Line team.

  • Cancer Information Nurse Specialists: 8am – 8pm every day
  • Cancer Information Support Team: 8am – 8pm every day
  • Welfare Rights: 8am – 8pm weekdays, 9am – 5pm weekends, closed Christmas Day
  • Energy Advice: 8am – 6pm weekdays, closed weekends and Bank Holidays
  • Financial Guidance: 8am – 6pm weekdays, closed weekends and Bank Holidays
  • Work Support: 8am – 6pm weekdays, closed weekends and Bank Holidays

To get in touch please call 0808 808 00 00, send an email or use live webchat, every day from 8am to 8pm. There’s more information on the Macmillan website about Accessible support options such as Text relay, BSL support, and getting in touch from overseas.

Support from a medical professional

Health professionals are still here to support you. You can make an emergency appointment with your GP if you need help. If it’s outside your GP hours or you can’t make contact with them, you can contact the following services 24 hours a day, every day.

24-hour helplines and webchat services

If you would like to talk to someone right now, there are services available who can help.

  • Shout Crisis Textline - If you need immediate support, you can text SHOUT to 85258 and talk to a trained volunteer. The service is free on most networks in the UK and available 24 hours a day.

  • The Samaritans helpline – You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day for free on 116 123. They are also piloting a new webchat service.

Support from the Online Community

During this time of year, there are lots of pressures and expectations to be ‘festive’ and full of joy. This can cause many people to feel like they cannot be honest about how they feel, especially if you are struggling with your emotions or side effects of cancer treatment.

The Online Community is a safe and supportive space for you to get support. Whether you’re going through cancer treatment, coping with a cancer diagnosis, side effects or recovery, supporting a loved one or coping with bereavement, we’re here for you. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day last year, here are some of the conversations that members had here on the site:

If you need some company, want to talk about how you are coping or need a place to get support, log in and post in the Community groups. The Community is here for you 24/7 and is a safe space for you to talk about your personal cancer experiences.

The Online Community team wishes you all the best for the new year and hopes that you find some rest and peace this festive season. We hope the Online Community can be a comforting source of support over the next few weeks and if you need any help using the site, please do get in touch.

You may also want to take a look at the following:

  • I am recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, I went to the usual Christmas party last night but had to leave because people ignored me because they don’t know what to say, it was like I was the cancer and the person they knew was no longer there 

  • Sorry this happened to you.  I know some people don't know what to say but others know just the right things and give me a hug. I concentrate on the good reactions and try and forget the less positive ones.  I always talk about my cancer because the more people get used to the idea it's happening, the quicker they will get used to it and it will be less of an issue.  I also deliberately try to tell people the funny things to make it into an anecdote.  But if it feels wrong I am quiet. The most helpful advice was from a friend who has recovered from bladder cancer. He said in a year's time you will hopefully forget you ever had the op.  I hang into this advice during my recovery which are the moment feels slow and painful.  I recommend watching Paddington if you need a good belly laugh and it doesn't hurt too much!

  • Thank you, I hope your recovery continues well x