SWANSEA Building Society has announced that Maggie’s Swansea will be its official charity for 2022, following a vote by its staff.

Cancer support charity, Maggie’s, was founded by Maggie Keswick Jencks following her own experience of having cancer. During her diagnosis and treatment, Maggie felt that it was as hard on her family as it was on her, so she set about creating a new type of support: a centre that could make the experience of cancer more manageable for everyone involved.

The original Maggie’s was opened in Edinburgh in 1996, shortly after Maggie passed away, and the charity now has a network of centres across the UK – including Swansea – and overseas.

Maggie’s centres work in collaboration with the conventional cancer therapies given by health service providers, and exist as a caring environment to provide support, information and practical advice to cancer patients and their families.

This support includes help with financial concerns, benefits advice, advice about treatment decisions, and how to access other cancer services. Maggie’s centres also allow those diagnosed with cancer, and their families, to meet and speak to people who understand what they are going through.

Maggie Keswick Jencks’ aim for the charity was to support those diagnosed with cancer so that they would, in her words: “not lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”. Her idea was to bring people together in a calm and friendly space that would help them to find comfort in the experiences of others.

The staff at Swansea Building Society have already started formulating their fundraising plans for the charity and aim to raise a significant sum throughout the year. The first fundraising event will take place on March 29, where staff will be offering refreshments to customers in exchange for a small donation. They will also be raffling an Easter hamper full of Easter goodies.

Other planned events include a sponsored Mutt Strutt in April, a Dip-a-Day (open water swimming) in May, and the building society has four staff members taking part in the Swansea Half Marathon in July.

There will also be an organised ‘Firewalk’ for the more adventurous, as well as a summer barbecue in July. The society will also be hosting tables at the Annual Ball and Ladies Charity Lunch in October and November, and they hope to round the year’s fundraising off with a Christmas Carol Concert in December.

Alun Williams, Chief Executive at Swansea Building Society, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce Maggie’s Swansea as our official staff charity for 2022. The pandemic has been particularly hard on the charitable sector, as well as on those forced to self-isolate due to serious health concerns like cancer. This is an illness that touches so many people during their lives, either personally or through the diagnosis of a loved one.

“The work that Maggie’s does to support those battling the disease, and their families, is vital in allowing them to continue to live life to the full despite the diagnosis, and to gain the support they need – be it financial advice, treatment options, or just a cup of tea with someone who understands what they are going through. We hope to be able to raise considerable funds throughout 2022 to help it continue this important work.”

Lucia Osmond, Centre Fundraising Manager at Maggie’s, said: “We are delighted that Swansea Building Society has chosen Maggie’s as their charity of the year. Maggie’s provides free cancer support to anyone affected by cancer. Since the start of the pandemic people are needing our support more than ever due to increased pressure on the NHS and consequently delayed diagnoses; the emotional challenges have increased for many of our centre visitors.

“As an independent charity, Maggie’s doesn’t receive money from the Government, so support from the local business community is hugely appreciated and we are very much looking forward to working with Swansea Building Society throughout this year.”