A MACMILLAN Benefits Adviser is telling local people affected by cancer in Northern and Mid Devon to get in touch if they are facing money worries during the deepening cost of living crisis.

June Travers-Wakeford, Macmillan Benefits Adviser for the Torridge, North and Mid Devon area explains how the cost of living crisis is affecting people facing the double hit of rising living costs and a cancer diagnosis.

“The Cost of Living crisis is the final financial straw for many people living with cancer.

“It has been one thing after another since the pandemic – energy bills, inflation, mortgage rate rises and all when people are likely to be facing a drop in income due to their health.

“People are telling me they are petrified about how they will pay their winter heating bills, especially as they tend to be at home more due to their illness.

“Often the impact of cancer treatments can leave you feeling the cold more and throw up other unexpected costs like a special diet or requirement for certain clothing items.

“I am also hearing from more and more people who have been served notices to quit their properties, thus being made homeless.

“I have one client whose landlord has told her she needs to look for somewhere else to live as she is ill and therefore won’t be able to afford the rent, which is not true.

“Many clients don’t realise there is some help available; whether that is by maximising their income with a benefits check; applying for a Macmillan grant; or ensuring they claim for all the energy support available through the government.

“I’d like everyone in Northern and Mid Devon to know that we are here to listen and can help them get everything they are entitled to.”

The Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon Citizens Advice, where June is based, gives free and confidential specialist welfare rights advice to people living with cancer and their families.

They help them to navigate the complex benefits system, apply for grants and with other related issues such as housing, debt and employment.

In 2021 the team helped 313 people unlock £1,847,593 in benefits and other support that they would not otherwise have known about.

National cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support funds Macmillan Benefits Advice services helping families facing financial pressure following a cancer diagnosis across the South West.

The Charity has announced it will pledge £303,638 in continued funding for the service, with £30m overall for welfare benefits services across the UK, to help people affected by cancer tackle the cost of living crisis.

Macmillan says support like its benefits advice services and Macmillan grants are a lifeline with one in four people with cancer in the UK feeling that they just “can’t afford life”.

Macmillan grants are rapid one-off payments of £350 to help pay for cancer-related costs such as heating, travel to hospital or clothing.

The charity has committed £4.3m nationally to ensure Macmillan Grants are available for people living with cancer.

If you are affected by cancer in the Torridge, North and Mid Devon area you can contact the team on 0845 894 9567 or email: [email protected] for free impartial advice.

If outside this area you can search Macmillan Cancer Support and “In Your Area” and enter your postcode to find a service near you.

For further support on the cost of living you can also visit: www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/cost-of-living .

If you are able to, Macmillan is asking people to make a donation to its Emergency Grants Appeal: https://donation.macmillan.org.uk .

Whatever you are able to give will go directly towards funding Macmillan Grants, every pound will be another pound to help someone turn on their heating or to help someone pay their bus fare to the hospital.