Cancer support centre appeals for volunteers

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A diagnosis of cancer takes its toll on every member of the family but it’s children who particularly struggle.

That’s why a year ago, cancer support hub the Hummingbird Centre opened a dedicated Children’s Centre with the sole aim to devote time to support young people, aged four upwards, from across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

The team works with families and schools, and since opening has supported dozens of young people. But the need for it continues to increase and so the Hummingbird Centre, based in Launton, near Bicester, has launched an appeal for more volunteers. They would like to hear from people who have experience working with young people, including counsellors and art and play therapists.

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Kelly Sawyer, the Children’s Centre Lead, said: “The centre has supported children and their families through the many challenges a cancer diagnosis can bring.”

Childrens Team, left-right - Kirsty Anders, Kelly Sawyer, Rachel MortonChildrens Team, left-right - Kirsty Anders, Kelly Sawyer, Rachel Morton
Childrens Team, left-right - Kirsty Anders, Kelly Sawyer, Rachel Morton

She said young people said the centre “helped me get rid of my scary memories” while parents described it “like a big hug for their children” and “a safe space to go where a child was able to talk about their feelings and emotions”.

Kelly said: “Looking to the future, our aim is to grow and develop on the current service to be able to support more children across a wide age range. That includes offering more counselling and interventions and also group play therapy for children and young people around loss and bereavement.”

The centre currently operates two children’s sessions every Friday; mornings are for children aged four to eight, and the afternoons are for those aged eight plus. Children can also access one-to-one counselling.

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As well as developing the Children’s Service, the Hummingbird Centre would love to hear from anyone who would be interested in volunteering with them, either as a general volunteer or as a member of the complimentary therapy team. They would be delighted to hear from practitioners in

Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Sound Therapy, to Line Dancing and Kick Boxing.

Founder Mechelle Harris said volunteers are the backbone of the centre, but the cost-of-living crisis had had an impact on numbers.

She said: “If you are someone who can make a fairly decent cuppa, have a good listening ear and are willing to have a go at anything then we would love to hear from you. Volunteering is all about wanting to perhaps develop your own passion, dreams or desires, so if you love crafting, admin, meet and greeting people, of just love feeling as though you are doing something good then you are for us.”

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Anyone interested should contact the Hummingbird Centre for an informal chat call 01869 244244, email [email protected] or view

About The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird Centre opened its doors in 2014 after a promise Hummingbird founder Mechelle Harris made to her late father Raymond Hurcombe to create something good out of their loss as a family.

So far, The Hummingbird Centre has supported thousands of people and has become very much part of the community. It relies 100 per cent on donations and volunteers to enable it to operate and every penny raised goes back into the centre.