Shop offering cancer support

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A shop in Belper’s Bridge Street is being used to help fund a drop in centre for people who have lost loved ones or been affected by cancer.

Graham Cox came up with the idea for the facility after six members of his family were struck down by the disease.

The centre will be funded by the proceeds of a store, which will be run using half of the ground floor space.

The rest of the building, opposite the town’s library, will be handed over to the community, with a meeting room, coffee area and kitchen made available for use.

The nearest similar meeting place for people is in Chesterfield and only opens for a few hours each week.

Mr Cox, 57, said: “A lot of people who have been touched by cancer just go for a coffee in Morrisons or look forward to church services when they need somewhere to go and be around people at the moment in Belper.

“But this will be a real sanctuary, where people can meet up.

“You can talk to Macmillan on the phone and they are very good at listening, but sometimes you want people to talk back.”

The shop has already opened for a trial period in December and will officially launch in the second week of January as the Derbyshire Cancer Drop-in Centre.

Mr Cox, who lives in Little Eaton, continued: “I am hoping that we can keep the place going with the money from the shop.

“I have been turned down for grants, but hopefully I can make enough to pay for the running costs. We had a great response when we did open, people are really going along with it. It’s my dream.

“I lost my wife to cancer, six members of my family have been affected by it so I know what it’s like.”

Mr Cox is now looking for donations which he can sell in the shop, which is based inside the former Heritage Kitchens shop.

He added: “We have had everything from 11 clocks to a tailor-made suit donated so far. Anything that people don’t want would be gladly received.”

The centre will be open every day, apart from Mondays.

There will also be Macmillan information available at the shop.

The closest Macmillan Cancer Information Centre is located in Derby.

Services on offer there include self help and support, benefits advice, outreach, look good, feel better and a user group.

You can also call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 0000.

To get in touch with Graham to provide any assistance with the venture phone 07917 623 509.