A Bradford cancer charity is renewing its appeal for donations to complete the transformation of an old farmhouse into its new counselling and therapy centre.

Cancer Support Bradford & Airedale, based on Smith Lane opposite Bradford Royal Infirmary, has now finished the first phase of redeveloping its Daisy House Farm site, using £5,000 contributed by three local businesses.

To complete the renovations, the charity needs a further £5,000 to fully refurbish the remaining counselling and therapy rooms, where cancer patients and families receive much-needed personal support.

The three companies which made donations towards the first stage of the redevelopment project, AVIVA, Teconnex, and the West Riding Masonic Charity, visited the centre yesterday for a tour of the premises and a first-hand look at where their money was being spent.

Hayley Collis, the charity’s corporate fundraiser, said the refurbishment was entirely dependent on external funding being secured.

“This new building houses the wellbeing arm of the charity, covering our counselling and therapy treatments,” she said. “Face-to-face contact is such an important part of the cancer journey. Being comfortable is vital for the patient to be able to open up and talk to somebody, which is often difficult at first.

“We wanted to make the building as least like a hospital as it could be, without a clinical feel.

“We now have more than 100 referrals a week, and all these people need our support. We can only do this via donations and fundraising activities.

“We do get some statutory funding, but this goes towards direct service delivery, and the amount we receive is diminishing.”

The first phase of the refurbishment was completed over the Christmas and New Year period, but the charity is still looking to decorate, plaster and paint other areas of the old farmhouse to create as relaxing an atmosphere as possible for patients.

“It is very important that we offer a nice homely environment for patients, so they don’t feel as though they are being hospitalised,” said the charity’s director, Linda Howard.

“The counselling and therapy is obviously what the patients come for, but if we can make them feel at ease, it helps take the nerves and uncertainties away.

“Any resources we get go on basic maintenance and health and safety issues within the building, so there is no way we could have developed it without the donations we have received. The contributions have made a huge difference.”

Sarah Wood is wellbeing leader for the charity, co-ordinating sessions in areas such as reflexology, massage, and hypnotherapy, many delivered by a growing team of volunteer therapists.

“This makeover is purely thanks to those organisations who have come forward and donated this money,” she said.

“With their generous contributions, we have been able to fully transform our counselling facilities, such as the Orchid Room. It is absolutely beautiful now, and the kind donations will make a massive difference to the experience of our patients.”

Any organisations interested in making a donation to the refurbishment project should ring 01274 202226 or visit www.bradfordcancersupport.co.uk.

'Why our donations are so important'

The three companies which contributed a total of £5,000 to the first phase of the Daisy House Farm refurbishment project visited the site yesterday to see their donations in action.
Diane Chapman, Corporate Responsibility Manager at AVIVA, praised the atmosphere and decor of the new counselling rooms, saying they would benefit the patients accessing services at the centre.
“We had some staff who used the facility and said they how much it helped them during a very difficult time,” she said. “Cancer is a very real issue for a lot of people within the company, so we were delighted to get involved.”
Tony and Wendy Hughes, of the Freemasons’ Priory Lodge in Bingley, said the group had made its donation to support the crucial voluntary work done by the cancer charity.
“This project doesn’t focus on the medical side of cancer, which already receives a lot of charitable support, it works on the emotional issues, which are very important,” said Mr Hughes.
“Being a patient must be a very stressful experience, and anything that can be done to reduce that stress is worthwhile. The staff here are so involved in the services they offer, you can see how dedicated they are.”
Mick Green, a technician at manufacturing company Teconnex, said the Keighley-based firm was committed to supporting local charities.
“This is a very worthwhile charity and you can clearly see the differences since we last visited the building,” he said. “You can feel the difference in atmosphere too, and I’m sure the changes will be hugely appreciated by patients.”

Centre's history

Cancer Support Bradford & Airedale was originally established as a cancer support centre in 1988 to provide a counselling service to individuals and families affected by the disease.
Last year, more than 3,500 people across the district accessed its services, which alongside therapy and counselling treatments, include detailed information on different forms of cancer, welfare rights advice, help with transport, and support with any medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, that may be causing anxiety for patients.
Original renovations to Daisy Farm, which was formerly part of the renal unit at BRI, began in January 2008, funded by the charity’s Daisy Appeal, with the charity moving into its new home in September that year.
This year’s work is the first refurbishment of the building since that date, providing a “vital facelift” for patients visiting the centre.