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Cancer Connect: Device gifting for people affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney

Cancer Connect: Device gifting for people affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney

A new scheme is underway which sees people affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney gifted a tablet computer that will connect them to medical appointments, cancer information and support networks, as well as enabling them to keep in touch with friends and family.

The Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership cancer team has been working with local partners and Norfolk Libraries and Information Service (NLIS) to identify and support people affected by cancer and who have difficulties accessing the internet.

NLIS has set up ‘wrap-around’ support service to help people get online, this is provided face to face in libraries, by telephone, or, once people have the skill and confidence, online and via video conferencing. The library service offers a tablet with a start-up data package to people affected by cancer through the Cancer Connect Scheme. People are referred by the NHS to be part of the scheme.

Included in the scheme:

  • A tablet device, delivered to your home in a COVID-19 secure manner
  • Access to library support for device set up
  • Access to the internet for a period of time and support to set up your own WIFI account
  • Signposting

Local service user and cancer patient Ann Litchfield has been using the service. She said: “My tablet was sent to Gorleston library for me to collect and a lovely young lady called Vicky who has been so supportive and has given me some lessons on how things work, although I knew most things there were a couple of things she helped me with. Thank you for sorting this out.”

Ann Kingaby has also been using the service and has seen the benefit of being part of it. She said: “I am very grateful to have received my tablet from Cancer Connect and a huge thank you to Kris from Norfolk Library Service who has patiently provided technical support. Because of lockdown and shielding I did feel isolated from my normally busy life. It's nice to be able to join in the TAC (Together Against Cancer) meetings with Teams and to use Zoom for drama group sessions. And I am set up for supermarket deliveries if I need it anytime.

“This project has been a team effort to ensure that local people have not been isolated and have had the help they needed.”

Maggie Tween, Cancer Programme Manager for the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system, said: “Being digitally excluded creates many barriers for people, especially those diagnosed with cancer.

“Gifting a device to someone gives them access to online support and helps them to manage their health and care more conveniently with access to online health appointment bookings, cancer information and much needed support networks. It also enables people to stay connected with friends and family especially during treatment and periods of isolation.

“We are so pleased that through partnership working we have made it possible for cancer patients be able to connect, share stories and feedback.”

Julie Buckenham, Macmillan Cancer Lead Nurse at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “During the pandemic the Together Against Cancer meetings and Cancer Patient Information Sessions continued online using Teams to keep people connected. It was highlighted very early on that some patients didn’t have access to IT that left them feeling isolated and disconnected to the support they would normally have.

“The Cancer Connect project has enabled these patients to be gifted a device, shown how to use it and been given access to further IT support to enable them to use it effectively. Hearing how this has positively impacted these patients lives in so many ways, has been wonderful and heart-warming. It has enabled patients to access information and support when they need it and given them so much more confidence to re-join meetings virtually and access the vast online support that is now available.

“The joy of seeing their faces and seeing first-hand the impact it has had on their lives, has been amazing.”

The scheme is being funded by the Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership.

The local NHS in Norfolk and Waveney continues to remind people with potential cancer symptoms to come forward for life-saving checks. The NHS is open for all of us and if you suspect you might have symptoms of cancer, don’t hesitate to seek advice from your GP. Most symptoms will not be from cancer, but if they are, seeing someone quickly will give you the best chance of diagnosis at an earlier stage when cancers are easier to treat.

Visit Cancer - NHS (www.nhs.uk) symptoms for more information.

To qualify for the scheme individuals need to have had:

  • Have a diagnosis of cancer
  • Be over 18
  • Live in Norfolk and Waveney
  • Having no/limited access to the internet
  • Have no suitable device

For more information and if you think you qualify for this scheme, please call the library on 01603 774777. If you have an email account you can email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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