By ROSALIND GRIFFITHS
A BIG fundraising effort is about to start to boost the coffers of a charity helping cancer sufferers and their loved ones when they go to Aberdeen.
The money is needed for new premises for CLAN House, well-known as the home from home for Shetlanders needing somewhere to stay in Aberdeen, either when having cancer treatment themselves or visiting friends or family who are undergoing treatment. And it is going to need a lot of money – £3 million – which it hopes to raise in two years.
CLAN (Cancer Link Aberdeen and North) has been operating since 1983 in a converted church on a road junction between Berryden Road and Westburn Road. But just over a year ago CLAN announced that it was looking for a new home. It was having to move to make way for a roundabout at the difficult road junction, and in any case needed more space. This would be an opportunity to have larger purpose-built premises.
To this end an ambitious fund-raising programme has been launched. CLAN started its 1,2,3 appeal – one charity, two years, three million pounds – in March. Now the Shetland appeal for support will be launched by convener Sandy Cluness on Monday 28th July to coincide with the 125th Anniversary celebrations of Lerwick Town Hall.
CLAN House incorporates CLAN Haven, which provides bed and breakfast to cancer patients and their loved ones from Shetland, Orkney and north east Scotland, with priority given to islanders and those from remote
But it is far more than a guest house.
CLAN offers a range of support and information services, counselling and complementary therapies to anyone affected by any type of cancer from diagnosis onwards. And such has been the charity’s success that client visits grew from 7,500 in 2003 to 13,481 last year.
CLAN has now found a spot to build the new house and haven, a location that meets all the criteria – close to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and major bus routes, in a peaceful environment, with easy access, and large enough to meet the needs of the next 25 years.
The building which the charity hopes to erect will be able to accommodate nearly double the number of cancer patients, their partners and families.
It will be large enough to house a children’s area, more therapy and counselling rooms, a larger information centre and will have 25 bedrooms, including family rooms, with space to sleep 40. There will also be plenty of parking.
The new centre will be peaceful and bright, and designed to retain the warm, welcoming and caring environment that CLAN has become renowned for and which helps to make difficult times easier.
The overall target for the appeal is £3million, and it is hoped the Shetland appeal will help contribute a substantial donation.
CLAN fundraising manager Susan Crichton recently came to Shetland and met councillors Cecil Smith and Gussie Angus to ask about a possible donation from the council. However Mr Smith thought local people would like to get involved. He said: “I thought the community would like to do more for CLAN through a public appeal, rather than just have a donation from the council.”
Mr Smith then asked Elaine Jamieson to be chairwoman of the fundraising committee, which also includes John Telford as treasurer and George Henderson as committee member.
Ms Crichton said: “We are delighted to have the backing of the Shetland community and cannot thank Cecil and his colleagues enough for organising the public campaign.
The new CLAN house/haven is essential for us to continue to offer support, services and accommodation to anyone affected by cancer.”
Anyone interested in supporting fundraising activities – which could be anything from abseiling to karaoke, a coffee morning or a supper dance – is asked to contact Elaine Jamieson on (01595) 694750, Cecil Smith on (01595) 694875 or George Henderson on (01950) 460 104.