Launch of new mesothelioma support group for Cumbria and Lancashire

Receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma is undoubtedly one of the most heart-breaking things a patient can hear. Though mesothelioma is responsible for around 2,500 deaths per year, it is still for most people a relatively unknown cancer.

It is vitally important for patients to have access to support from professionals such as the expert Mesothelioma UK lung cancer nurses, advice on benefits and compensation and the support of other people in a similar situation to themselves. The support provided by asbestos disease support groups is invaluable in helping patients through what can be an incredibly difficult time.

Cumbria and Lancashire Asbestos Support Advice Group

It is wonderful to see a new advice centre for asbestos victims in Cumbria and Lancashire, CLASAG (Cumbria and Lancashire Asbestos Support Advice Group) which was launched on 21 January 2019.

Barrow-in-Furness is considered to be one of the areas in the UK where Mesothelioma deaths are higher than the national average and is therefore considered an area with significant numbers of Mesothelioma victims.

Barrow is no stranger to asbestos support. A support group was originally set up in 2006 by Bob Pointer. Bob volunteered in 2004 to take over as the Secretary of Barrow Trades Council with asbestos being his prime focus, as he considered that it was a serious local issue. He attended an asbestos seminar at the Abbey House Hotel which led him to network and later attend a union conference on the issue of asbestos. He became involved in two public meetings and launched the Barrow Asbestos Related Diseases Support Group (BARDS) in 2006 on the first ever Action Mesothelioma Day. BARDS was founded by Dr Helen Clayson and others. The support group later changed its name to CARDS (Cumbria Asbestos Related Disease Support). 

In an effort to re-organise the group and provide as much support as possible to those with Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in the local area, the Asbestos Forum UK and Mesothelioma UK assisted Bob to re-organise the group and the Blackpool-based charity Disability First stepped in to support and run the group. The result is the newly created CLASAG, which replaces CARDS.Having provided support for asbestos victims for over a decade, Bob will now be taking a step back and retiring from his involvement with the support group. At the launch of  CLASAG, Bob gave an emotional speech. Taking a step back from the support group is a significant decision for Bob who has been heavily involved in the support of asbestos victims in Cumbria and Lancashire for over a decade. 

The launch was supported by Mesothelioma UK, the UKs leading mesothelioma charity. Lorraine Creech, a specialist Mesothelioma UK lung cancer nurse spoke about the work of Mesothelioma UK.  Speeches were also given by Graham Dring from the Asbestos Forum UK and Rachel Minshull of Cancer Care. 

Asbestos support groups are invaluable to the communities they serve. CLASAG will be run by Disability First and will hold meetings on the third Monday of every month at the Barrow and District Disability Association. The support group will provide advice about welfare benefits and compensation at meetings and also through its home visiting service.

Local asbestos disease support groups

There are a number of asbestos disease support groups across the UK. It is wonderful to see those running the support groups dedicating so much time and energy to the asbestos cause. It is thanks to people like Bob that the dangers and knowledge of asbestos is more prevalent in the minds of the general public. It is so important for those with Mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases to have a community to fall back on

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

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