A NEW PROJECT begins today (Friday) that is designed to uplift and bring a smile to the faces of cancer patients, their families and caregivers.
SMILE is a collaboration between Milton Keynes Community Foundation, Naturally Tribal Skincare – which produces products made purely from natural ingredients – and The Lewis Foundation, a charity that delivers parcels of gits and support packs to adult cancer patients in hospitals across the Midlands.
The project aims to make a tangible difference in the lives of cancer patients and to put a smile on patients’ faces by engaging them in interactive workshops and providing essential wellbeing kits.
The community foundation’s latest Vital Signs report highlighted the higher rates of death from cancer, circulatory and respiratory diseases in deprived areas of the city and has prompted the launch of MKCF’s Transformation Grant, which will fund the SMILE project for the next 12 months.
It recognises the emotional and financial challenges patients face after a cancer diagnosis. The foundation’s philanthropy manager Peter Bakare said: “We are proud to support The Lewis Foundation’s SMILE project, which aligns with our vision of improving well-being and inclusivity within the Milton Keynes community. The Transformation Grant will enable this initiative to positively impact diverse populations and create meaningful experiences for cancer patients and their caregivers.”
Through MK Community Foundation’s Transformation Grant, participants in the SMILE project will have the opportunity to attend the workshops and receive wellbeing kits free of charge, providing much-needed support and care to those going through cancer treatments.
The first SMILE workshop takes place today, 4pm-6pm, at software giant Aiimi’s office in Central Milton Keynes. The workshop will focus on skincare, a topic that frequently raises questions and calls for solutions from patients and caregivers alike.
The Lewis Foundation’s founder and chief executive Lorraine Lewis said: “Through our work on cancer wards, oncology units and within the community, we hear first-hand about the unmet needs of cancer patients and their carers – stories such as skin concerns, suitable exercise, mental health and more.
“Hearing common themes of this nature meant that we knew we had to do something about it.”
She sought the help of Stony-Stratford-based Naturally Tribal Skincare and founder Shalom Lloyd.
“We identified that the best way to address this was running workshops that would provide everyone with the tools and information they need so they can support themselves in the community – coupled with the opportunity to connect with others in the community, creating further networks of support,” said Lorraine.
“We are excited that, with the funding from Milton Keynes Community Foundation, we will be able to do this.”