Coffee money helps Midlothian people hit by cancer

Macmillan coffee morning at Fairfield House 2014 L-R: Gary Copland - Community Access Team Manger, Nicole Bethune ' Senior Welfare Rights Office, Tracey Ross (green t-shirt), Ben Forsyth -Welfare Rights Officer and Mary Asante ' Social Worker
Macmillan coffee morning at Fairfield House 2014 L-R: Gary Copland - Community Access Team Manger, Nicole Bethune ' Senior Welfare Rights Office, Tracey Ross (green t-shirt), Ben Forsyth -Welfare Rights Officer and Mary Asante ' Social Worker

With the 25th annual Macmillian Cancer Research coffee morning taking place tomorrow we spoke to one of the staff part-funded by the event.

Tracey Ross (42), is currently supporting around 250 cancer patients and their families in Midlothian as part of the council’s welfare team, dealing with all age groups from birth onwards and at all stages of their cancer journey including end of life. Her role is funded by Midlothian Council, MacmIllan Cancer Research and Marks and Spencer.

She said: “Primarily it’s to help those effected by cancer claim the benefits they are entitled to. As you know, the benefits system is an absolute nightmare to navigate around and people don’t know where to start sometimes.

“The forms are very complicated and can be 15-20 pages longs. We take that stress away from them.

“When people get a cancer diagnosis it happens so quickly. They could be at work one Friday, then off for weeks.

“After finding out, the biggest worry becomes finance.

“That’s when Macmillan and the Scottish Government get together to set this up to help people in this situation.

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate and it can hit at any age.

“People need support. We can do quick referrals, whether it be in social work or for fuel poverty. All those different things. We can assess things quite quickly.”

Tracey revealed why she enjoys her work so much.

She said: “It’s quite hard sometimes to put it into words. It’s just nice being able to help people at a difficult time in their lives. I don’t do it to get the ‘oh you’re doing a great job’.It’s just something I’m passionate about, just helping people out.”