New partnership with cancer charity to help local Polish people

September 2023

We have launched a new partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to improve access to mental health support and cancer care for local Polish communities

West Sussex Mind will be working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, the leading cancer care charity, to help Polish communities in the Arun and Chichester district get mental health support and cancer care.

We have been working with the Polish community in Worthing and Littlehampton for the last 18 months to raise awareness around our mental health support and to help people find the support they need through our dedicated Polish outreach worker. We have now secured funding from Macmillan Cancer Support to extend this into awareness around cancer care for Polish people living in Arun and Chichester.

This outreach project, initially for 12 months, will test new approaches to engage with the Polish community – to help people navigate healthcare services, reduce language barriers and tackle stigma around mental health and finding support. We plan to reach people through Polish places of work and deliver mental health and cancer awareness training sessions – and to create community well-being events with opportunities to talk about mental health and cancer support.

Although the project is initially focused on Polish communities, we hope to extend this to Ukrainian communities in Arun and Chichester through our existing Ukrainian outreach worker.

Kate Scales, West Sussex Mind's acting deputy CEO, said: “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Macmillan to build on our experience working with local Polish communities and to extend this into the arena of cancer care.

"We know that Polish people face barriers to accessing healthcare services, particularly related to understanding our healthcare systems, language and stigma around support. This project aims to reduce these barriers to mental health and cancer support through early intervention, leading to better healthcare outcomes and prevention of serious mental illness or later stage cancer diagnosis.”

Mark Witcomb, Macmillan's engagement lead for Surrey, Sussex and East Berkshire, said: “The large Polish community in West Sussex is facing similar problems accessing cancer and mental health care support, so we are thrilled to be working together with West Sussex Mind on this coordinated approach. People living with cancer need emotional, as well as practical, support - which is another reason West Sussex Mind make such perfect partners.

"By pooling some of our resources, we can act much more efficiently and effectively to break down some of the barriers that exist in accessing services.

"The joint outreach programme in communities and workplaces with Polish people will also enable us to bring our resources directly to where they are needed, including leaflets about cancer in Polish and how to access the translation service on the Macmillan Support Line. This is part of our ambition to ensure everyone living with cancer receives the support they need.”