Penny Brohn UK

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Up and down the country, there are thousands of people doing good deeds every day, and we decided to celebrate the great work that charities undergo with a regular feature on Tuesdays, to tie-in with #CharityTuesday on Twitter. This week, we caught up with Penny Brohn UK to find out more...

Where are you based and what geographical areas do you support people in?
Our National Centre is based in Bristol and we have five Hubs covering the North, Midlands, London, South Coast and South West of England. We are here for any UK adults.

How do you support people?
With over 36 years’ pioneering experience, Penny Brohn UK understands that cancer impacts every part of a person’s life and the number affected is increasing.

We are the UK’s leading charity offering whole person support, our Bristol Whole Life Approach – focused on the person and family’s mind, body, spirit and emotions, before, during and after treatment.

Our free adult residential and day courses empower people to have more control of their health and wellbeing, to turn a potentially devastating diagnosis into a powerful life-changing experience.

The charity focuses on areas such as diet, exercise and managing stress, through courses, one-to-one therapies, groups, a treatment support clinic and national helpline.

How did the charity come to be founded?
Penny Brohn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979. She underwent treatment, but felt that she needed more than just care and treatment for her body. Penny recognised that her “mind, spirit, emotions, heart and soul” needed equal care. With close friend Pat Pilkington, she set out to provide this for herself and others, and the charity was born.

The duo created The Bristol Cancer Help Centre (now Penny Brohn UK). HRH The Prince of Wales recognised their plight and became patron a while after.

 Pat and Penny

Pat and Penny

How many people do you have working at the charity?
65 FTE employees and, thankfully, hundreds of volunteers, from meet and greeters, and garden volunteers, to graduates and administrators. Without them, we could not function.

How can people support you?
Penny Brohn relies on kind-hearted fundraisers and donations to provide our free services for anyone with cancer and those in a close supporting role.

 Prince Charles giving a speech

Prince Charles giving a speech

Have you faced any challenges along the way?
In the early years, Pat, Penny and the centre was consider beyond the pale, the medical community saw us on the fringes of medicine. Today however, it’s widely recognised, including in the medical community, that our work has great benefits; mind, body, spirits and emotions are closely linked and complement each other; and a person can do many things to support their health and wellbeing, from eating healthy and exercising, to managing stress and examining emotions.

Do you have any charity events coming up and where can people find out about these events?
Adults or close supporters facing cancer can visit our website to discover what we do and how we do it. Courses are free! Anyone wishing to fundraise can also click below to discover the various upcoming activities and events.

You can find out more about Penny Brohn UK at their website or via Facebook and Twitter.