M is for Maggie’s Centres: Empowering People With Cancer

The video above gives a short introduction to the centres. Here is some more information from the organisation’s web site. You can discover more at:



Maggie Keswick Jencks was the co-founder, alongside Charles Jencks, of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres. Maggie was a writer, a landscape designer, a painter and a mother of two.

In May 1993, Maggie was told that her breast cancer had recurred and spread to her bones, liver and brain. When asked, her Dumfries oncologist gave her two to three months to live.

By joining a trial involving advanced chemotherapy Maggie extended her life by a further 18 months and it was in this time that her idea for a cancer caring centre was born.

She worked closely with Laura Lee her oncology nurse and was asked to write an article for a medical journal on a patient’s perspective on being treated for cancer.

A View from the Front Line
 gave her the opportunity to work out what it was that she and the many others affected by cancer needed.


She was convinced that everybody would feel better as she did, if they felt able to take some active role in what was happening to them.

She talked to her medical team at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh about a place to help their patients with the very real, if not medical, problems of living with cancer.

She drew up a blueprint and plans for a pioneering venture, in a stable block in the grounds of the hospital.

Maggie died in July 1995. The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in November 1996.

What is Maggie’s?

Maggie’s is about empowering people to live with, through and beyond cancer by bringing together professional help, communities of support and building design to create exceptional centres for cancer care.

Maggie’s Centres are for anyone affected by cancer.


They are places where people are welcome whenever they need us – from just being diagnosed, or undergoing treatment, to post-treatment, recurrence, end of life or in bereavement.

We also welcome family and friends, as they are often deeply affected by cancer too.

We know that those who love and look after someone with cancer can feel just as frightened, vulnerable and uncertain.

Our visitors tell us that the welcome they receive at Maggie’s is what they appreciate the most.

Just walking through our doors puts them at ease.

This is a key part of our pioneering approach that integrates professional help with a community of support in thoughtfully designed centres, a combination that is proving highly effective in alleviating the emotional distress and practical difficulties that cancer brings.

Everything we provide is free of charge, so visitors can feel welcome to access our support for as long as they need it.


Our vision

Maggie’s unique model of psychosocial support transforms the way that people live with cancer.

We want everyone in the UK who is affected by cancer to have access to our high quality, evidence based psychological, emotional and informational support.

We are working to create a network of cancer caring centres across the UK to deliver our community based cancer support programme

Here is another video about the work of Maggie’s.

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