Julie appraises one clan on another

The Rotary Club of Ellon was very pleased to have enjoyed an enlightening and inspiring presentation by one of the club members, Julie McRobbie, at last week’s meeting. Julie was speaking in her capacity as manager of the charity organisation CLAN. Many people are aware of CLAN (Cancer Link Aberdeen & North) but members were impressed to learn of the full range and scale of its activities and of plans for the future.

CLAN provides information, support, education, complementary therapies and other services to anyone directly or indirectly affected by any cancer, from pre-diagnosis, through treatment and beyond, throughout NE Scotland, Orkney and Shetland. The success of this charity is illustrated by the growth from formation in 1983, to being presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2006 and this summer moving into larger purpose-built premises in Aberdeen to meet the need for expanded services.

Cancer affects nearly half the population in one way or another, not necessarily as direct sufferers but as family or friends, of all ages and circumstances and this wide diversity is reflected in the extraordinary number of ways in which CLAN offers help. A team of qualified counsellors offers a listening ear or advice.

A team of therapists advises on different or complementary therapies. An information section gives guidance on local services. The special needs of children and young people are taken into account. Social activities play an important part in many circumstances and activities are organised. Advice on benefits is available. Many people have problems of travelling long distances for treatment or visits so ‘bed and breakfast’ accommodation is available, called the CLAN ‘haven’, and there is a holiday home. CLAN is able to help with transport. Further details of all these activities are given in CLAN’s very helpful website www.clanhouse.org

Most of these services are free, with money raised by many support organisations including Rotary, individual and company donations, CLAN charity shops, and local and national grants and trusts. A very important financial factor is the essential work of some 200 trained volunteers to support the staff. Fundraising has been a major effort for the new Aberdeen centre, amounting to more than £3 million.

Despite CLAN having been a beneficiary of the Sandwalk, there is probably still a less than complete understanding of the organisation’s range of services, and Julie’s excellent presentation definitely assisted members to appreciate more fully its valuable role.