After a major fund-raising campaign led by Monica Rowland (now Simpson) who had lost her husband to cancer two years earlier (Monica is still on the Board of Trustees). In 2001 we became a registered charity. Through further fundraising initiatives and the donation of space from Royal Surrey County Hospital, next to Oncology Outpatients, the Fountain Centre was fully equipped with three treatment rooms, a lounge area, two counselling rooms, a kitchen and an office.
In the first year of opening the centre had 150 visits per month and employed one full-time member of staff, with two working part-time and 25 volunteers. Owing to the huge success of the Fountain Centre and increasing demand for our services, in 2003 we obtained funding to provide the centre with a large Creative Arts room. Our service was widely appreciated and recognised as something special.
Helping Cancer Patients and Their Families
In 2004 we received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in recognition of the important work our team of volunteers deliver every day.
Our garden, opened in 2006, alongside St Luke’s is a much-loved haven for patients, staff and visitors. The Fountain Centre has constantly grown and developed, and in 2012 we opened a further suite of therapy rooms on Level A in St Luke’s Cancer Centre, next to the Radiotherapy Department.
In recent years, we have extended our reach across Surrey, providing therapeutic services at Frimley Park Hospital and Ashford St Peters. We have also established a commercial service, which helps to fund the Fountain Centre.
We provide therapists to work in private hospitals in Guildford, Winchester, Windsor and Goring. The Fountain Centre has never discriminated against private patients.
There were two major innovations in 2017.
Firstly, we established our Family Service, providing counselling and support for the families of newly-diagnosed cancer patients – about a quarter of new patients have school-aged children or younger. The service is unique, and demand for it has been huge. It goes from strength to strength thanks to a 5 year grant from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.
And second, thanks to support from the MCKS Charitable Foundation UK, we have been able to employ a therapist for 20 hours a week to provide a ward-based service for those patients who are too ill to come to the Centre. This provides a continuity of service which would not otherwise be possible, and it has been welcomed by patients, their families and particularly by clinical staff.
There are now well over 100 volunteers, the majority of whom are qualified complementary therapists and counsellors.
Our team of administrative volunteers makes sure the Centre runs smoothly.
The team now manages over 2000 appointments per month. Volunteers form the core of the Fountain Centre’s existence and without their help the centre would be unable to operate. The team has grown, inevitably, and there are now 4 full-time staff and 8 working part-time.
It goes without saying that we are very fortunate to have the Fountain Centre here that offers support and complementary therapies to our cancer patients alongside our well established treatments. We know that this means so much to people battling with awful long term conditions.
The Fountain Centre Therapists have been brilliant too – they have a wonderful ability to make their clients forget about the impact of diagnosis and focus on moving on and making life better.
I have first hand experience of just how important the support given by the amazing volunteers within the Fountain Centre. It provides a welcome break and a relaxed atmosphere to all those involved with somebody suffering from cancer. My cancer journey would have been far more difficult if I had not had the mental, physical and emotional support from various volunteers within the Centre.