Mayor joins June Whitfield for visit to South East Cancer Centre

31 July 2014

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited the South East Cancer Help Centre in Purley on Thursday 31 July, where he met with people using the services and volunteers and staff.


The Mayor was taken on a tour of the building and met with the charity's president, Absolutely Fabulous and Terry and June actress June Whitfield. 


The South East Cancer Help Centre (SECHC), which last year celebrated 30 years, provides a range of services for people affected by cancer, including complementary therapies and counselling. It is an independent charity, staffed predominantly by trained volunteers with professional guidance and support. It offer services to people in London and the south east, but also more widely and currently provides support to 500 people.


24 different therapies and groups are provided resulting in around 5000 sessions of care each year. Although the SECHC provides services to complement medical treatment provided by the NHS it receives no public money and relies solely on fundraising and donations.


There are over 200 different types of cancer, which causes one in four of all deaths in the UK. More than 30,000 Londoners receives a cancer diagnosis every year. As treatments and care improve, greater numbers of people are living with and beyond cancer.


In London the number of people living with and beyond cancer is more than 200,000 and this is expected to double by 2030.


The Mayor appointed designer Zandra Rhodes as his breast cancer ambassador in 2013 and has supported the Get to Know Cancer campaign, which saw pops up shops appearing around the city aimed at encouraging people to seek advice and get tested in a less formal, more relaxed setting. Members from SECHC were involved in one that visited Croydon in 2012. The diagnosis and treatment of the various forms of cancer are likely to come up as an issue when the London Health Commission, chaired by Lord Darzi, reports its findings to the Mayor later this year.


The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'This year, 30,000 Londoners will be diagnosed with cancer, which continues to be on the rise in the capital. It is vital they have access to the treatment and other support they need. South East Cancer Help Centre is providing a valuable service and the work the volunteers and staff are doing is impressive and inspiring. I hope it continues for years to come.' Jennifer Mollett, SECHC Chairman said: 'We are pleased to welcome the Mayor to our centre and that he will be able to see first-hand how we help people affected by cancer cope with their individual journeys.' 

Notes to editors


1. SECHC aims to give any person affected by cancer an opportunity to explore ways which may help them to cope with their situation. Confidentiality is always maintained. The Centre aims to respect and support them in the choices they make and to provide individual and group support, complementary therapies and information within a friendly, caring environment. These services have local NHS recognition. 

2. The London Health Commission is an independent inquiry established in September 2013 by the Mayor of London. The Commission is chaired by Professor the Lord Darzi and reports directly to the Mayor. The Commission is s examining how London’s health and healthcare can be improved for the benefit of the 

3. The Mayor supports a range of initiatives aimed at getting Londoners healthier and fitter. This includes

• Getting more Londoners cycling, including one billion pounds recently announced to boost cycling in the capital, including an east-west 'Crossrail for the bike', a new network of 'quietways' and works to improve safety at key junctions;

• The Sporting Legacy programme has resulted in £40 million being invested to upgrade local facilities and increase opportunities for Londoners across the capital to participate in sport and physical activity;

• Healthy Schools London, which has already signed up more than 1,000 schools and is encouraging young Londoners to eat more healthily, get more active, and wants to ensure conditions are there to support the emotional wellbeing of youngsters in London's schools;

• The Takeaways Toolkit, which deals provides a framework for dealing with the proliferation of fast food shops;

• Public realm improvements large and small, from the Queen Elizabeth Park to pocket parks around the city, offering green spaces for formal and informal activity from walking to cycling to organised sport.