"Breast Friends began hosting monthly meetings in 2020 at Workbridge, and loved it! We like the values that Workbridge demonstrates, commitment to mental and physical health through vocational activities, and we think we share similar values. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to use Workbridge as a venue since the start of the pandemic, but we hope to come back soon."
Breast Friends Northamptonshire is headed up by Leonie Heard, who started the charity along with two other ladies who were also undergoing breast cancer treatment during 2017. The charity is shaped by her own experience accessing support during her treatment.
In 2020 prior to the Covid Pandemic, Breast Friends hosted evening meetings in our venue space at Workbridge Coffee Shop. Find out more about Breast Friends and the common values the charity shares with Workbridge below...
“There is a lot of support out there, but I didn’t feel, when I was receiving treatment, that I found the right support for me. What I wanted was a place to meet up with other people going through the same thing. I met a few ladies randomly and started to go for a coffee. It was from here that we set up a little charity in Northampton known as Breast Friends Northampton.” ~ Leonie Heard, Breast Friends Northamptonshire charity.
Run by people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer…
"Breast Friends started on a private Facebook group and has grown rapidly from there really. I registered the Breast Friends Northampton charity in 2017. In the years that have followed, we have hosted monthly meetings and activities like book clubs and exercise classes in central and accessible locations, as well as advice and support chats on our Facebook group.
Although our members are currently women, breast cancer is not just a womens’ disease, we aim to support men too. The charity is run by volunteers, and by people who have been through breast cancer and have the experience, empathy and understanding. They can talk about this in a different way, and they can stand next to you and you can talk honestly in a space where you can be yourself."
"Breast Friends began hosting monthly meetings in 2020 at Workbridge, and loved it! We like the values that Workbridge demonstrates, commitment to mental and physical health through vocational activities, and we think we share similar values. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to use Workbridge as a venue since the start of the pandemic, but we hope to come back soon.
The pandemic changed things for the Breast Friends charity. We support people practically and emotionally face to face. Many of our members can’t go out and they became part of the shielding community. We began offering support remotely, via Zoom, including a qualified PT Trainer three times a week to deliver sessions to members in their homes. Delivering sessions from the safety of the home, got people moving regularly.
We also started bringing in local businesses, to provide services to our members on Zoom… chair based exercises, Zumba – lots of physical and get moving activities. Art therapy has been one of our most popular Zoom activities. It was led by one of our members and everyone was able to relax. The charity sent equipment in the post from the supplier to each member’s home. We’ve continued with our popular book club on Zoom and we’ve just set up a crochet club.
At the moment we are supporting over 260 members on Facebook and we’re going to be fitting both the face to face and remote services together in the future."
"During the pandemic, we have found that many charities have struggled and we’ve talked about what has and hasn’t worked. We have needed to pay for more professionals to join on Zoom calls, but Breast Friends has been well supported by our community to enable us to continue our work.
We were in a good position before the Covid Pandemic, and coming out of it, we will be looking for the support of our wonderful community to fundraise and support our services. Our biggest challenge is to be able to open back up into a space where we can open services safely and confidently. We are all volunteers so every piece of time is borrowed.
My biggest hope for 2021 is to be able to offer the services at Breast Friends Northamptonshire that we had before and also meet all of our new members who haven’t yet been able to meet up physically and come together. I’d love to see them outside together, safely, stand next to each other and support each other physically.”
If you would like to find out more about Breast Friends Northamptonshire and the support they offer people with Breast Cancer diagnosis and treatment in Northamptonshire and beyond, we have included their contact information below this article. Thank you for reading.