Steve Morgan opens new Maggie’s cancer support centre

Philanthropist Steve Morgan today spoke of his ‘overwhelming pride’ as he formally opened the brand-new purpose-built Maggie’s Wirral at the Steve Morgan Foundation Building in the grounds of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Wirral.

The centre was commissioned, designed, built and funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation to replace the previous interim centre which opened in 2014, and has given the charity more space.

Mr Morgan, CBE, chairman of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “I feel a sense of overwhelming pride at opening Maggie’s Wirral at the Steve Morgan Foundation Building.

“When my wife Sally first introduced the foundation to Maggie’s all those years ago we had no idea that it would be the start of a journey that would end with the opening of this wonderful facility.

“There are 18,000 new cancer diagnoses every year in Merseyside and Cheshire alone but each case is different and the new building at Maggie’s Wirral really reflects that.

“The centre is welcoming, calm and peaceful.  It’s a place where patients and their families can relax and reflect away from home or hospital whilst gaining the emotional or practical support they may need.

“It is a lot more spacious than the previous interim centre and the library and private rooms offer individual and family support space away from the openness of the centre.

“The new building has already enabled Maggie’s to support more people with cancer in a centre that has been described by staff as truly uplifting and inspirational.

“It’s a proud day for the Steve Morgan Foundation, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and we’re already looking forward to starting construction work on the next Maggie’s at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.”

Tuesday’s formal opening comes three months after Maggie’s moved its programme of support to the new centre and since then the average number of centre visits has more than doubled.

Maggie’s has 25 years’ experience of supporting people with free cancer support and information in centres across the UK.

In the new centre the library and private rooms are used as individual, one-to-one and family support space away from the openness of the centre which has opened the doors to more people who are not ready for group support.

The centre has large windows filling the centre with light and offering panoramic views over country fields allowing visitors to find peace amongst nature and countryside.

Inside the centre is focused around an open plan kitchen with space for a kitchen table, whilst outside a large garden gives staff and visitors alike a beautiful landscaped space creating a comforting, home from home where visitors feel safe and uplifted.

Dame Laura Lee and Steve Morgan

Dame Laura Lee, chief executive at Maggie’s, said: “It’s fantastic to be here for the formal opening of our new Wirral centre and to see how it is already supporting the people who need it most, especially at a time when people living with cancer need our support more than ever.

“We couldn’t have done it without the extremely generous support of the Steve Morgan Foundation. Their support in commissioning, designing, building and funding this centre, as well as two others – a brand new Maggie’s to be developed on the grounds of the New Royal Liverpool Hospital in the city centre, and another in North Wales – is the only way we would have been able to support as many people as possible across the region.”

The view from one of the rooms at Maggie’s Wirral

Kathy Wright, centre head of Maggie’s Wirral, said: “It’s wonderful to have a permanent centre here on the Wirral and to see so many people coming in to make the most of the support already.  We are also seeing more complex psychological and emotional distress as a result of trauma experienced by people living with cancer during this pandemic and I am delighted we are here to support then at a time when they need us more than ever.”

Cassie Mitchell is living with secondary breast cancer.  The 43-year-old often visited the old centre but since the purpose-built centre opened at the end of June she has been visiting more than ever.

She said: “The experience of cancer has taken my future from me and my future with my family. My children need me to be a mum, so I don’t get to be a cancer patient apart from the days I attend appointments. My treatment days are very long, and this is when I spend most of my time at Maggie’s, it’s my safe haven. Maggie’s has been a godsend for me.”

Kathy Wright, centre head of Maggie’s Wirral, with Steve Morgan

A second Maggie’s commissioned, designed, built and funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation is planned within the grounds of the new Royal Liverpool Hospital in the city centre once the new Maggie’s Wirral facilities are operational, this centre will also support patients from Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool.

A third centre in North Wales is also in the early stages of development.

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