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Cancer Connections started as a discussion amongst five friends in March 2006.

Although treatment in the NHS is very good, the care available from the NHS rarely provides the emotional and practical help that many people need when trying to return to ‘normal life’ after cancer.

About 650 people in South Tyneside each year are told they have cancer. The diagnosis of cancer can have a profound impact on the whole family. Most people have to stop work for several months while receiving treatment. Partners may have to give up or change work to care for their spouse; children can experience many different problems knowing that a parent has a potentially fatal illness.

In these situations it is helpful to share problems with others who have gone through the same difficulties.

When the charity opened to the public in May 2007 we could not be sure exactly how local people would respond, what they would need and how much it would cost. Some said “Treatment at the hospital is good and there is a caring hospice – what else is needed?”  

Others told us “People in South Tyneside won’t come for counselling” and “Men don’t talk about this sort of thing”.


People with more than 30 different types of cancer have come to Cancer Connections. In 2014 more than 700 new visitors sought our help. We provided counselling for 200 new clients, Welfare Benefits advice to 348, over 1200 complementary therapies have been given, and to date we have supported 25 children bereaved by cancer, plus 2 who have been supported on a weekly basis for over a year. Many more return to enjoy the welcome, comfort, friendship and support of the "home from home" atmosphere that makes Cancer Connections such a special place.

Talking and sharing your anxieties with someone who has been through the same experience can be an enormous help – and in case you are wondering, a third of our visitors are men! Anyone affected by cancer is welcome - men, women, couples, children, grandparents, whole families.

Cancer can cause havoc to a family’s finances. At Cancer Connections we have a specialist Welfare Benefits Advisor who can explain the details of financial assistance that may be available, help with submitting applications and filling in the forms. This service is funded partly by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Complementary therapies do not cure cancer but they relieve stress in a wonderful way, and men enjoy them too.

Cancer Connections is the only provider of specialist cancer counselling in South Tyneside. We have a team of six counsellors each with lots of experience helping people affected by cancer in many different ways. We do not have a waiting list and can start counselling immediately if needed. We have counsellors experienced in helping young people too.

At the heart of Cancer Connections are volunteers who have experienced cancer themselves and help others in a similar situation. They give their time freely and contribute to the charity in many different ways.

Cancer Connections was established to help people living in South Tyneside but many visitors come from Washington, Sunderland, Gateshead together with some from north of the Tyne. Anyone is welcome if you think we can help. We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

We make no charge for counselling, therapies or any other help that we offer; all our services are free. We depend on local fundraising to cover our running costs, together with individual and corporate donations. We own our own premises at 258 Harton Lane. Our total expenditure for the year ending 31st March 2014 was £199,000.

Cancer Connections is unique in the North East. Cancer Connections is not a hospice. We are a volunteer charity whose members and staff provide the emotional and practical help needed by people who are trying to return to ‘normal life’ after the roller coaster experience of cancer.

Cancer Connections

Open daily Monday to Friday   9am-5pm

258 Harton Lane, South Shields NE34 0LR

 Registered charity no. 1116728