Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has agreed to continue funding for the Macmillan benefits uptake service for people with cancer and other long term conditions.

The Comhairle’s Policy and Resources Committee agreed to allocate £25,000 to match fund investment from Macmillan Cancer Support in the service. The Committee heard that the service has secured £3.2m in additional income for people with cancer living in the Western Isles since it started in 2010.

The service comprises one officer working four days each week who covers the whole of the Western Isles. Home visits are undertaken and support provided to secure additional resources and financial support for people with cancer and other long term conditions.

Leader of the Comhairle, Roddie Mackay, said: “I am delighted that our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support has been of such enormous benefit to cancer suffers throughout the islands.  This is a very worthwhile service which provides great benefit to people across the Islands and securing financial support means those affected can focus on what really matters at what can be a very difficult and challenging time.”

Macmillan’s Head of Services in Scotland, Janice Preston said: “Cancer can have a large and negative impact on someone’s finances. We know cancer patients very often experience a drop in income and increased costs as a result of their cancer diagnosis.

"Many of them will never have claimed benefits before and trying to navigate the system and fill in long complex forms while dealing with the physical and emotional problems cancer brings can be very difficult.

"That is why we are working in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to continue providing this much needed service for people affected by cancer on the Western Isles.”