Virgin Money Macmillan GuidesPublished: 31 Mar 2021
In the first of its kind for a UK bank, Virgin Money has joined forces with Macmillan Cancer Support to launch Virgin Money Macmillan Guides – a bespoke support service for people living with or affected by cancer, with a pilot scheme starting 31 March.
How the Virgin Money Macmillan Guides will help people living with cancer
In their role as Virgin Money Macmillan Guides, selected customer-facing colleagues will be trained by Macmillan to help provide the best possible emotional support, information and signposting to people affected by cancer.
The Guides will provide support in-store, over the phone or via webchat, doing whatever it takes to make sure anyone with cancer can live life as fully as possible.
Colleagues will be trained to understand the individual issues these people may face, in order to enable and empower customers to take positive action. This could include:
- helping people navigate the financial support available at Virgin Money
- offering guidance about the variety of support available from Macmillan to help with wider concerns
- signposting to local community groups
- simply being there to listen.
Up to 50 colleagues from across the Virgin Money store and contact centre network will take part in an initial six-month pilot.
The initiative is launching at a time when Macmillan research[i] shows that over a quarter of a million people (270,000) with cancer in the UK (9%) feel they have no one to talk to about their worries because of the pandemic. Furthermore, 870,000 (29%) feel stressed, anxious or depressed because of COVID-19.
Around half a million people with cancer in the UK (16%) were experiencing some kind of financial impact from the pandemic in the run-up to the current national lockdown. The research estimates that more than 100,000 people with cancer (4%) are struggling to pay for basic essentials such as food, bills, rent or their mortgage as a result of the impact of COVID-19[ii].
Working in partnership to support Virgin Money customers living with cancer
Peter Dockar, Head of Customer Value Management at Virgin Money
“Sadly many of us will have been touched by a cancer diagnosis, either personally or through a friend or family member. We know it can have a devastating impact, not only physically but emotionally and financially. That is why we are working with Macmillan, our charity partner of the year, to launch the Macmillan Guide role. This is the first service of its kind offered by a UK bank, designed to support those customers living with or affected by cancer.
“As a bank, one of our ambitions is to make a positive social and environmental impact. Macmillan Guide is innovative in its approach, and the role of a Guide will see specially trained Virgin Money customer-facing colleagues use their position to help Macmillan provide the best possible expert support.
“Following the pilot – which we very much see a ‘test and learn’ opportunity – we will look to roll the Macmillan Guides initiative out across our whole network, so together with Macmillan we can try to help as many customers as possible.”
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support
“Due to the impact of COVID-19, we know that this is the most worrying time in recent history to get a cancer diagnosis. For many people receiving the life-changing news that you have cancer is nothing short of a financial wrecking ball. That’s why we’re thrilled to launch the Macmillan Guide initiative with Virgin Money, a service that will provide vital emotional and financial support to people affected by cancer when they need it most.”
Charity of the year partnership
Macmillan Cancer Support is Virgin Money’s Charity of the Year. Macmillan and Virgin Money hope this partnership will help the charity reach its goal of being there for everyone facing cancer from day one of their diagnosis.
To find out more about the Macmillan Guides please visit Macmillan.org.uk/VirginMoney.
[i] Macmillan Cancer Support/YouGov survey of 2904 adults with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd — 22nd December 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the living with cancer population. The 270,000 and 870,000 figures are derived by applying the % from this survey to the estimated 3 million people living with cancer in the UK. 3 million figure is derived from 2013 complete prevalence (Macmillan-NCRAS Cancer Prevalence Project). This is projected forwards using the UK growth rates in Maddams et al. (2012), resulting in an estimated 3 million people living with cancer in the UK. This includes all people who have ever had a cancer diagnosis, some people in this group may no longer consider themselves to be living with cancer.
[ii] As per ref i. The survey included 101 people who have been struggling to pay for basic essentials such as food, bills, or their rent or mortgage, as a result of COVID-19.