irgin Money is rolling out a financial support service for people living with or affected by cancer, following a pilot scheme.
The bank has partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support to launch its Macmillan Guides support service across the UK.
Macmillan said cancer can be a “financial wrecking ball”, with people often facing additional costs.
According to Macmillan, cancer patients often face a financial burden of nearly £900 a month typically. It found 83% of people living with cancer in the UK experience some kind of financial impact from their diagnosis, and for those affected, this reaches an average of £891 a month.
The bank said the service is available to anyone, regardless of whether they are a Virgin Money customer.
I feel that every company should provide this service as the Macmillan Guide took a big weight off my shoulders and it really helped me knowing I had one less thing to worry about
Staff have been trained by Macmillan to understand the issues people may face.
The support offered could include advising people on what help is available from Virgin Money or their own bank, or they may be offered guidance about support available from Macmillan or local community groups.
A 12-month pilot saw more than 50 store and contact centre staff receive training from Macmillan Cancer Support.
David Duffy, chief executive at Virgin Money, said: “Our guides have been leading the way in providing vital support in-store, online and over the phone for the past 12 months.
“We’re thrilled to be making it a permanent part of what we do here at Virgin Money and hope to be able to help as many people as possible with bespoke guide advice and support.”
Lynda Thomas, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “At a time when people should be able to focus on their health, receiving the life-changing news that you have cancer can be nothing short of a financial wrecking ball, with many people facing extra and often unexpected costs following a diagnosis.
“On top of this, Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis is causing a huge amount of additional worry for many people with cancer.
“That’s why we’re so pleased to be working with Virgin Money on the Macmillan Guide initiative. The service will provide vital support to people when they need it most.”
Virgin Money customer Danny Pryce, 38, an HGV driver who was diagnosed with a blood cancer in June 2021, said: “Finding out I had cancer was the scariest thing I have ever experienced.
“I wasn’t sure what the future held for me and my family. I started to get my affairs in order and one of the first calls I made was to the Virgin Money team to make them aware of my diagnosis. This is where I learned about their partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.
“I spoke to an amazing Macmillan Guide called Caroline who explained what they can do for me and the services they provide.
“Caroline also made me aware of the other services Macmillan offer in case I had, for example, wellbeing or other money issues.
“I feel that every company should provide this service as the Macmillan Guide took a big weight off my shoulders and it really helped me knowing I had one less thing to worry about. I have just found out I’m in remission so I can now concentrate on my recovery.”
Caroline Geddes, Macmillan Guide and team manager at Virgin Money, said: ”To be able to help people like Danny is one of the reasons I volunteered to become a Macmillan Guide.
“A cancer diagnosis can spark a range of emotions and making sure your finances are in order can often be a second thought.
“I feel proud to be part of an initiative which is helping people when they need it most and allowing them to concentrate on their health.”