A CHARITY that supports people affected by cancer has branched out to take its free services into north Durham.

The Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust launched a new weekly drop-in facility in January and will soon run a monthly support group in Sacriston, to help people in the north of the county.

Founder Mark Solan said: "I'm very proud that the Trust has a good reputation which is growing.

"I'm proud we are able to spread into different areas, especially those that have a lack of services, within a couple of weeks we are working with a dozen families."

The Trust started in August 2015, on the back of Mr Solan's record-breaking charity white collar boxing match which was inspired by the loss of his own mother and grandmother to cancer.

In 2016 it opened its first shop in Mr Solan's home town Spennymoor, gained charitable status in May 2017 and the same year moved into a bigger shop with a wig bank and treatment room and support groups followed.

In 2018 it opened new premises and this year has opened a shop in Ferryhill and set up the Sacriston outreach sessions.

The Sacriston link came after the charity teamed up with Auton, a hair and beauty salon in Bearpark, Durham, which runs a hair loss clinic. Its owner Michelle Hall wanted to help Solan Warriors– as beneficiaries are known– as her own family had been touched by the disease.

Mr Solan invites people in the north of the county affected by cancer to discover how the charity can help.

A Trust representative will be at the drop-in session in the Northern Integrative Health Practice building on Durham Road, Sacriston, every Wednesday, from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

On the last Wednesday of the month, from 11am to 2pm, it will run a relaxed, sociable support group for people facing cancer themselves or that of a loved one at the same venue.

Mr Solan said: "The drop-ins are about sharing information, we can tell them what we do, take their details, signpost to the other organisations we work with.

"The support groups are a great opportunity to find out what we do but also to meet up other people with a similar story, to share their fears, experiences, support. People can say as much or as little as they want about their own experiences, over a cuppa, so they know they are not alone."

The Trust needs volunteers to help run the Sacriston support group, which includes serving refreshments. For details of the charity of volunteering contact mark@teamsolan.org.uk