Macmillan’s BIG Coffee Morning

Macmillan Library
Sue Wallbank, Erica Sheppard, Town Mayor Cllr Stephanie Dovey, Sallyanne Powell

Chepstow Library combined forces with Macmillan and held a BIG Coffee Morning in the library and the reading garden on Friday 27 September. Over 50 guests attended and enjoyed taking part in the taster test where guests sampled three different types of coffee from southern India, Java and Columbia. Upon checking the ‘taster board’ it was revealed that the winner was the coffee from the mountains of Mysore region of southern India.

£248.83 was raised for this very worthy cause.

Macmillan Knits

Macmillan Library Garden


Tea Tasting

Twinings Tea Ambassador Mark Nicholls with Erica Sheppard, Library Staff and Friends of the Library Reading Garden
Twinings Tea Ambassador Mark Nicholls with Erica Sheppard, Library Staff and Friends of the Library Reading Garden

Chepstow Library hosted a tea tasting event in support of Macmillan Cancer Research.

Twinings Tea Ambassador, Mark Nicholls, told an attentive audience all about the history of tea and how to do tea tasting. Newly qualified in the art, all participants tasted a range of teas – some preferring the delicate taste of Ceylon Silver Tips, others the bolder flavours of Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong!

Library customers tea tasting!
Library customers tea tasting!

The event was organised by Erica Sheppard, Macmillan Cancer Support and Information Co-ordinator, to promote the new Macmillan area in the library reading garden and to raise awareness of the ‘drop-in’ cancer information sessions and board game activities in Chepstow Library on alternate Thursdays. Please visit the library to find out more and to see the new willow arch in the garden.

Get reading, Get better, Get Libraries…

You are warmly invited to join us for a special event at Monmouth Library on Thursday 4th April 10-30am-3.30pm.

‘Get reading, Get better, Get Libraries, there is something for everyone in your local library’ aims to show case the great activities that are taking place in libraries to support well being, and for you to enjoy.

Macmillan has teamed up with local libraries, Leisure Centres and The National Exercise Referral Scheme to offer ‘taster’ sessions, ‘hands on’ activities and informative displays.

Watch the results of our recent digital story telling projects, or relax and enjoy a shared reading session, then find out about the latest innovation- telephone reading groups.

Browse the range of new books relating to cancer, discover the Macmillan cancer area or add a comment about the proposals for a teenage cancer zone.

Discover the bibliotherapy section designed to support mental well being, enjoy the great gardening books and meet the ‘Friends’ of Chepstow Library Reading Garden who will be pleased to tell you about the project to develop a Macmillan outdoor seating area.

There will be a special display by the knit and natter groups, showing how the wool gets from the sheep to the square, plus a display of all the things that have been made to support others.

At 12 noon there will be a ‘knit-a-thon’ to raise funds for Macmillan, so bring your needles and join in!

There is so much more to discover including a craft activity in the children’s area, the house bound book delivery service or take part in a tai chi ‘taster’ session and meet the exercise team.

Tea and coffee is available and there is free parking at Monmouth Comprehensive School, a few minutes from the library.

Please let me know if you are able to attend.

For more information or a timetable for the day, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Erica Sheppard,
Macmillan in Monmouthshire
Cancer Support & Information Service.
Gwasanaeth Cymorth a Gwybodaeth
Canser Mcamillan Sir Fynwy.
Tel 01873 735980
Mobile 07826876772

Knit one-then knit another!

Staff from libraries at Monmouth, Chepstow, Usk and Gilwern have been adding their skills to those of the Caldicot Library ‘knit and natter’ group to make items to help people who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Often people who are having treatment for cancer really do feel the cold and it is important that they stay as well as possible, which means keeping warm.

The team of knitters and crotcheters have made hundreds of brightly coloured squares which are being turned into rugs by Erica Sheppard the Macmillan in Monmouthshire Coordinator.

The rugs along with shawls and hats that the clever ladies and gents have made, will be taken to the chemotherapy unit at Nevill Hall Hospital to be given out to anyone who would like to accept one of the woolly creations.

Most of the wool was donated by someone who is herself undergoing treatment for cancer along with wool that the knitters themselves have donated.

Staff say it is very relaxing to knit or crochet items and be part of this fun project which is growing by the day.

Erica Sheppard said, “Each time I visit a library to hold a Macmillan ‘drop in’ information session or run a group I am handed a pile of woolly squares that a library user has made. They find out about the project from staff and are thrilled to be able to join in. Even my husband has agreed to help me sew together all the squares. It’s great how everyone has rallied to the cause to support people affected by cancer.”

For more information about the Macmillan in Monmouthshire Cancer Support & Information Service or about the knitting project or to donate wool, please ask in your local library or email Erica at

‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ at Monmouth Library

Friday 28th September, 11am-2pm

This year we are hosting a coffee morning in the magnificent setting of the Rolls Hall otherwise known as Monmouth Library, as part of the Macmillan ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ event and to support the great work of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Staff are teaming up with The Macmillan in Monmouthshire Cancer Support and Information Service from the library to offer you a lovely cup of coffee (or tea), tempt you with a sweet treat from Wigmores bakery, and help you browse the secondhand book stall.

A special feature of this year’s event is a demonstration of muffin making from Lakeland and a chance to win one of the fun prizes in the raffle, or wander round and browse the great range of books available to borrow.

Or you could just stand back and admire the wonderful portraits of Lady Llangattock and her family that grace the walls of the library.

For more information contact Monmouth Library on 01600 775215 or email

Macmillan in Monmouthshire Libraries, Project Update February 2012



The aim of the service is to provide good quality information in a variety of formats for people affected by cancer in libraries across Monmouthshire, which are friendly, non-threatening environments located in the heart of the local community.

The project is now in its eighth month of providing support and information to people affected by cancer and this update highlights the progress.

All libraries have a selection of free Macmillan booklets and CD’s which are available for the public to take away.

This information comprises a directory of all cancer related material, a selection from the top ten list of Macmillan material, with such titles as The Cancer Guide, Coping with the Cost of Cancer, Understanding Chemotherapy and a range on specific cancer types.

Chepstow has a brand new shelf unit which has been installed with funding from Macmillan as part of the development of information areas in all libraries. So far the titles which have been taken from Chepstow are Understanding Chemotherapy; Understanding Radiotherapy; Understanding the PSA test; Men and Cancer.

Abergavenny is to be the main ‘hub’ of information and support with a mini ‘hub’ at Caldicot, wall displays at Monmouth and Gilwern and a new shelf unit for Usk. All of these areas should be in place and stocked with information by the end of March. Alongside the Macmillan information we are providing leaflets from Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care, WAG Health Promotion Libraries, Carers Usk and Age Cymru to demonstrate the range of information and support available to people at all stages of their cancer journey. We are aiming to have a small promotional event in March to ‘launch’ the new areas followed by two larger events in July, to mark one year of the project.

Inmates of the two prisons of Usk and Prescoed now have permission to call the Macmillan Support Line and soon a range of cancer related material will be available in the libraries. We are also in the process of working out how ‘drop in’ sessions might work there and are exploring the possibility of shared reading groups.

The MSIC has also been invited to provide information at a forthcoming health ‘market’ event at Usk Prison.

Nevill Hall Hospital has a new shelf unit in the Oncology Department which carries a range of cancer related information and it has been possible to develop networks which may help initiate referrals to the library service.

The ‘drop in’ information sessions are scheduled in each library and people are coming along. It is a slow process to build this up, which we know from our partnership work with the other Macmillan library projects in South East Wales, and one which requires constant promotion. The project is always looking for new ways of getting the message across and staff have been asked to continue to talk about the service to library users and hand out service leaflets whenever possible. Staff have also been asked to complete a short questionnaire which will help to develop a baseline to measure the project and also to help identify training needs. This forms part of the development of a sustainable approach to maintaining information for people affected by cancer in libraries. An enquiry pathway has been made available to staff to help and support them with cancer related enquires.

In the next two months a timetable for the next quarter will be circulated and a programme of events to widen the scope of the service will be developed.

Shared reading is integral to this project as a way of providing events and activities for people who are living with cancer or who have finished their cancer treatment. They are seen as an opportunity to meet people, keep in touch, have fun and find ways of coping with the effects of cancer. A new shared reading group is set to start on 21st February at Caldicot library.

It is anticipated that over the next six months new ways of promoting the service will be developed and a series of other linked events will be planned by continuing to establish new networks and make local connections to promote this service as widely as possible around the county.

Erica Sheppard
Macmillan Monmouthshire Cancer Support & Information Co-ordinator