Founded by Sir Kenneth Calman in 1980, Cancer Support Scotland is a Scottish Charity dedicated to supporting people affected by cancer through complementary therapies and counselling services that complement the work of the NHS and make life easier for people affected by cancer.

Sir Kenneth Calman

Sir Kenneth Calman is best known as chairman of the Calman Commission set up to look into the devolution of more powers to Scotland and is also a leading cancer researcher and was chief medical officer first of Scotland, and then England.

Sir Kenneth was educated at Allan Glen’s School, in Glasgow, and did his medical degree at Glasgow University. He became Professor of Oncology in 1974 and, in 1984, became Dean of Postgraduate Medicine and Professor of Postgraduate Medical Education at the university, and a consultant physician at the Victoria Infirmary. Sir Kenneth has been awarded honorary degrees by universities across Britain.

Tak Tent

Cancer Support Scotland was originally named “Tak Tent” – an old Scots phrase meaning “take care”. Tak Tent was set up to meet the needs of patients and their families within an informal setting and to learn from their experience of living with cancer. The name was changed to Cancer Support Scotland in 2011 in order to make more clear what the charity does and reach more people without the confusion that “Tak Tent” brings.

The Building

Gartnavel Royal Hospital Chapel was designed by Sir JJ Burnet and constructed in 1904-6. This Category B Listed chapel is a modest yet graceful building in the Arts and Crafts style of the period. Constructed in good quality, warm materials – timber, red brick, render and slate – it is a charming and unassuming building with well detailed entrances, bell tower, swept roof with deep eaves and projecting porch and intact stained glass windows, two of which are by Robert Anning Bell. The chapel fell out of use and became boarded up and derelict and was finally added to the Building at Risk Register in 2007.

This project involved the repair and conversion of the former chapel into a cancer support centre for Cancer Support Scotland, a charity which provides free complementary therapies and counselling to those affected by cancer and their close friends and families. Following completion of an options appraisal study in 2008 and a three year fundraising effort to secure the £1.5million required, work began on site in August 2011.

Work included repair and conservation, wherever possible, of the original features of the chapel including the stained glass, wood panelling and choir stalls, construction of a sympathetic new build extension and a light-touch contemporary fit-out to create the calm, tranquil atmosphere required by the end user. The project also created a number of new opportunities for people to learn about and participate in the building’s heritage including the development of children’s activity packs, heritage trails, interpretation panels and an apprenticeship in stone masonry.

The Calman Cancer Support Centre, which features contemporary therapy suites, counselling rooms, information centre with internet access and library facility, offices and a peaceful sensory garden, was officially opened in October 2012.

Over 3,500 holistic therapy appointments funded last year

Cancer Support Scotland Logo