CancerCare patients can expect a therapy session with a difference from one counsellor in Dent, Sedbergh.

Adult and young people’s counsellor Jude Gaddes, who joined the charity earlier this year to provide support to people affected by cancer and bereavement in the South Lakeland area, has been conducting her sessions in a 23-year-old, custom-renovated VW T4 Autosleeper Trident campervan!

Lockdown has meant that Ms Gaddes has had to take appointments via Zoom. However, as restrictions continue to ease, she is looking forward to the day when she can slide open the doors of her van once again.

"When I decided to set up in private practice, I began looking at options for a therapy room. I liked the idea of working from home, but our house isn't suitable, so I started researching garden offices, " said Ms Gaddes.

"I began using the van as a temporary measure whilst waiting for planning permission for an extension on the house. It will happen one day, but in the meantime I am completely happy to see clients in the van.”

It seems that Ms Gaddes' clients are also content to have sessions in the van, which has been fitted out with soft furnishings.

“I was unsure how clients would react, so I make sure that it's the first thing I mention before we meet. Most clients forget about it as soon as they step through the door, make themselves comfortable and start talking.”

According to Ms Gaddes, one of the down sides to using the van are the lack of toilet facilities, although it’s never parked far from her home.

Since lockdown, CancerCare has delivered 1,900 hours of counselling via Zoom or telephone. This is only slightly less than the 2,040 hours delivered in the four months prior to the outbreak.

Chief Executive Maria Chambers said: “Since lockdown we have worked hard to ensure we were still able to help our clients, many of whom were also disproportionately affected by having to isolate from their usual support networks of family and friends.

“It has also been inspiring to see how our counsellors, like Jude, have gone above and beyond to be able to continue supporting people affected by bereavement and loss at such a difficult time for everyone.”