At Maggie’s, you just walk right in

By Glossy Magazine

Maggie's Manchester

At Maggie’s, you just walk right in

Maggie's Manchester

In 1993, five years after Maggie Keswick Jencks’ initial breast cancer diagnosis, her illness returned. Both the 47-year-old Edinburgh-based writer, gardener and designer, and her husband Charles were left to digest the news in the gloom of a dark, windowless corridor. They realised that anyone with a cancer or any life-threatening disease deserves a kinder environment, a gentler place of retreat to consider and mull over their situation. Equally aware that no-one should “lose the joy of living to the fear of dying”, the couple quickly applied themselves to finding a solution.

Sadly, Maggie passed away in July 1995. However, her plans for new, practical approaches to cancer care and living with the illness were already underway and ultimately materialised by the opening of Edinburgh’s first Maggie’s Centre in 1996. Today, the charity’s 24 UK centres, plus those in Hong Kong, Barcelona and Tokyo, firmly uphold both Maggie Jencks’ and her husband Charles’ initial beliefs.

Centre head since 2020, clinical psychologist Robin Muir has worked at Maggie’s Manchester since its April 2016 opening. He leads a team of two co-psychologists, four cancer support specialists – comprising three nurses plus one occupational therapist, three benefits advisers, four fundraisers and many, many carefully vetted volunteers.

Up to 120 cancer patients, their families and friends are welcomed here daily, bringing this Maggie’s an annual total of 25,000 visitors. The centre offers information on cancer and its various forms, preparatory advice on the actual treatments, details of possible appearance changes due to medications plus advice on recovery and rehabilitation.

Counselling, art therapy, yoga and Tai Chi are amongst the activities available here, plus the company of sympathetic and trained listeners – or, if preferred, quieter areas for reflection. And naturally, there’s always a cuppa.

Intrinsic to the success of this Maggie’s are both its collaboration with, and proximity to, The Christie Hospital across the road and the calming effect of Norman Foster’s airy, purpose-built edifice adorned by surrounding greenery – something that horticulturalist Maggie Jencks herself would have desired.

Crowned with its lofty atrium, Maggie’s Manchester was designed specifically to promote a sense of tranquillity and relaxation, creating an atmosphere in which attendees would be more likely to take in and retain information around the treatments and some anticipated reactions of their loved ones.

Robin Muir says: “Coming here is no way compulsory so if people make the decision to attend, we’re delighted. You see, it’s vital our input is seen as inherent in preparing and helping patients and those concerned for the chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy ahead. Therefore, it’s preferable they come to us in advance of the actual treatments. Obviously, assistance and information are offered at the hospital but family members are not necessarily allowed in during treatments, so we can cover this gap.”

Robin notes differences in generational attitudes to cancer. Maggie’s older patients, and men in particular, tend to be more reluctant to disclose and discuss their concerns around cancer and its implications. And although younger patients are more open to talking about their illnesses, they do find confronting other aspects of cancer more problematic.

Careers in the medical, educational, business and social work worlds are wide open to clinical psychologists. Robin chose Maggie’s because it’s in line with his own values. He said: “Here, I’m able to help people in a delicate situation, just as I would want someone to be there for me or a loved one. I’ve gained insight into life and regard my own life differently seeing what others have to undergo in these situations.”

Robin Muir

Centre Head and Clinical Psychologist Manchester

T: 0161 641 4851

M: +447584680575

Maggie's Manchester
Maggie's Manchester
Maggie's Manchester

Opening times:

Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

No appointment required – just come in.

Visit us:

Maggie’s Manchester,

The Robert Parfett Building,

The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 

15 Kinnaird Road,


M20 4QL

Call: 0161 641 4848