A Bicester cancer support centre is gearing up to re-open its doors and welcome in-person guests.

The team at the Hummingbird Centre have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure the centre can open as a Covid-19 safe environment for guests and volunteers.

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Founder Mechelle Harris said if all goes to plan the doors will reopen on Tuesday, August 10, but ultimately they will be guided by the Government’s roadmap and are dependent on the lifting of restrictions.

In order to keep people safe the centre will operate in a different way. Rather than its usual drop-in service, people will be asked to pre-book sessions and will need to stay in the same building for the entire visit.

Morning sessions will run from 10am to 12.30pm, and then the buildings will close for cleaning, before reopening from 2pm to 4pm.

The holistic building, where guests can enjoy a range of complementary therapies and beauty treatments, will also reopen but appointments will be driven by therapists’ availability.

During the lockdown period, the Hummingbird Centre expanded its service to the rest of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. People living in those areas will also be able to book in for sessions.

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However, before anyone can come into the centre, they must be fully vaccinated and all guests and volunteers will need to complete a lateral flow Covid-19 test before they arrive. Anyone with any coronavirus symptoms must not attend. The idea is to create a Covid-free bubble around the Hummingbird Centre.

Ms Harris said: “We are thrilled to have a date for reopening and are working hard to ensure the centre is safe to welcome back guests.

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to develop a safety procedure which will help us manage our return to face to face and mitigate any risk of Covid-19 going forward.

“I want to reassure people we are not changing our support, but have adapted our usual way of operating to enable us to continue to work with our guests. We know people are going to need to feel safe in order to come back and from our perspective we will do everything within our power to make that happen. For example, there will be fewer people at sessions and cleaning will take place between sessions.

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“As we move forward we will constantly review the situation – ultimately we want to be there for the people who need us.”

Alpha Cars will not be providing its free taxi service to the Hummingbird Centre this year. Ms Harris said: “We are conscious that businesses in general have lost a lot of money over the past 18 months and we do not wish to put a financial strain on them.”

People can book online via the website www.thehummingbirdcentre.org.uk/ or social media, or by calling 01869 244244.

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