Macmillan launched its three-year partnership with Boots last month with the news that cancer is the biggest healthcare worry for 54 per cent of people. According to a YouGov survey by the charity, 26 per cent of people want to understand more about their friends' and family members' illnesses.
The partnership is designed to meet this desire. With 2,500 stores, Boots not only gives the charity a huge high-street presence, but provides access to millions of regular customers.
The charity plans to train 15,000 Boots pharmacists, dispensers and healthcare assistants in cancer-related issues in the first year of the partnership. Boots will also introduce engagement and information areas in its stores. "It's not about turning pharmacists into oncologists," says Oonagh Turnbull, head of charity and community at Boots. "But we can help with medicine, check-ups and helping people understand Macmillan and the support it can offer in a discreet environment."
She says Boots wanted a partnership that would show how corporate social responsibility is at the heart of its brand. Its aim is to be the most socially responsible company in the health and beauty sector. Turnbull says the partnership is also an internal engagement tool: Boots wanted something that would resonate with its staff and help champion the brand's 'feel good' tagline. Employees will be invited to fundraise with different schemes, beginning with the Miles for Macmillan initiative, during which staff will collectively walk 290,000 miles - a mile for every person diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year.
Stephen Wibberley, the Boots Partnership Programme lead at Macmillan, says the deal will help the public find answers to their questions about cancer.