THE Wessex Cancer Trust is set continue its work with local people affected by the condition after a funding crisis appeal raised nearly £300,000.
The charity, which provides emotional and practical support to those living with cancer in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, announced in December last year that it needed £600,000 to stave off the risk of closure.
The appeal sparked an instant reaction from its donors, supporters and many of the people it has helped over the last four decades.
Chief executive Cait Allen said: “It was incredibly moving to see people coming through the doors, emptying their purses and gathering friends for fundraising events.
“The messages accompanying the online donations really brought it home to us that we make an amazing difference to people’s lives at a time when they most need help. It gave us renewed energy to carry on and make sure we are still here for others.”
The appeal raised £290,000 in eight weeks, and the board of trustees met last week to assess the future financial security of the charity.
Chairman Barry Rinaldi said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to our crisis appeal, both in terms of donations and encouragement.
“For a local charity to have raised almost £300,000 in two months is incredible. It speaks volumes that so many people have recognised the role we play in helping others through their experience of cancer.”
Mr Rinaldi said that although the amount raised was only half what they had asked for, they were confident the charity had a future.
“A number of savings have been made to streamline the charity as much as possible within its fixed cost constraints,” he explained. “This has included closing shops, selling assets and reducing overheads.
“To move us forward, our income generation strategy is being accelerated to mitigate the ongoing risks of high street retail performance, reliance on legacies, and to ensure the charity operates towards a surplus financial balance year on year.
“We hope the amount raised through the appeal, and these plans for our future, will give others confidence to come forward to help us continue our fundraising efforts, which we still very much need during 2020.
“The needs of those who come to Wessex Cancer Trust for support continues to be a top priority and the charity wants to continue to give the very best care to the growing number of people affected by cancer.
“For the past year, and based on extensive research and consultation, it has been changing its model of care to better meet the unique needs of everyone living with cancer and provide a more personalised approach.
“In the long term, this strategy will create efficiencies while still improving the care to people who need it.”
Mr Rinaldi added: “While we have raised a substantial amount of money and now feel we are in a position to shape the future of cancer care, we are still in a delicate situation. If anyone has been waiting to see if Wessex Cancer Trust has a future before donating, I can assure you it does. I urge you to support us if you can.”
Over the coming weeks and months the charity plans to launch a number of new fundraising and commercial initiatives to raise the additional £300,000.
To donate, go to www.wessexcancer.org.uk/donate/donate-online/5/credit-card.