Cancer charity in battle for survival raises third of fundraising target

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Wessex Cancer Trust
Wessex Cancer Trust’s chair, Barry Rinaldi

A CANCER charity which needs to raise £600,000 by the end of the month or risk closure has so far received over a third of that amount in donations.

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Wessex Cancer Trust, which costs £100,000 per month to run, provides free emotional and practical support to those affected by the disease living in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Last December the charity, which has been running for 40 years, launched a crisis appeal to keep it going amid a 30% increase in demand for its services.

It was also affected by a 65% reduction in people leaving a gift in their will and the decline in the high street, which saw its shop sales fall by 15%.

Speaking after trustees met last week to discuss its position, chairman Barry Rinaldi said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to our crisis appeal. We have received £214,000 of donations and notifications, with much activity pledged for January.

“As a charity which relies solely on voluntary donations, the trustees have been overwhelmed by the response to our appeal.

“At this halfway point, we are confident that if our local communities continue to support us that Wessex Cancer Trust has a future.”

As well as asking for donations, the trustees have been taking other action to secure the charity’s future.

Mr Rinaldi said: “We continue to review our retail portfolio and explore opportunities to increase its profitability.

“Following the difficult but responsible decision to close our Overton shop in November, we shut our Waterlooville shop at the end of December and gave notice to close our Cosham store.

“I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to support our shops in a very challenging environment.”

The charity is also consulting with local councillors and MPs on the delays it experiences with the probate process.

While “still in a delicate situation”, Mr Rinaldi said the charity had a “robust strategy” and trustees would meet again at the beginning of February to evaluate the success of the appeal.

He added: “We want to emerge stronger and can only do this with your help. What drives us is knowing how different our local communities will look without us.

“January marks the start of some exciting fundraising events and there has never been a better time to get involved. We urge you to help us if you can.”

To donate £10, text ‘SAVEWESSEX’ to 70085. Donations can also be made online at www.justgiving.com/campaign/savewessexcancertrust.

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