Wessex Cancer Trust, a self-funded charity which provides free emotional and practical support to anyone living with cancer on the Isle of Wight, in Hampshire and Dorset, is making good progress with their crisis appeal to raise £600,000 by 31st January – but bosses say they are still in a delicate situation.
The charity, which has been supporting local families for almost 40 years, saw a 30% increase in demand for its services last year. 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%.
It was announced on 3rd December that the charity was launching a crisis appeal to raise £600,000 – or risk closure. To date, £214,000 has been raised with less than 3 weeks to go until the deadline of 31st.
Trustees met on Thursday (9th January) to assess the future financial security of the charity based on the response to the appeal so far.
Barry Rinaldi, Wessex Cancer Trust’s Chairman, has said:
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to our crisis appeal. During December and the first week of January, 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.
“Alongside asking for donations, the Trustees have been taking proactive action to secure our future. 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.
“ We are currently consulting with local Councillors and MPs on the delays we are witnessing with the probate process.
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“We are passionate about our mission to support the growing number of people affected by cancer and know this can only be achieved by having a clear vision and plan to deliver. We do have a robust strategy which we will continue to review over the coming month.
“To summarise, whilst we are making good progress with the appeal and are in a position to look to the future, we are still in a delicate situation. 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.”
The Trustees will meet again at the beginning of February to evaluate the success of the appeal, after which time a further statement will be given.
● Text ‘SAVEWESSEX’ to 70085 to donate £10. This costs £10 plus a standard rate message
● Donate online by visiting www.justgiving.com/campaign/savewessexcancertrust
● Organise a fundraising event or activity.
For more information about the appeal visit www.wessexcancer.org.uk/savewessexcancertrust.