Not for Profit

Published: January 16, 2020 | Updated: January 17, 2020

Charity hit by ‘perfect’ storm now over a third of the way to reaching crisis appeal target

Professional counselling is among the many services offered by Wessex Cancer Trust.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A charity which had appealed to Dorset businesses to help in its hour of need after hitting a ‘perfect storm’ is now over a third of the way to reaching its £600,000 target.

Wessex Cancer Trust announced last month that it was launching a crisis appeal to raise the money by January 31 or risk closure.

The charity, which has been supporting local families for almost 40 years, had been hit by:

  • A 30 per cent increase in demand for its services this year.
  • A 65 per cent reduction in people leaving a gift in their will.
  • A decline in the high street which has seen its shop sales fall by 15 per cent.
  • A large, previously notified gift has been delayed.

Trustees of the self-funded charity, which provides free emotional and practical support to anyone living with cancer in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, have now met at the halfway point of the crisis appeal.

The aim was 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, pictured left, 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.

“We are currently consulting with local councillors and MPs on the delays we are witnessing with the probate process.

“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. ”

Mr Rinaldi said while the charity was making “good progress” with the appeal and was in a position to look to the future “we are still in a delicate situation.”

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.”            

The Trustees will meet again at the beginning of next month to evaluate the success of the appeal.