March 2021 at 6.00pm
At Cancer Connections we had to close our premises to visitors on 16th March 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Concerns about the virus, the reluctance of many people to visit hospital and the hospitals’ reduced cancer investigation services have caused considerable anxiety but also a reduction in the number of people contacting Cancer Connections. For those who have contacted us, we have been able to help as usual, mainly by telephone.
After taking advice from local Public Health staff we had planned to re-open last September (2020) but with the high continued infection rate, that was not possible. While some staff have been furloughed (and received the relevant government financial reimbursement), Deborah Roberts has answered all the telephone calls and helped in any way possible. Kathryn Cox has continued to be busy assisting with welfare benefits advice and claims, by telephone, email and post. Brenda Errington has worked part-time to manage our finances meticulously, and our counsellors have been busy supporting people by telephone counselling and personal video calls; Reg Hall has been able to provide information for people concerned about their cancer diagnosis or treatment.
Complementary therapies and home visits have not been possible but we are taking advice from Public Health and will re-commence “normal” activities just as soon as possible.
Telephone support for people with cancer isolated by Covid restrictions.
During periods of lockdown we have become aware of people doing their best to cope with cancer but struggling because of social isolation. With the help of a special grant from the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, we have started a new service to meet this need. Danielle Roberts now has a growing list of people living alone, known to Cancer Connections or referred by the Community teams, who she is able to speak with by telephone every week. If members know of other people who might be helped by this support please contact Deborah Roberts.
In recent years staff and volunteers at Cancer Connections have donated to purchase food and toys to make up Christmas hampers for families with cancer suffering particular financial hardship. In December 2020 we were able to distribute these to 28 families, helped considerably by a generous grant from ASDA.
Not surprisingly, fundraising and donations to our charity have fallen during the past year but some supporters were able arrange events when restrictions were lifted whilst others have continued to donate. Regular monthly standing order gifts have been very valuable – if you have not considered this before why not contact our office and arrange to do so?
In January we were surprised and delighted to receive a very generous legacy that has helped to redress the other fall in income. We are also particularly grateful to those who did their own sponsored Great North Run and Boxing Day Dip on our behalf. Although we have drawn on our reserves, our financial situation is still secure. A summary of the charity’s annual accounts to 31st March 2020 was included for approval by the AGM.