06
April
2020

Coronavirus’ impact on our services and staff

Due to loss of fundraising income in the coming months, the difficult decision has been made to furlough the majority of our staff.  Staff which are fully or part funded by external bodies will continue all or part of their vital work. This means only the following will be operational:

Family Support service (visit www.cancerfocusni.org/familysupport for more info)

A reduced counselling service (visit www.cancerfocusni.org/counselling for details)

Stop smoking support (www.cancerfocusni.org/stopsmoking)

Skin cancer prevention work (www.careinthesun.org)

Our Chief Executive Roisin Foster has said:

“Cancer Focus NI is 90% dependent on our fundraising activities. With fundraising events unable to take place and our 13 charity shops closed, income for the charity has reduced to seriously low levels.

“In order to best ensure the charity’s survival we have had no choice but to cease all work that is not externally funded, and furlough our remaining employees.

“Many of our staff have said they are more than happy to continue to provide services while furloughed, but the government’s job retention scheme expressly forbids this. It’s regrettable that the scheme will pay people not to provide services that patients need so much.”

Our patient support services have been particularly badly affected with 75% of services being cut. This includes our nurse-led helpline, art therapy, volunteer driving and bra fitting service.

Roisin continued:

“Cancer patients are already under great stress, worried about treatment being delayed or cancelled for very understandable reasons. We are deeply concerned that we have no option but to reduce services when people need it most.  And the lack of support services throws even greater pressure back on the NHS.

“We’re urging the government to finalise a support package for the voluntary sector as soon as possible, so we can plan for how we’re going to come out the other end of this crisis and continue our vital work.”

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