Monday 14th December 2020

In late September I updated you on the challenges Teenage Cancer Trust is facing because of our devastating loss of income in 2020. I wrote about how this meant we were entering a period of consultation with colleagues about proposed changes that would reduce the size of the team.

I am now writing to update on what has happened since.

Without a doubt, this has been an incredibly challenging three months for everyone.

I have been deeply impressed by the way every team member has engaged with the consultation; each of them has embodied our values of being determined, spirited, united and kind – looking after each other and, often, those leading the change proposals too. There’s been a united focus on what is best for young people with cancer and everyone has continued to give their all to the day job despite the uncertainty of proposed changes and redundancy.

I am so grateful to all the colleagues who gave feedback on the proposed changes. They challenged some of our thinking and, as a result, we made some changes that will make the re-shaped charity stronger than if we had proceeded without taking feedback on board.

Thank You

Last week we moved to our new structures and that meant we had to say thank you and goodbye to 19 of our talented, committed and skilful colleagues – our friends. These are not names or numbers on a list – they are people who have given many years of outstanding commitment to making sure young people do not face cancer alone. I know they would not be leaving if the impact of Coronavirus had not demanded these changes and I also know we are a stronger organisation for having worked with them all. I am so grateful to them and very sorry to see them leave. 

Although change like this is challenging, it sees us emerge as an organisation with the best chance of increasing our impact and being able to do more, not less, for young people with cancer. 

An Unstoppable Community

My absolute confidence that we will be able to do more not less is because of the remarkable – and unstoppable – community of people that make up Teenage Cancer Trust. From our founders to our frontline teams, the driving belief that cancer is different when you’re young – and that there needs to be a specialist, expert organisation doing everything possible to champion the needs of young people with cancer – runs as a golden thread through us all.

This year has taught us that as a charity and as individuals we are stronger, more creative, more resilient and more determined than we knew. It has shown that our frontline staff in the NHS are more committed, passionate, courageous and kind than we could ever have imagined. It’s shown us that people care deeply about changing the lives of young people with cancer and we have seen our partners and supporters – longstanding and new – step up this year more than ever. 

Without the drive of our supporters we would have needed to potentially put our frontline services at risk and we never forget that it is donations and support that make our work possible. At a time when our work has never been more needed it is only right that we have never been more grateful.

Saying goodbye to colleagues in these circumstances has been incredibly tough. But the Teenage Cancer Trust community is an unstoppable force and our 30th Anniversary year has proved it. 2021 has lots of challenges on the horizon – but there’s hope, determination and drive too – and I very much look forward to a brighter 2021. 

Kate Collins, Chief Executive 

P.S It still goes without saying that we need your support more than ever, so if you are able to support our emergency appeal you can donate here.