Friday 13th March 2020
Like all charities, we have been evaluating the current and potential impact of Coronavirus/COVID-19 across all of our work. We are closely monitoring Government advice and considering what implications this has for Teenage Cancer Trust on a daily basis. Our focus is on ensuring the safety of young people, staff, volunteers and supporters, whilst continuing to provide outstanding services to young people with cancer.
Our immediate priority has been to ensure we are able to offer clear, consistent and helpful information to those with, those who have had and those looking after people with cancer. We were delighted to come together with a cross-sector group of cancer charities to do this and the One Cancer Voice guidance on how to minimise risk can be found here. It’s based on current guidance and will be updated and added to as - and if - advice changes.
We’ve also considered if any of our services or activities supporting young people with cancer need to change. All of our units across the UK and our expert teams of specialist nurses and youth support coordinators are continuing to deliver vital care and support to young people and their families as they go through treatment. Additionally, all hospital-based peer support activities are continuing and decisions on this are being guided by the individual local NHS Trusts where the activities happen.
We have paused all non-hospital-based peer support meetings for March and April and will keep this under rolling review. As part of this we have cancelled the Ultimate Backstage Experience, our annual series of music workshops for young people that take place during our Royal Albert Hall concerts.
This leads me to a wider update about our annual week of shows at the Royal Albert Hall – scheduled for the week commencing Monday 23 March 2020. These shows are made possible by the generosity and commitment of artists, fans and the wider music industry and the funds they raise are vital to our work.
In the last 24 hours, two of our performers – The Who and Mumford and Sons - have postponed their shows and we wholly respect their decisions. We know that supporters and fans who have bought tickets for The Who want to know when we will re-schedule or whether they will get a refund. We don’t have all of these answers right now, but we are working hard on them and will let you know as soon as we can.
The bigger question is whether we can go ahead with the rest of the shows. The current position is that they are going ahead. We are working closely with artists and their management and will, of course, be guided by the most up to date advice from Government. Our priority will be the safety of all involved.
Once we have updated answers to these questions, we will update again. In particular, we’ll let you know about re-scheduling of shows and what we are doing with tickets, as soon as we possibly can.
Meanwhile, like every organisation, we are working hard to ensure the health and safety of our staff and volunteers. I’d like to thank all of the team – those in the charity and those in NHS roles across the UK – along with our network of supporters for their ongoing commitment to ensuring that cancer doesn’t stop young people from living their lives.
CEO, Teenage Cancer Trust