Thursday 24th September 2020

Coronavirus has had a huge impact on young people with cancer, increasing their isolation and amplifying their loneliness has meant our work – making sure that young people don’t face cancer alone – is needed more than ever. 

Like many organisations, the Coronavirus crisis hit us hard. But, despite a sudden and significant drop in income, we have maintained all our frontline services for young people with cancer and found innovative, safe new ways of reaching them.  

Now, to ensure we are there for generations of young people to come, we are proposing changes to the charity’s structures and roles, while ensuring our frontline nurses and Youth Support Coordinators working in the NHS are protected and supported.  

The financial reality 

We love our supporters – they really are the best. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, they have continued to be there for young people with cancer. From our legendary corporate partners to our brilliant new Facebook fundraisers, they have gone the extra mile and more.  

But the reality is that much of our fundraising has relied on face to face activity, physical challenges and music events. Our 30th Anniversary shows at the Royal Albert Hall, which were set to open on March 23rd were cruelly curtailed. This alone cause a £1 million pound loss in income. 

We now predict our income in 2020 to be £6 million down – that’s a reduction of a third. We’ve found savings where we can. To keep our services going: we have used the Government’s Furlough scheme which has been a short-term lifeline for us; we’ve frozen recruitment and our brilliant charity staff took a voluntary, temporary pay cut. Thanks to these difficult choices we have been able to weather the storm.  

Inspiration and innovation 

Throughout the last six months, young people with cancer and our frontline teams have inspired us to carry on. Our frontline teams never stopped providing the crucial care and support that young people with cancer needed – they even provided more support, reaching young people we could not support before. 

When face to face activity became impossible, they used Zoom and Skype to provide virtual support. We’ve created innovative online information and advice and built digital communities of peer support.  

When the crisis is over, we will be grateful to have learned from these innovative developments that have accelerated what we can do and helped us do more. 

Building back stronger 

The world we live and work in has changed - in addition to cutting costs we also need to adapt to reflect the significant changes to how we fundraise and how young people need our support in these extraordinary times. 

Our focus is on protecting all current frontline delivery and growing innovative new services. Young people have never needed us more and we are not cutting back on support.  

So, we have now begun consulting with our staff on a proposed set of changes to roles and structures. If implemented, we will become a leaner charity and an organisation that is in better shape to face the future. 

This is a difficult time for our fantastic staff team, some of whom may end up leaving the charity they love and the cause they care so deeply about. We are committed to consulting with them thoroughly, treating them with kindness and respect and truly living our values.  

Tough as they are, the choices we have made and the plans we are proposing are necessary if we are to be there for young people with cancer for many generations to come.  

30 years ago, Teenage Cancer Trust was created to ensure young people would not have to face cancer alone. We won’t stop – can’t stop - being there for them, now and in the future.  

Kate Collins, Chief Executive 

P.S It 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.