Macmillan Cancer Support has announced plans to make 310 redundancies in the face of an expected loss of £175m in fundraised income in the next two years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The cuts, which are part of an effort to protect the charity’s critical cancer services, could affect more than one in six of the charity’s 1,893-strong workforce.
It will launch a consultation on the proposed redundancies on 5 October.
In a blog published today, Lynda Thomas, chief executive of the charity, said she hoped to be able to protect the Macmillan nurses service and helpline, which have been heavily affected by the coronavirus, and called on the government and public to ensure that cancer does not become the forgotten ‘C’ in the pandemic.
Macmillan, which relies on public donations for 98 per cent of its income, brought in £235.7m in 2019.
Shortly after lockdown came into effect, the charity launched its first emergency appeal, which has so far raised £1.5m.
But Thomas said that, like other charities, Macmillan had seen “a significant decline in income” since March as a result of the postponement and cancellation of fundraising events and a struggling economy.
Despite the determination and commitment of the charity’s fundraising teams, she said, the charity’s voluntary income could be down by as much as £175m by the end of 2022.
Macmillan's flagship fundraising event, the annual Coffee Morning, is due to take place this Friday, allowing participants to use socially distanced and virtual formats, but the charity is expecting it to make £20m less than last year – a fall of 71 per cent.
In a statement, the charity said it had made efforts to combat the drop in funding through cost-saving measures including stopping all non-essential expenditure, furloughing approximately 30 per cent of the workforce, introducing a recruitment freeze, closing some of its offices and suspending the annual salary review, but had been “unable to avoid cuts to jobs”.
Thomas said in a statement that she had been “incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication of Macmillan employees, professionals, partners, supporters and volunteers” for their work to provide in-depth support to 1.9 million people with cancer during the crisis.
“But the scale and nature of the coronavirus has had a catastrophic impact on our finances that no one could have anticipated, and we are devastated to have to make this tough decision,” she said.
“Our people are at the heart of everything we do and we are absolutely committed to ensuring that this is managed equitably and fairly, and that all impacted colleagues are treated with compassion and care.”
She said adequate funding for charities and public support through donations and volunteering was “more vital than ever”.
In her blog, she said the past six months had been some of the hardest the organisation had ever faced.
“To say that today is the darkest day of my career is no exaggeration,” she said.
“I am truly devastated to have to do this, and it is not a decision we have taken lightly.”
The charity said its two key priorities would be supporting the urgent restoration of access to quality cancer care for everyone and ensuring people with cancer received financial support to cope with cancer in crisis.