All staff at risk as breast cancer charity suspends its services

All staff at Breast Cancer Haven are at risk of redundancy after trustees announced its services would be suspended because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a statement published on its website over the weekend, the charity said it had taken the decision to suspend operations “for the time being”, putting all of its staff – of whom there are about 26 – at risk of redundancy.

According to the charity’s latest accounts, for the year to the end of May 2020, it employed 67 staff and reported a total income of £3.8m. Total spending was nearly £4m.

But the charity said it had already made about 40 staff redundant since the pandemic began, and had been forced to close its five centres and other in-hospital face-to-face services. 

The charity's healthcare professionals will still provide individual support as well as online groups and classes up until the end of June, Breast Cancer Haven said, and it would honour all existing individual therapy appointments, while endeavouring to honour existing visitors’ full treatment plans if possible.

In addition, visitors with first consultations booked before 23 April would be able to access a maximum of four hours of individual therapy time, the charity said. 

It still has to raise a further £100,000 to deliver these services up until the end of June, and the charity said it welcomed any continued donations its supporters can give.

The statement said: "It is with huge sadness that Breast Cancer Haven’s board of trustees has made the extremely difficult decision to suspend operations for the time being.

"This means we will be pausing the delivery of our live online service and, with great regret, putting all our staff at risk of redundancy.

“Despite a series of cost-cutting measures, including saying goodbye to valued colleagues, we are not able to continue normal operations at this time. 

“This means that we will be pausing the delivery of our live online services that have helped around 1,800 people by providing over 10,000 appointments since lockdown began in March 2020.”

The charity thanked its staff, volunteers and therapists and said it would make further announcements regarding its future as soon as possible.

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