A crisis appeal has been launched to save Wessex Cancer Trust. The charity, which spans the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Dorset, needs to raise £600,000 by 31 January or it may have to close, say its managers.

Scroll down to see and hear from some of those connected to Wessex Cancer Trust…

The charity provides support for more than 1,000 Islanders each year. It says it cannot stabilise its finances due to a 30 per cent increase in demand for its services, a 65 per cent cut in gifts left in wills and a delay to a large donation.

In March, the Wessex Cancer Trust was celebrating raising £100,000 in just a year, allowing it to open its newly-refurbished dedicated building in Newport. 

A cycling event at Isle of Wight Radio helped raise cash in 2019

The Wessex Cancer Trust has been running for almost 40 years and annually supports around 11,000 people through its four cancer support centres. It also provides transport on its Daisy Buses, as well as outreach services and its Sing for Life choir. 

Hear CEO Cait Allen speaking to Isle of Wight Radio’s Lucy Morgan:

The annual Inflatable Rainbow Run has quickly become a staple part of the fundraising year

Barry Rinaldi, Wessex Cancer Trust’s Chairman, said: 

“We do not receive any Government funding and rely on voluntary donations and fundraising to run our services. One in two of us will get cancer and an increasing number of us are living longer after a cancer diagnosis meaning more and more people will need us in the future. 

“Throughout 2019, we have been working hard to ensure we can continue to meet the growing and diverse needs of people living with cancer in the future. We have recently launched a new strategy which outlines how we will evolve our services to care for every single person in a way that best meets their individual needs. In the long term, this will enable us to help more people and improve our financial sustainability. But we’ve been struggling to stabilise our financial situation. We have worked tirelessly to explore all income sources and make cost savings, but now have no other option than to ask for urgent help.

“This is not a Christmas appeal or a planned campaign, it is a last resort. We have never needed to run a crisis appeal before but now urgently need to raise £600,000 by 31 January 2020. If we fail, we will not be there for the 165,000 people who will be facing a cancer diagnosis by 2030 and their loved ones.

“This would be a heartbreaking end to almost four decades of crucial support and it is particularly upsetting given our plans for the future of local cancer care. For almost 40 years we have supported local families through their toughest times. Now we are facing ours and urge you to help us if you can.

“We know the Isle of Wight community has already worked tirelessly to sustain and improve our services over the past 18 months. Both the Daisy Bus and Isle of Wight support centre appeals were an incredible success and we hope Islanders will stand by us in our time of need to ensure these services can continue to help local people affected by cancer for many years to come.”