An open letter to the Council voicing the concern of the threat to "a wonderful 'beacon' resource for all Wandsworth residents with cancer, and their carers"-
which may have to close if the Council carries out a cut to its funding.
February 4th 2004
The grant from WBC is the essential underpinning that makes it possible for us to exist and to raise extra funds to develop our services. You may not be aware that if the Centre’s core grant from Wandsworth is withdrawn, the Centre will have to close, ecause we will not be able to pay the rent and employ the key staff who enable the services to be run.
We need to make it absolutely clear to you that it is not the case that alternative funding sources are available to replace the grant we receive from WBC. Wandsworth’s grant pays for the Centre’s rent, and basic administrative costs. Non-statutory funders do not respond to appeals to pay costs of this kind. In addition, a high proportion of funders explicitly say they will not replace lost statutory funding. Wandsworth’s grant of £37,200 enabled the Centre to raise a further £244,210 in 2002-03, for the provision of cancer support services in this area.
The Centre makes extensive efforts to secure additional funding sources for the its work from trusts and companies, and through events. We are currently in discussion with Wandsworth Primary Care Trust, who are considering funding some of our services. The South West London Cancer Network is very supportive of the help provided by the Centre to people with cancer and their carers within the community, and remunerates the Centre for the service user forums organised at the Centre. Many of the Centre’s services have a particularly local focus in Wandsworth, such as our home visits by volunteers, our outreach work with black and Asian communities, and the complementary therapies and groups at the Centre, which are most easily accessed by the local population. You will find statistics for the usage of services in the attached Annual Review. 55% of those using services in person (as opposed to people using services such as the website) live in Wandsworth.
We recognise the very difficult situation the Council is in with regard to central Government finances. We are by no means relying on the Borough to fund all the services we provide for the local community. However, the Borough’s contribution is vital to the continuation of the Centre’s core functions.
The loss of the Centre’s services would be a great blow to our current users, and would mean that support, information, advice and visits at home would no longer be provided to Wandsworth residents. You may know from experiences you have had of serious illness, just what a difference this kind of help can make to individuals who are ill, and to their families.
The Centre is recognised as successful and innovative in the services it has developed. For example, our Home Visiting Service won the Nationwide Award for Voluntary endeavour in 2000. The Centre was also selected from over 400 applicants as a runner-up in the Guardian Charity Awards in 2002, “a significant achievement” in a process in which the “standard of entries was exceptionally high”. People from many parts of the UK and abroad have sought our advice as to how they can set up similar services, and our publications Lifeline and the Home Visiting Service Manual have been produced to meet this need. In 2003 two much needed publications about cancer in Asian languages were launched by the Centre , funded by the New Opportunities Fund, and demand for these quickly reached thousands. Wandsworth’s role in supporting the innovative work we have done has always been publicised to those visiting the Centre for information and advice, as well as in all our literature.
Dr Ian Gibson MP, Chair of the House of Commons All Party Group on Cancer, commented in October 2003
‘The importance of community-based organisations in providing urgent front-line services to those affected by cancer cannot be underestimated. I am pleased to have the opportunity to express my support for the work that the Cancer Resource Centre does.’
Professor Karol Sikora, former head of the Cancer Programme at the World Health Organisation and Professor of Cancer Medicine at Imperial College, London said in October 2003
‘Community based initiatives are vital to ensure that patients not only get the best treatment possible but also the best psychosocial support as close as possible to their homes. This charity is a pioneer, providing the community it serves with unique support. The Centre is a beacon for the future of cancer care’
We ask you to reconsider the proposal before you in the light of the significant impact that the closure of the Centre would have on the residents of the Borough.
February 6, 2004