It is safe to say that, like most of society over recent months, our charity has undergone massive changes in order to continue providing vital services.
And like most organisations, technology has played a key part in maintaining vital lines of communication and support for those in need. Our counselling team have restarted with the support of new cloud phone technology, allowing them to reconnect with our clients, and, from September, we will be introducing secure video meetings via dedicated media tablets.
Whilst we realise that the adoption of these technologies is far from the comfort afforded by face to face support, we are pleased to be there for our clients once more, particularly at a time of such uncertainty.
Our specialist counselling services are delivered by staff qualified through the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), all of whom specialise in cancer and bereavement. And speaking on their behalf, I can say that they are all immensely proud to be able to provide their support at this time.
We have also made good progress towards opening our centre in Cramlington and plan to see members of the public who can visit us securely from September. Our centre has been Covid assessed and we will be ensuring the safety of our visitors by using the correct PPE, adhering to social distancing, and carrying out regular deep cleaning.
We will also soon be restarting our Auricular Acupuncture therapy now that restrictions have been lifted. Many of our clients are referred for this treatment following radiotherapy and chemotherapy pathways as it offers a welcome respite from some side effects. As we only moved into our new premises in Cramlington two weeks before lockdown, we are currently awaiting the local authority to finalise our licence for this service but hope to have it up and running by September.
Government guidelines and advice resulting from NHS risk assessments have meant that all of our complementary therapies usually delivered in hospitals throughout the region have stopped. However, we hope to offer complimentary therapies at our centre in Cramlington later on in the year, as well as introduce a new ‘Coaching for Living with Cancer’ programme for all those affected by cancer. To help us reach more people, we are also currently seeking another site for delivery of these services south of the River Tyne.
Unfortunately, Government guidelines and restrictions within hospitals have also led to a shortage in funding from some of our NHS partners. As this funding was allocated from patient funds (mainly through oncology wards) restrictions on footfall has led to a marked funding shortfall. However, we are working hard to secure alternative income streams in order to retain our Therapy Team and range of services for the future.
Step by step our services and support for those affected by cancer are opening up and we are glad to be able to help those feeling particularly vulnerable at this time. We continue to innovate and work on projects designed to develop and expand our services throughout the North East, including Enterprise Development with Occupational Health Teams, training in Cancer Care and Support, as well as a new Fundraising Strategy.
Please contact us if you can support us in any way, thank you for your continued engagement.