After a difficult 2020, we’re more determined than ever to make a difference in the year ahead.
And we’re perhaps better placed to do so too, having learned a range of new skills in the face of unprecedented challenges. Not only have we improved our mastery of technology in reaching and supporting as many clients as possible; we’ve also invested in training and systems to help us adjust to the ‘new normal’ which could continue for some time.
Admittedly, the pandemic has prevented us from supporting as many clients as we would have liked to.
Our small team has, however, delivered thousands of sessions to people living with cancer over the last year. The latest available data shows that we delivered 5,760 sessions to 1,006 people across 13 venues in the year to March 2020. And we’ve helped many more in the remaining nine months of 2020. Given that our team consists of only 15 part time staff, or the equivalent of seven full time employees, this is a resounding amount of support for people with cancer in the North East.
Of those supported, 67 per cent were female and the majority (74 per cent) were over 51. In fact, more than half (53 per cent) were 61-plus. The most in-demand services were auricular acupuncture (30 per cent), reiki (16 per cent), reflexology (11 per cent) and counselling (10 per cent).
This year we have increasingly moved into the digital world – and staff have responded fantastically, learning new approaches and embedding appropriate changes.
Because of Covid-19, many people with cancer have had to isolate. Meanwhile, start / stop government guidelines have caused a rollercoaster-like delivery schedule in terms of personal, face-to-face services. But we’re now ready and raring to get started on delivering a great service for our clients next year.
In 2021 we plan to work with other VCSE organisations more, and are delighted to be in the North East region’s Cancer Support Network. We will also be working with primary care networks and other NHS partners to ensure that we add value to the crucial work they do for cancer patients. In the meantime, our coaching and counselling services will continue throughout the winter months.
We hope all our clients have a wonderful festive break; and that we’re able to restore our face-to-face, hands-on services in the post-vaccine world.