18 March 2020

BLOG: CEO Frank provides update on 2020 season

This is a blog I didn’t want to have to write, but with the evolving Coronavirus situation, I felt I now needed to update you all about our plans for 2020.

As a charity who works with young people in recovery from cancer, we have, of course, been paying particularly close attention to the Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland advice, whilst also seeking insight and guidance from multiple experts within the fields of young people’s cancer care. We’d like to thank all those experts who we've been leaning on for advice over the past few weeks and we've acted in accordance with it, including running our Volunteer Training and Update Day in Birmingham at the start of the month.

There are more important things for us all to concentrate on than our trips this summer. But, we’re now at the point where it’s only fair to the young people and families we support, and the incredible skippers, volunteers and staff who work for us, that we’ve had to make some clear decisions about revising the 2020 schedule.

The changes

As it stands, we will not be running any activity, on or off the water, until mid-July at the earliest. That sadly includes our Volunteer Training and Update Day in Edinburgh, scheduled for the end of this month, and all training for the young people who were going to become volunteers this year.

If, as hoped, our season does get underway in mid-July it will then be extended for a month longer than usual. The plan is to move the trips from the front end of the season to September. Hopefully, if we are returning to some sort of normality by mid-July, none of this will affect the under 18 trips that run during the school holidays.

In terms of the young people who were due to train as volunteers, they will understandably be disappointed, but we have made it clear to them all that we will guarantee them a place next year. When we do resume trips this year, they will be 'staffed' by experienced Trust volunteers alongside our contracted skippers.

Unfortunately none of us has a crystal ball so everything will remain under review. But all decisions will be made with the young people and the Trust team as the most important considerations. We will keep leaning on the medical experts to ensure the health of no young person we hope to support this year is put at unnecessary risk.

Wider impact

There is no escaping the fact all charities are going to see their income impacted by Coronavirus. From mass participation ‘challenge’ events and festivals possibly being postponed or cancelled, to the smaller scale bake sales and mufti days that will no longer be happening at spring fayres and in schools, our fundraising will take a hit. We are not in a crisis; we’re so fortunate to have some incredible funders and partners who are committed to continuing their support through this testing time. To have their backing and reassurance now is so important.

BUT WE DO NEED YOUR HELP

If there is something you can do, please consider doing it. This article will give you some ideas and inspiration about what might be possible now or towards the back end of the year, when, fingers crossed, we’re over the worst – What can I do? To still make a difference this year...

If you’re affected by the decisions we’ve made, or might make moving forwards, you will have either already heard directly from us or you will do if and when the time arises. We cannot say thank you enough for your understanding and continued support. We, like the rest of the charity sector, look forward to getting back to doing what we do best – making a difference to the lives of those who need us.

Please look after yourselves and each other, and if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at frank.fletcher@emcancertrust.org

Thank you,

Frank