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Against Rising Costs And Soaring Demand Cancer Charity Forced To Re-Think

12th Feb 2024
Against Rising Costs And Soaring Demand  Cancer Charity Forced To Re-Think
An award-winning cancer charity, struggling to match funding against soaring demand for its free day-to-day help, has been given a “fantastic” boost by Durham City’s Freemen

Against Rising Costs And Soaring Demand, Cancer Charity Forced To Re-Think

The freemen’s £2,000 gift will be used to streamline bespoke services delivered to hundreds of patients and bereaved families from the Spennymoor headquarters of the Solan, Connor, Fawcett Cancer Trust, established over eight years ago.

Founder, Mark Solan, who launched the venture after the cancer claimed the lives of both his mother and grandmother said the organization was having to re-think its approach.

“Advances in treatment means terminally ill patients are surviving longer – sometimes for up to ten years. It’s great news but it means more people need our help and support for much longer. Alongside the cost of living crisis, our own costs are rising and with the NHS on its knees, we are having to rethink what we do and how we do it – as any other business would,” said Mark.

“But we could not do what we do without the incredible generosity of people like the freemen,” he added.

In 2017, the year the fledgling service gained charitable status, Mark received a regional prize in the Pride of Britain Awards, followed two years later by recognition from the then Prime Minister Theresa May who marked his community work with a “Point of Light Certificate.”

In addition to responding to calls for help from cancer patients and their families, the charity – supported by a 36-strong team of volunteers – also responds to referrals from Macmillan Cancer Support, St Cuthbert’s Hospice and the NHS.

One of the changes planned at the substantial headquarters is the switch of the wellness centre to an unused former ground floor shop to provide more services – which include counselling, complimentary therapy, hair and beauty and a wig bank – giving easier access for a growing number of patients with mobility issues.

The ages of those receiving support range from just a few months to pensioners in their 90s.

At the end of January the charity was supporting 253 adults and children with an active cancer diagnosis; 100 adults and children in remission but still needing practical and emotional help; 63 people who had lost loved ones; and 113 who had been discharged and in remission. During the same period a total of 147 people who had received help were reported to have died.

The charity offers help with fuel costs, groceries and transport to hospital appointments, while tradesmen, cleaners and gardeners are on hand to offer household services. Those with mobility problems have access to wheelchairs, mobility scooters and chairlifts. Donations are vital and extra funds are raised through coffee mornings and social events

“It is a privilege to support Mark and his dedicated and caring team who provide an invaluable service to the local and wider community of Durham, especially when the major support services are under so much pressure,” said Eric Bulmer, chairman of the freemen’s charitable trust.