In last month’s The Closer Look, our Centre Managers shared how they quickly set up telephone helplines, moved services online and developed useful information and resources when the coronavirus pandemic forced us to close the doors of our Support Centres, so we could continue to be here for local people living with cancer.
Every month, it costs £100,000 to run our community-based services. Like most small charities, our ability to provide this free-of-charge support depends on the money we raise through a packed calendar of fundraising and events. From bucket collections to our flagship event, Walk for Hope, it was heartbreaking to have to postpone, cancel or change the format of almost all of the activities we had planned for the foreseeable future because of the pandemic.
Charlotte von Sicard, our Regional Community Manager, said:
“Whilst we knew the impact would be hard on us as a charity, we never lost sight of the effect it would have on the communities and individuals who rely on us if we couldn’t carry on raising money. But as we entered uncertain times, knowing many people would be facing their own personal financial worries and anxieties, we also knew there would still be an army of supporters wanting to make a difference to the lives of others at their time of need.”
If our supporters couldn’t come to our events, we needed to come up with ways we could take our events to them by moving them online. Charlotte’s team sprang into action, creating imaginative, fun and cost-effective online experiences for participants to enjoy from the comfort of their sofas.
There’s been plenty to choose from, as Charlotte explains:
“We’re constantly humbled by our supporters and they’ve continued to be amazing during lockdown. We’ve seen a team from Winchester City Council attempt to walk the equivalent of Land’s End to John O Groats for our Move It May event and clients who are shielding have downloaded our stay-at-home quizzes to play with friends and family.
Maria, our fabulous Community Engagement Manager, has hosted two evenings of virtual Bingo in her sparkly bow tie and waistcoat, which has been great fun! We were blown away that over 90 people signed up for the first one, and as far as we know we’re the only charity doing it. We’ve even had another charity get in touch to find out how it’s done! We’ve recently launched our 34-page family activity pack to keep your household entertained during lockdown, celebrity ‘Who Am I?’ cards, cross-stitch patterns of our mascot, Wolly the lion, and we’re making plans for some larger virtual events over the summer. It goes without saying that we can’t wait until we can all meet up again in person, but in the meantime, we’re incredibly grateful to all of our supporters who are trying new ways of giving from the safety of their own homes, and having a lot of fun in the process!
For now, physical events may be on hold, but the show goes on via digital fundraising and there are lots of ways you can still make a difference.”