How’s it all going at Wessex Cancer Support?

Our CEO, Rachel Billsberry-Grass, shares her thoughts at the mid-year point.

At the beginning of each year, we set out how we’re going to deliver our activities and aims. As we reach this year’s mid-point, it’s so encouraging to read some of the feedback from clients that have accessed our services during the first six months of 2023.

What are they saying?

“Every time I come into the support centre, I am made to feel so very welcome. It is fairly special. This has definitely been very beneficial to improving my overall wellbeing during such a difficult time. Thank you all.”  

“A wonderful place which has helped me enormously. You are providing an amazing service.” 

“Coming here has turned my life around. I have made some very good friends [and] I look forward to coming here every week.” 

How many people have we supported?

More than 1000 people have already benefitted from our support services this year, plus many more who have travelled on our Daisy Buses. A couple of busier centres now have waiting lists for some services. We strive to keep waiting time as short as possible so we can offer personalised support at the time it’s most needed, and we’re working hard to increase our resources. If you’re waiting for a particular treatment, please drop by for a cup of tea and a catch up with our staff and volunteers any time, but particularly if you’re having a difficult day.  

Accessing services

We know that there are many more people throughout Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight who might not yet feel that our support is accessible to them. For example, they live too far away from one of our centres, or they are not used to receiving the sort of support we offer. Our longer-term aim is to ensure that there’s cancer support for all, and during the past few months, we’ve been researching, developing and trialling ways to expand the reach of our services.  

Right now, we’re really excited to be building our online/remote services so we can reach more people who need support. Watch this space for more information later in the year. 

Financing our services

As a charity that receives no Government grants most years, in order to deliver our services we rely on the generosity of the people and organisations who support us. This might be through making a donation, fundraising, donating or buying from our shops, or leaving a gift in their will. I send my huge thanks to all of you, however you support us. 

Our aim to reach more people will mean our costs increase over future years, Over the past two years, we’ve been fortunate that several people have left substantial donations to Wessex Cancer Support in their respective wills. As well as giving us the opportunity to build our services, it means that we can invest in fundraising and retail to ensure that our services are sustainable in the future.  

To do that, we’ve recently recruited some new fundraising team members who will be focused on building funding relationships with organisations and companies. If you know of a company or organisation that could support us, please do get in touch with us at 

We’re delighted that people throughout Wessex continue to take part in our fundraising events, or run their own activities to raise thousands of pounds for the charity – thank you to all those dedicated supporters out there! 


In our shops, 2023 has been a good year so far with thanks to all the donors, customers and, of course, volunteers that give up their time to help out.  

Our volunteers are at the heart of everything we do

And, on that final note, the first week in June marks the annual Volunteers’ Week. I’m delighted that this national campaign gives a focus to acknowledge and say thank you for the tremendous commitment of volunteers – in our case the 200 or so people who volunteer in our centres, shops, office and at fundraising events. If you’d like to find out more about volunteering for Wessex Cancer Support, please click here.