25th Nov, 2020

Solihull breast cancer care centre falls victim to pandemic as closure announced

John Carlon 30th Jul, 2020

A RESPITE centre for breast cancer patients in Solihull will close, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Breast Cancer Haven’s centre in Olton has been forced to shut as the pandemic caused funds to be plummet by a half.

The chief executive of Breast Cancer Haven, Sally Hall, said redundancy consultations had started with staff who work for the charity in Solihull.

Therapies including massage, beauty treatments and counselling were provided by the centre in St Bernard’s Road.

In a statement, Ms Hall said : “For over 20 years Breast Cancer Haven has been providing free one to one physical, emotional and practical support to anyone affected by breast cancer. All our centres were forced to close their doors at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and still remain closed. It is uncertain when we will be able to resume in-person and touch therapy appointments with our visitors.

“We have taken the difficult decision to permanently close two of our regional support centres. The closure of the Wessex centre in Titchfield and the West Midlands centre in Solihull is a necessary strategic decision made to safeguard the future of the charity. Because of the coronavirus pandemic the charity has been faced with a 50 per cent shortfall in voluntary income and must restructure to protect our vital support services for the future.

“At the beginning of lockdown we took immediate and decisive steps to reduce the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis by all staff taking a 20% reduction in salary and using the Government furlough scheme. While these measures helped in the short term, the longer-term impact of the loss of income has put the future of the charity at risk.

“The decision to close two of our centres has not been taken lightly. Unfortunately, the financial conditions imposed by the pandemic have left us very little choice, and we must put the people who have breast cancer and their families at the heart of our decisions, to ensure we are able to be there for them in the future.

“In addition to closing two centres permanently, we are also reducing the number of people who work for the charity with planned redundancies. A redundancy consultation process has begun with all those staff affected by the closures. We will be devastated to see any of our colleagues go and I want to thank them for working so hard to ensure the highest level of care has always been given to the people who use our services.

“These changes form part of Breast Cancer Haven’s revised strategy, which is to reduce spending in line with our projected income, making our services more accessible, and rethinking our delivery model to reach more people.”

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