Update on Cancer Research Wales’s Response to the Covid-19 Crisis   

Over the past month, like many charities, Cancer Research Wales has had to adapt quickly to this crisis, as the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is being felt across the World, the UK, and here in Wales.  

As we navigate through these uncertain times, I wanted to give you an update on the vital work we are doing, and some of the difficult but appropriate measures we have taken, to ensure we continue with our mission to create better outcomes for people with cancer in Wales now and in the future.  

Improving the health and outcomes for people affected by cancer through our world class research has always been at the forefront of what we do and that will never change. 

We are continuing to follow public health guidelines and government measures in response to the coronavirus to ensure that the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, supporters and beneficiaries are protected.  


Our research
 

As a result of the major disruption to all clinical pathways across Wales, and the closure of University research departments for the foreseeable future, we have taken the very difficult but prudent decision to postpone our annual grant call which was due to  launch in April 2020.   

This postponement  will help to  ensure  that our high standards of research excellence and output are not compromised, and that every pound raised by our generous supporters is spent in the most effective way. 

Cancer Research Wales remains committed to all of its current portfolio of research and is actively working with recipient institutions to provide support and guidance to all of our funded students and staff at this difficult time.  

   

Understanding concerns about cancer and coronavirus 

Due to the emphasis on Covid-19 the three Wales screening programmes, Bowel, Cervical and Breast, have been temporarily  suspended. This will have a direct impact on people with cancer in Wales and we understand that this must be adding to their worries during what is already a distressing time.  

The delays in diagnosis that will occur during this time will have far-reaching effects for many with cancer, both now and into the future. When we do emerge from this, the work of Cancer Research Wales will be more needed than ever and we are  doing all we can to ensure that the charity is in a fit position to build a better future for people with cancer in Wales.  

Along with other cancer charities, we are an active member of the Wales Cancer Alliance and the Wales Cancer Network. This enables us to monitor developments in Health and Social Care to ensure the needs of people with Cancer and their loved ones are considered and represented at government levels in line with the One Cancer Voice guidance.  

 

The financial impact  

Whilst the need for investment into cancer research has never been greater, we are seeing our fundraising income dropping significantly day by day.  

We have had to close our chain of charity shops and most of our fundraising activities and events this year have been cancelled or postponed, including our annual Brecon Night Hike in Memory of the young Tom Walker who lost his life to Cancer in 2018.  

Based on current projections, we expect our annual income to fall between 35% – 50% as a result of this crisis. This is consistent with other charities who experiencing the similar challenges during what is an unprecedented time for the third sector.  

i would like to take the opportunity to thank our amazing partners and supporters for their acts of kindness and generosity and hope that this will continue into the future as we need you now more than ever. Today we were extremely grateful to one of our shop landlords who has voluntarily given us a rent break for three months. A very welcome contribution. 

 

Adapting to change  

Following government guidelines we have had to adapt to a new and fast moving working environment. All office-based colleagues are now working remotely from home whilst continuing to provide essential operational support to the charity under challenging circumstances. For any information and support you can still contact us by emailing crw@wales.nhs.uk 


Today’s research is tomorrow’s health 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many organisations and institutions find themselves travelling through unchartered waters, with so much uncertainly ahead. Cancer Research Wales is no different. However, our hard-working and dedicated staff remain determined as ever to make a difference were we can by supporting world-class cancer research in Wales. 

When COVID-19 is eventually brought under control, it will not be the end of the crisis. There will still be many casualties, including cancer patients who may not have been directly infected by the virus, but indirectly affected through possible delays to cancer diagnosis and treatment. As we move forward, research will be critical to help us learn lessons from the current pandemic, refine our cancer pathways and ensure that excellent research can be embedded at the very heart of the NHS.  

Today’s research is tomorrow’s health, and our researchers will be more needed than ever to make up for lost time in the fight against cancer. Cancer Research Wales will be there to ensure they are supported as they continue to make a difference for cancer patients across Wales.  

Without doubt the current dangers that COVID-19 poses to society will eventually become a thing of the past. However, the fear and heartbreak that cancer causes will remain for many years to come.  

With your help and continued support we can emerge stronger than ever from the current climate, and as will be the case for COVID-19, maybe we can resign most cancers to the history books too.  

 

Ann Tate 
Chief Executive
Cancer Research Wales