In Charity News

“I’ve got a grade 3 oligodendroglioma and feel deeply sad that my precious time is jeopardised” – patient

This is the landscape we find ourselves in currently. People whose lives have already been devastatingly impacted by a brain tumour diagnosis, are now facing the added complexity and uncertainty that the nation is experiencing as a result of Coronavirus. Now more than ever, we need to be here for our community, but our fundraising capabilities have been decimated and we are working now with hugely limited resources.

Our Chief Executive, Will Jones, has filmed a video and written a letter to shed some light on the circumstances facing brainstrust and our community at this time:

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted on us all hugely. At brainstrust, with the cancellation of all events, we have effectively had to stop all public fundraising at our busiest time of year. There are no marathons or challenges taking place until the autumn, we have had to postpone the Follow the Seagulls Treks and community fundraising has ceased as families and friends can’t get together to support our work.

Supporter led income is vital to charities. It is unrestricted fundraising that can be used for our general work, and typically March, April, May and June are our busiest periods, that carry us through a quieter July and August.

The impact is a dramatic fall in income, probably around 60% during the Spring. We need to raise £52,000 each month to provide the support we do to thousands of people across the UK. We are now looking at around £30,000 in March, £16,000 in April and less than £10,000 in May. In the space of 10 days, we have shifted from planning for a year of growth in reach and impact, to planning for survival.

Without filling this hole in revenue (estimated to be about £250,000 all told) we won’t be able to be there for our patients at a time when they need us more than ever. They are facing delays to treatment, increased isolation and increased fear. Just yesterday I was talking to a recently diagnosed grandfather, who whilst feeling fit and well, has been told he cannot see his grandchildren, and that his chemotherapy has been delayed. We could be doing more to help, but instead we are facing having to do less simply because we don’t have the funds to deliver a service.

 There is currently no relevant government support for charities to help them through this crisis, and we are supporting our professional bodies to lobby for change here.

 So income is dramatically down, but opportunity to have an incredible impact is up. We want to build on the impact that we have had for our patients in better times.

We are adept at managing organisational and operational change. In the past 10 days our entire team of 14 has moved to home working, we have cancelled or postponed all of our patients events and taken all of our beneficiary services online. We have established new ways to reach out, connect and help in times of isolation, fear and uncertainty. Our policy work has changed tack completely to support patients and families with up to date information on care and treatment in the face of the Coronavirus crisis. In the face of massive operational upheaval, the brainstrust team have risen to the challenge and we’re ready to do more for our community who need us more than ever.  But to do this, we need your help. We have to ask for your donations to address the shortfall in income at this important time of year, and we absolutely have to be here for our patients and caregivers.