Can I take this opportunity of wishing you all a belated happy New Year for 2021. Hopefully this year we will get some relief from the Covid 19 pandemic with the roll out of vaccinations. Last year was as you no doubt can imagine a difficult year on all fronts for the Hope Cancer Support Centre. Since the beginning of lockdowns in March 2020 the centre and the shop have been operating at varying levels. However we were still in a position to make some considerable progress on a number of fronts. I would like to briefly outline some of the achievements during the year.
To date we have not had any staff, volunteers or clients attending the centre that have tested positive for Covid19 and we are very glad of this achievement. We have very robust procedures for all persons entering and leaving the centre. During 2020 we undertook some work within the centre in an effort to increase our capacity but also to improve the interior of the building. This involved the instillation of additional storage space within the kitchen area, the development of another client space by reducing the size of the meditation room. The realignment of our administration area to ensure that all administration staff are close to each other. Development of a second counselling room and the positioning of our nursing staff to the ground floor area. We also undertook painting of the kitchen area administration area, nurse’s room and second counselling room.
As a result of Covid19 there were a number of opportunities to apply for grants that were made available through a range of funders; the list below is of the organisations that we were successful in getting funding from:
- Irish Cancer Society Grant
- Tusla Child and Family Support Agency Grant
- Saturday Fund
- Pobal COVID-19: Stability Scheme
- Bank of Ireland Begin Together – The Community Foundation of Ireland
- Wexford County Council: Restart Plus Grant
- Wexford County Council: Restart Plus Grant 30% Top Up
- Wexford LCDC Community Enhancement Programme
- Wexford County Council: COVID-19 Emergency Fund Grant
During the year the shop was closed for three and a half months in total, for the remainder of the year it operated on reduced opening hours. The shop traded during the hours of 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, this resulted in the loss of trading on Mondays and Saturday mornings. There were huge challenges during the year the major one was remaining open due to the massive reduction in available volunteers. Throughout the year great strides were made in upgrading the shop interior and design and this is an on-going project.
As a result of the trading difficulties experienced during 2020 the shop manager began developing the on-line shopping facility.
Hope and Dream 10, 2020
The decisions to cancel the Hope and Dream 10 race in April and subsequently in October, were not taken lightly. But we were delighted that the virtual event which took place in late September was a huge success with the registration of 2,568 participants! Our largest number to date! We owe a huge gratitude to the people of County Wexford and beyond who strolled, walked and ran an estimated 32.5 million steps of remembrance, gratitude, resilience, relief, support and hope. From young to old, age was not a barrier. We look forward to making the announcement of the final figure raised in the coming weeks.
Hope and Dream 10, 2021
In light of the ongoing pandemic, our Board of Directors have made the decision to hold a virtual event again in 2021. The date has yet to be confirmed. 2021 will be a special year as it will mark the 10th anniversary of this wonderful event. Our plans will be shared with you in the coming months!
Client Relationship Management System (CRM):
In 2020 we invested in the CRM system. It had been approved a number of years previously. This allows us to move from a paper based system to a computer based system for the storage and retrieval of information. In comparison to traditional databases it is easy to configure and customise to our needs.
The data set that we have designed with our partners Enclude, provide us with the most comprehensive set of data and records across all of the Cancer Charity Centres across the Country.
We are currently finalising the design and development of a new website with Graphedia, which will be launched within the next few weeks. The website will provide valuable information about our services, organisation, staffing, volunteering, governance, policies, funding and finances. It will have the functionality to accept online donations, charity shop sales and fundraising event enquiries. It also incorporates our new Hope logo which symbolises that our services are available to all people across County Wexford.
In 2020 the opportunity arose to purchase the building next door to the Centre. The Board took the decision to attempt to purchase the building and were successful in achieving that goal. This was vital for the future of the Centre as it now allows the board to manage the future development of the charity. The current premises on its own does not allow for the expansion of services or indeed the upgrading of current services due to pressure of space already in the building.
Without doubt the most important work undertaken in 2020 was the completion of all the substantial work required to be done in order for the Hope Cancer Support Centre CLG to be in line with the regulations set out by the Charity Regulator. This required us ensuring that all of our policies, procedures and processes are in place to ensure that we are compliant with all of the statutory requirements to operate as a charity.
The purpose of the charity regulator is “to regulate the charity sector in the public interest so as to ensure compliance with the law and support best practice in the governance, management and administration of charities”.
Hope Cancer Support Centre CLG