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Cancer Research UK estimates 25 per cent drop in fundraising income due to coronavirus

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by Cancer Research UK | News

30 March 2020

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Cancer Research UK expects to see its fundraising income decline by up to 25 per cent in the next financial year as a direct result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“People affected by cancer will be facing difficult situations … and our priority is making sure we can support them during these unprecedented times.”Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK Chief Executive

The outbreak is expected to have a profound impact on the global economy, and health, in years to come, and the charity has today announced it will be more difficult to achieve its goal of improving cancer survival as a consequence.

The coronavirus outbreak has already affected many of Cancer Research UK’s key fundraising activities, which all raise money for life-saving research.  It is reviewing the feasibility of its event series for 2020, including Race for Life, and has temporarily closed its network of 600 high street shops across the UK. 

Cancer Research UK is working hard to limit the impact of coronavirus, to ensure that people affected by cancer get the support and information they need during these incredibly uncertain times.  But the potential impact on its work to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer could be huge.  Not only is the virus already affecting cancer care and treatment decisions, but the charity has already had to make difficult decisions to cut some of its research funding that will directly impact on its goal to see three in four people survive their cancer by 2034.   

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “There can be no doubt that this global pandemic is going to cause huge strain on charities in the coming months.  People affected by cancer will be facing difficult situations because they are particularly vulnerable, or because their treatment is being affected by the knock-on impact in the health service, and our priority is making sure we can support them during these unprecedented times.

“While many things are still uncertain, it is clear that Cancer Research UK will be hit hard.  We’ve worked quickly to understand how COVID-19 will impact our income, and therefore our ability to continue funding our life-saving work. 

“We made a decision to protect our volunteers and our supporters by closing our shops and postponing many events. Whilst the right thing to do, this will have huge implications for our fundraising, and we expect to see a 20 – 25 per cent decline in fundraising income in the next financial year.  It is essential that we respond, and quickly, and this has led to some difficult decisions.  We’ve already deferred our spring research grant funding round, and we are making further cuts to our research funding. This is uncomfortable for us, but we must be realistic about what we can deliver given the current circumstances.   

“We remain tirelessly committed to making progress for people affected by cancer, but now more than ever, support from both the Government and the public will be vital.  We simply will not be able to continue funding our life-saving work without it.”

Whilst coronavirus continues to put pressure on the NHS, Cancer Research UK is doing what it can to help.  A number of the charity’s laboratories up and down the country are supplying essential equipment and expertise to aid the testing effort, and it has released some of its clinical workforce to return to the NHS frontline.  The charity is also working with health systems across the four nations, and other cancer charities, to provide the best support and advice to cancer patients.    

The charity is committed to ensuring that it continues to spend 80p of every £1 donated to beat cancer.