Welcome to the new look impact report from
Breast Cancer Haven
A Letter from the chair
Since our last Impact Report 2017 – 2018 was produced, Breast Cancer Haven has been on a transformational journey like none other in its history. This has been a period of huge challenges, changes, and at times uncertainty. However, with unstinting support from our supporters, staff, and our dedicated Board of Trustees, I am pleased to say that we have new hope for the future. Despite the significant impact of COVID-19 on our charity we continue to provide vital services that have positive impact for people affected by breast cancer. And we will reach out and support even more people who need our help.
The data in this impact report focuses on our financial year of June 2019 – May 2020 (our most recent financial period) however, some of the information, case studies and stories are more up to date.
We are extremely proud that HRH The Prince of Wales has renewed his commitment to be our Patron and were very grateful to receive his personal video message of support.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank you all for your continued support.
Professor Dudley Sinnett MS FRCS
Overview of charity and changes
we’re here to help
WHAT WE DID
Prior to March 2020 people affected by breast cancer would visit one of our five welcoming support Centres based in South-West London, Leeds, Solihull, Hereford, and Titchfield, Hampshire or our two hospital-based outreaches in Worcester and North London.
These Centres, our Havens, were well appointed, peaceful and safe. They were designed to be tranquil spaces where visitors could relax, focus on putting their lives back together and meet others.
Our core provision was delivered through our free face-to-face support programme to people who were able to travel to one of our locations. This was made up of 12 hours of one-to-one appointment time and would include two hours with an experienced healthcare professional and up to 10 hours of intensive one–to-one therapy time.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 our Havens were closed, our fundraised income was greatly depleted, and the expense of running indefinitely closed buildings was not viable, nor deemed to be a worthy use of charitable funds
“Breast Cancer Haven is so important. Through all of this, they’ve been there for me, despite the lockdown. They’ve been an incredible support, even calling me after my surgery just to check on how I was doing.”
We want to keep expanding our reach so that anyone affected by breast cancer can access our support.
Take a look at
our year in numberS
June 19 – May 20
Self help Online resources
views of our self help videos
website visitors from 157 different countries
Interactive face-to-face and telephone support
visitors (people who used our services)
total appointments including:
touch therapy appointments prior to lockdown
movement and physical activity class attendances
support group attendances
The underlying fundraising income, excluding one off capital contributions, legacies and furlough grant was 2.1m, being 21% down on the previous financial year, reflecting the difficult economic environment.
Breast cancer and the impact of the pandemic
Due to changes in cancer screening processes and treatment throughout the pandemic there has been around 3 million fewer people screened via the bowel, breast or cervical cancer screening programmes in the UK than would be expected under normal circumstances (CRUK estimate based on weekly average number of people screened via bowel, breast and cervical screening programmes). As screening returns to normal we anticipate a surge in breast cancer diagnosis in the coming months and a surge in demand for our services.
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the United Kingdom; one person will continue to be diagnosed every 10 minutes and with the strain on the NHS our support is more vital than ever.
Breast Cancer Haven is dedicated to supporting people affected by breast cancer through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Our free programme of complementary therapies helps to alleviate the devastating impact of breast cancer and ensures that no one has to face breast cancer alone.
“I was unable to reach my NHS breast care nurse…This has left me feeling extremely frightened and anxious. I was so glad to get straight through to you at Breast Cancer Haven that I just cried when I had such a lovely and caring specialist nurse on the other end of the phone…after that I slept properly for the first time in a week”
Breast Cancer Haven Visitor
We exist to support people affected by breast cancer. This hasn’t changed. It remains our sole purpose. Our vision is that “everyone affected by breast cancer gets the help they need”.
So as soon as we had to shut our buildings, we knew that we had to adapt. Within the first week of lockdown Breast Cancer Haven started to deliver online support services.
We now deliver one-to-one support sessions, healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction classes, and a range of self-help videos and resources. All of which can be accessed online.
Our reach now extends to provide support to people irrespective of geographic location.
We have worked hard to retain the feel of our services and continue to deliver tranquil, Haven-esque experiences which help to improve lives.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 9 March 2020. On the 23 March, Boris Johnson put the UK into lock down.
Changes to my treatment plan
After my diagnosis, my treatment plan consisted of approximately 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by surgery – probably a single mastectomy with an auxiliary node clearance – followed by three weeks of radiotherapy.
Nine days later, before I had started any treatment, my consultant called me back into the hospital to discuss my case. In that meeting I was told that, due to COVID-19, cancer treatment was changing. It was recommended that instead of chemotherapy, we should move straight to the surgical part of my treatment.
Three days after the lockdown I had my mastectomy and auxiliary node clearance. Right up until the day of surgery I was unsure if it would go ahead as medical directives were changing hourly. It was a time filled with anxiety.
Surgery during lockdown
I was dropped off at the hospital door by my husband. No visitors were allowed in. The hospital was eerily quiet compared to the bustling place that I had come to know during my diagnosis and subsequent appointments.
After a surgery such as mine, patients would normally stay in the hospital for a night or two to be observed. I was home that evening with my drains attached as it was deemed less risky. That night was the first ‘Clap for Carers’. I clapped from my bedroom window, joining in with the street below. It was emotional. I felt so thankful to my medical team at the hospital for carrying out my surgery, and for the care and consideration I was shown during my diagnosis, surgery and post surgical recovery on the ward.
The challenge of self-isolation
The anxiety and stress caused by the uncertainty of what’s happening is difficult to bear and as a vulnerable person, I am finding the isolation a challenge. I’m desperately missing my friends and family. I wish I could sit down at their kitchen tables and natter over coffee. I wish I could go for long walks with them. It’s so hard dealing with my breast cancer without them.
I feel like the layers of support that someone with breast cancer would normally receive have been stripped away from me at a time when I need them so much.
How I found comfort in Breast Cancer Haven
That’s why Breast Cancer Haven is so important. Through all of this, they’ve been there for me, despite the lockdown. They’ve been an incredible support, even calling me after my surgery just to check on how I was doing. I’ve had online meditation and mindfulness sessions, as well as a virtual ‘Young Person’s Support Group’. It was fantastic to speak to women going through similar journeys – sharing stories and asking questions.
Breast Cancer Haven is a vital support for those with breast cancer and we need them now, more than ever.
Key relationships, thanks and support
HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES
A PERSONAL MESSAGE
We are extremely proud that HRH The Prince of Wales has renewed his commitment to be our Patron and were very grateful to receive his personal video message of support for our Christmas carol event last year.
Impact Report 2017-2018
Impact Report 2016-2017
SUPPORT AND THANKS
We are very grateful to the following trusts and grants who have supported us this year, and would particularly like to thank:
Ormsby Charitable Trust
The Estate of the Late Dennis Hall
The Band Trust
Nelson & Co Ltd
Baker Mill Foundation
Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation
Maurice Marks Charitable Trust
The Linbury Trust
The National Development Board
PLEASE DONATE IF YOU CAN
Breast Cancer Haven, a private company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales, with registration number 03291851
Registered office: Dowgate Hill House, 14-16 Dowgate Hill, London EC4R 2SU
©2021 Breast Cancer Haven, Registered Charity No 1061726