Children with cancer are being turned away from support services because incomes have plummeted, charities have warned.

The Children and Young People’s Cancer Coalition said that organisations are being forced to turn away some families in need of support due to funding shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The group, which collectively supports children and young people with cancer and their families, said that support schemes such as peer-to-peer support and advice events, sibling support groups and schemes that allow families to keep in contact during treatment, are being scaled back or stopped altogether.

The coalition has called for emergency relief from the Government to prevent the services being lost.

One charity reported having to vacate its newly completed, purpose-built support centre after 14 years of fundraising for it.

The cuts in support services have come as demand has soared, the organisations said.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to severe funding gaps in the charity sector, with many organisations reporting multi-million pound shortfalls.

A poll of members of the coalition found that the majority (23 of 24) have suffered lost income due to the pandemic – with some reporting 60% losses.

Two thirds (66%) said they could not access any Government support – and 65% said they had seen an increase in demand for services.

The coalition has called for emergency relief from the Government to prevent the services being lost.

Kate Collins, chair of the Children and Young People’s Cancer Coalition and chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Charities across the sector have shown incredible strength and determination throughout the coronavirus pandemic, doing all they can to provide essential support for young people and their families.

“However, overnight, coronavirus wiped out a calendar full of fundraising events and six months on, and with little sign of change, the children and young people’s cancer sector faces the true reality of the pandemic – an estimated (collective) black hole of at least £45 million, against a backdrop of increased patient need.

“Left unaddressed, the consequences for children and young people are unimaginable.

“There will be considerable gaps in services, leaving them and their families without vital support and all at a time when they need it the most.”

The warning comes after two of the nation’s biggest cancer charities – Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK – also announced cutbacks after falls in revenue.

Last week, Macmillan Cancer Support said it plans to cut 310 jobs after a dive in funding amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The charity announced the redundancy proposals as it warned it expects a £175 million fall in fundraising income by the end of 2022.

In July, Cancer Research UK said that its planned research spend over the next four to five years needs to reduce by £150 million.

And it also announced plans to cut almost a quarter of its jobs, with up to 345 redundancies.

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