Effort launched by former staff and volunteers to save Breast Cancer Haven Wessex

A MAMMOTH effort to raise more than £1m has been launched to save a much-loved cancer centre.

By Millie Salkeld
Thursday, 17th September 2020, 7:00 am

Breast Cancer Haven announced in July that it would be closing its Wessex support centre in The Square in Titchfield due to a drop in income.

But trustees, former staff, volunteers and patients have come together to from the Save Wessex BCH strategy group and plan to buy the building and carry on the services.

Chairwoman Mandy Harding, who used the centre herself, said: ‘This service has been described as like a security blanket for some people and coming into this centre it is the most incredible place.

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From left, David Beck, committee member of the Save Wessex BCH strategy group with wife and volunteer Anita Beck, patient and treasurer of Portsmouth Breast Friends Lauren Farnhill, chairman of the Save Wessex BCH strategy group Mandy Harding and patient and volunteer Jackie Evans Picture: Sarah Standing (150920-4033)

‘Personally I have been really helped by it and I know hundreds of people who have gone through the centre as well and we are really passionate about seeing other people helped in this way.’

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Another member of the group is Lucy Cowie, who was the appeal manager in 2012 and helped lead the fundraising to buy the building, which has now been put up for sale.

She said: ‘It is terribly sad. All the individuals, businesses and trusts in Hampshire donated for a centre in Hampshire for people in the south to use and if the building is sold then that money will go out of the area.

‘We want to raise money, buy the building and open it up to help more female cancers, like ovarian and cervical, and make sure local people have support.’

A meeting was held with bosses at Breast Cancer Haven last week to discuss the group’s plans.

Lucy, who lost her best friend to metastatic breast cancer, said: ‘We are looking at launching a Go Fund Me and becoming a trust so we can buy the building and run it.

‘We are looking at needing over a million pounds for it all but we are so passionate about it.

‘We need all the help we can get so I really want people to get in touch if they want to fundraise, if businesses want to donate money, if anyone can give us legal advice, any help at all would be amazing.’

If the group are unable to buy the building, they have plans to buy therapy sessions and treatments for patients at other centres.

One of the groups involved with the original fundraising was breast cancer support group Portsmouth Breast Friends

Chair Sandy Williams,said: ‘Funds to purchase the building were raised by the the hard work, dedication and generosity of local people.

‘Portsmouth Breast Friends donated over £8,000 to help to equip the Wessex Breast Cancer Haven, and we pledge to do all that we can to help retain the building and the services it provides.’

A spokeswoman from Breast Cancer Haven told The News: ‘Following a meeting held last week to discuss the closure of the centre, the group was asked to submit any proposals to our chair of trustees in writing.

‘So far we haven’t received anything from the group so we would be unable to comment any further at this time.’

Join the Save Breast Cancer Haven Wessex group via facebook.com/groups/2674905442762007

Anyone wanting to help can email Lucy on [email protected]

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