Fareham MP calls for additional cancer funding after Titchfield Breast Cancer Haven announces closure

AN MP is calling for more funding to cancer services after a breast cancer support centre announced its permanent closure.

By Millie Salkeld
Monday, 10th August 2020, 4:58 pm
Updated Monday, 10th August 2020, 5:49 pm
The Breast Cancer Haven, Wessex with a flower wall created by florist Susie Babington 
Picture: Sarah Standing (180726-5308)
The Breast Cancer Haven, Wessex with a flower wall created by florist Susie Babington Picture: Sarah Standing (180726-5308)

Fareham MP Suella Braverman has written to the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport for funding help.

It comes after charity bosses at the Breast Cancer Haven told staff and volunteers two weeks ago that the Titchfield centre would not reopen due to a 50 per cent drop in income because of Covid-19.

In the letter to department minister Baroness Diana Barran MBE, Mrs Braverman described the charity as a ‘vital lifeline’.

Mrs Braverman told The News: ‘The centre is a jewel in the crown in our area and I know many women personally in Fareham who have found the centre to be a lifeline.

‘I have spoken to the charity’s chief executive Sally Hall and I understand the decision that was made due to the drop in income.

‘Sally has explained all of the online help that is available, including therapy, and although it isn’t the same as dropping for a cake and a chat, it is something.

‘I have written to the charities minister to see if there is any support that can be given to the charity to carry on its service in the wider area but I do think the decision to close the centre is final.’

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The letter to Baroness Barran said: ‘For over 20 years, Breast Cancer Haven has placed a supportive arm around patients diagnosed with breast cancer, to ensure no one is alone during their journey to recovery.

‘Providing bespoke emotional and practical support, through one-to-one consultations, counselling and therapy, Breast Cancer Haven tackles the symptoms and side effects of breast cancer to improve every patient’s quality of life.

‘This charity offers a vital lifeline to hundreds of courageous women and is a cherished asset throughout the country.’

Jessica Walton, from Gosport, has backed Mrs Braveman’s appeal for more funding after receiving support from the charity in 2016 when she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma – the most common form of breast cancer.

The 42-year-old, who founded and still runs a Young Women's Breast Cancer Group made up from people she met during her treatment, said: ‘I was so shocked to hear the news that it was closing because it is an amazing centre.

‘We were so lucky to have a dedicated place for people with breast cancer and they really helped me get through my diagnosis and treatment.

‘It would be great to get the charity some funding so they could carry on helping people.’

Staff and volunteers were left upset by the news which was announced in an email from bosses on July 29, that also said the centre in Solihull would be closing.

Jackie Evans, who volunteers at the centre and used its services in 2013, previously told The News: ‘It is absolutely devastating. The centre is amazing and they provided me with such a lot of support as they do for everyone who comes through the door.

‘We want [charity bosses] to be more transparent about how they came to this decision as the other centres will be reopening so we want to know why us and Solihull were chosen.’

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