Beating bowel cancer together

We announce staff consultation on redundancies due to income losses of almost 40% caused by coronavirus pandemic

Charity will reset and rebuild to ensure continued vital support for people with bowel cancer

We have begun a redundancy consultation with staff today because of a huge loss of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Around 40% of our staff could be at risk of redundancy in the coming weeks.   

The consultation follows a strategic review to focus the charity’s resources where they can have the greatest impact over the next three years, informed by an ongoing exercise to understand the needs of people being treated for bowel cancer in an NHS heavily disrupted by COVID-19.  

The NHS response to the pandemic has affected every aspect of bowel cancer services, which will take months, if not years to recover. We have a vital role to play in supporting bowel cancer patients to get the best treatment and care as the NHS recovers; in making sure their voices are heard as the NHS resets across the UK; and in funding research into better outcomes for patients in the future.  

Throughout the pandemic, we have focused on providing essential information and support to people whose treatment or operations have been postponed or cancelled, and to patients who are vulnerable to serious consequences of coronavirus infection. Thousands have relied on the charity for accurate, clear and up-todate information, and crucial connections with others as they shield, in a volatile and fast-changing environment.  

We implemented a comprehensive cost-saving programme early in the pandemic, which saw more than 50% of staff furloughed. The charity’s financial year runs January-December and the income forecast for 2020 is projecting a drop of up to 40%. This equates to a shortfall of at least £1.5m, down from our 2020 budget of £4.2m, and we estimate it will take up to five years to recover to pre-pandemic levels of income.   

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said a 30-day consultation process will run from today (Monday 20 July) which will include all staff, to ensure everyone is fully engaged and has the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes.   

Genevieve Edwards said: “We’re a small yet vital charity supporting thousands of people affected by bowel cancer, and we have lost around 40 per cent of our income practically overnight.     

“We moved swiftly at the start of the pandemic to safeguard our charity and, despite the challenges, have remained focused on meeting the needs of people with bowel cancer throughout. I'm so proud of how we’ve been able to pivot our services quickly and innovate in difficult circumstances to make a real difference to people when they need us most.  

“But with a huge drop in income, and no other government assistance, we’re now sadly in a position where we have no choice but to make permanent cuts to our staff base, which is devastating for everyone at the charity and the bowel cancer community.   

“We have a wonderful, talented, and deeply committed team of people at Bowel Cancer UK, and this decision has been made with the heaviest of hearts. We will move forward knowing we have the right strategy in place and with the continued support of our wonderful community, for which we are ever grateful. Our work to rebuild starts now.” 

Bowel Cancer UK employs 62 staff, with a head office in London as well as office-based staff in Edinburgh and Cardiff, and home-based workers in Northern Ireland.    

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