Flagship Coffee Morning fundraiser facing its toughest year in more than a decade, Macmillan Cancer Support warns
The leading cancer charity is urging the public to do whatever it takes to help fund its vital support, as it braces for a possible ‘tsunami of demand’ this autumn.
Macmillan Cancer Support is warning its flagship Coffee Morning — one of the UK’s longest-running fundraising events — is facing a staggering 71% income drop (£20m) as it urges the public to do whatever it takes to fund its vital support ahead of a possible ‘tsunami of demand’ this autumn.
A fundraising fall of this magnitude could risk more than 80,000 cancer patients missing out on support from a Macmillan nurse next year.
The event is usually held at cafes, shops, schools, offices and hospitals around the UK every September, with an average of 200,000 people registering to take part . But this year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Macmillan has changed the format for the first time in 30 years and is encouraging people to take part however suits them by:
• Hosting a socially distanced Coffee Morning safely from their doorstep
• Taking on an exciting new challenge altogether, such as doing a sponsored run, walk or cycle
• Setting up a virtual Coffee Morning online
• Making a donation online and raising a mug with a selfie for people living with cancer
Last year, Coffee Morning raised £27.5 million for the cancer support charity. Yet, early estimations show that it is currently on track to raise less than a third (29%) of that this year — the lowest amount in 11 years . Sign-ups are also expected to be down by more than two-thirds (68%) , as Macmillan admits concerns the event later this month may be ‘at risk’, due to wrongful assumptions that people can’t take part in Coffee Morning this year.
The national cancer charity, which relies on donations for 98% of its income, is ‘facing the hardest year in its 109-year existence’ as it juggles the delivery of its critical support for people with cancer and an estimated shortfall of a third of its fundraised income this year, due to Covid-19.
This is largely due to the charity’s other fundraising events being mostly cancelled or postponed, including the London Marathon, which raised less than a quarter of the £1 million it was due to for Macmillan, before being cancelled last month .
Worst of all, the staggering income drop comes at a time when people with cancer need the charity’s support — from its famous nurses to its vital helpline — more than ever. Many of Macmillan’s free support services — largely possible due to income from events like Coffee Morning — were inundated at the peak of the pandemic as many people living with cancer saw their treatments changed, postponed or even cancelled due to coronavirus.
A new Covid-19 section launched on the Macmillan website to provide around-the-clock guidance and advice for people affected by cancer has had more than a quarter of a million views and around140,000 visitors since it was first created in March . Its free helpline, providing clinical, practical and financial support has also received over 10,000 calls about the coronavirus in the same time period .
Right now, the leading cancer charity is already preparing its support services for a predicted influx of demand later this year, as the consequences of the pandemic continue to be acutely felt by people with cancer and the NHS tries to get back on its feet — something the charity will also be supporting the health service to do. Its financial guidance team is also bracing for a rise in calls, once the furlough scheme concludes.
It predicts that this, plus a perfect storm of the cancer diagnosis and treatment backlog caused by Covid-19, routine winter pressures and even the possibility of a second coronavirus wave could see a possible ‘tsunami’ of demand for its support this autumn.
It makes this year’s Coffee Morning even more critical and it admits it has ‘never needed the public’s help more’.
55-Year old Ruth Godfrey from Norfolk was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2019. She says:
“Macmillan has been a huge part of helping me through lockdown, chemo and cancer during these past few months. They’ve been at the end of a phone line for advice not only for me, but also my family. Especially when my Dad passed away in April with cancer while I was in the middle of treatment myself.
“One day in particular stands out when I was on my third round of chemotherapy and I made a cup of tea and got teary because I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a drink with somebody. Then I drank the tea and I thought the milk had gone off, but it hadn’t, the chemo had affected my taste. I was just sobbing and I rang Macmillan. They explained to me that this is all part of the process, reminded me it’s not going to last forever and that I was doing really well. That was one of my lowest moments and they were there for me, and I now want to give something back to them.
“I’m going to be holding what I call my ‘Macmillan Marvellous Mindset Morning’ for coffee morning this year. It’s going to be an online virtual event where I will give free positive mindset training and you donate what you can.”
Longstanding Macmillan supporter Martin Clunes says:
“It’s no exaggeration to call the work Macmillan does a lifeline. From the nurses who hold the hands of our loved ones when they face the toughest news and help them make sense of it to the experts on their free helpline providing the tools to enable them, and us, to focus on their health, instead of how they will pay their bills, how they’ll juggle work and daily chemotherapy appointments or how they’ll tell their children. They’re the unsung heroes and they’ve never been more vital than during the pandemic.
“Coffee Morning has become a British institution over the past 30 years. It’s a day where the country comes together to give back to Macmillan and to help ensure this support can continue for people with cancer. Please give or do whatever you can this Coffee Morning to help this brilliant charity to weather this difficult time.”
Claire Rowney, Executive Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“We are going through one of the biggest crises in living memory and we want the public to know that the ‘new normal’ doesn’t mean that they can’t get involved with Coffee Morning this year. There are so many ways they can still show their support in whatever way they can and we’ve never needed their help more.
“Macmillan relies on donations to provide care and support for 1.9 million people affected by cancer every year — and sadly this support could be at risk without income from events like Coffee Morning. People with cancer need us more than ever. There has never been a more terrifying time in recent history to receive a diagnosis as people face potential disruption or delays to treatment, amid an increased risk of infection to the coronavirus.
“Coffee Morning has thrived for 30 years thanks to the enormous generosity of our supporters — and we need to act now to ensure it can continue to raise vital funds for people living with cancer for years to come.”
However you take part in Coffee Morning this year, you’ll be helping millions of people living with cancer, who need us to raise a mug more than ever. Sign up at coffee.macmillan.org.uk
Potential impact of £20m shortfall in Coffee Morning total:
• A loss of £20m represents around 9% of our total fundraised income for 2019, which could therefore mean for next year:
o Over 150,000 people affected by cancer missing out on the vital in-depth support from one or more of our Macmillan professionals or services
o More than 80,000 cancer patients missing out on support from a Macmillan nurse
o Over 8,000 people missing out on support from our Support Line services
• £20m could pay for:
o The cost of more than 350 Macmillan specialist cancer nurses in England for a full year — or;
o The entire running of the Macmillan Support line for over three years — or;
o The running of almost 20 large Macmillan information and support centres for 10 years
For further information, please contact:
Lyndsey White, Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4870 (out of hours 07801 307068)
About Macmillan Cancer Support
We are doing everything we can to help people living with cancer, who need us now more than ever.
For information, support or just someone to talk to, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit macmillan.org.uk.
To donate, fundraise or volunteer — call 0300 1000 200 or visit macmillan.org.uk.