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Naomi’s 12 Month Roundup! What’s been going on then?

Hi everyone, as this week marks the end of my first year as Executive Officer at Lingen Davies, it seem like a good time to have a look at the last 12 months and what the charity has achieved.

This time last year, the charity was ahead of target, fundraising for the LINAC. The appeal was completed in September 2016, and extended to include the amazing Perfect Pitch Couch. Both of these are now installed and being used to provide essential treatment to patients. As the appeal was drawing to a close, we were looking for our next project. Traditionally, the charity has raised funds for large pieces of equipment or buildings to help provide cancer services. These appeals have been hugely impactful, but this time there was no huge single purchase that worked with our timescales and priorities. However, the world of cancer treatment waits for no one, and we have launched our 40th Anniversary Appeal based on three themes- prevention and early detection, excellent treatment and life beyond cancer. If you would like to read more about our latest appeal you can see the details here.

Alongside our main appeal, we have been providing funding for an innovative online app which allows patients to monitor their own condition and understand their experiences of chemotherapy, or of prostate cancer, more independently. The app recently won a prestigious national patient safety award, and is showing real impact in improving patients’ experiences. It has been wonderful to be part of such an innovative project, and one that gives people with cancer in our community a service they would not receive anywhere else.

The charity would not be able to achieve any of this without the enormous commitment of our volunteers, fundraisers, trustees and staff. The sense of community in Lingen Davies is amazing, and it has been a pleasure to work with such dedicated people; particularly as the majority of them are giving their time and energy as volunteers. There is a wealth of creativity and energy behind the charity, and the success of recent work is down to that. We’ve recently brought four talented new trustees on board, and had a number of changes in the staff team, which has given us the chance to assess our needs as we look ahead into the new appeal.

We have some challenges ahead, both within the charity and in the wider world. Our new appeal target of £1.25 million is stretching, and we live in increasingly unpredictable financial and political times. We are working hard to make sure our governance is robust and we are working to (ever-evolving!) best practice standards. We are a small charity, but we value our professionalism, and we’ll be working towards a quality accreditation scheme this year. We are also working on some exciting new fundraising ideas and events- watch this space!

Cancer treatment continues to evolve and improve, while local services feel the pressure of resource limitations and increasing patient numbers. One in two of us, born since 1960, will get cancer during our lifetime. For those of us living in Shropshire, Telford, or Mid Wales, the services funded by Lingen Davies will almost certainly be part of our treatment (or that of our friends and family), when we need it. Without Bernard Lingen and Frank Davies’ original appeal in 1979, the Cobalt Unit would never have been built, and we may not have cancer treatment available in Shropshire today. In increasingly challenging times, if we want our amazing cancer services to stay local, and utilise innovative and top-of-the-range treatments, we must continue to do our bit to support that.

Our charity relies on the goodwill and commitment of people in our community, and from many people this support is overwhelming. However, there are many others who are not aware of the charity, or who don’t understand the scale of its impact. We have been working hard to raise the profile of Lingen Davies, and you have hopefully seen a bigger presence from us online, via our new website and our increasing work on social media. We’re also getting out into the community more frequently. I have particularly enjoyed launching our ‘Could it be Cancer?’ talks, hosted by our trustee Dr Bruce Eden, and intending to highlight early signs and symptoms of cancer in an accessible (and entertaining!) way.  We ran our first ever Sun Awareness event at Telford Carnival this weekend, and will be building on our work in this area in the coming year.

I think we can consider this year a success! We’ve beaten fundraising targets, launched our refreshed branding and website, and developed and launched a new appeal, all while going through a whole heap of changes. Thank you to everyone who has supported the charity, and for welcoming me into the Lingen Davies fold. We’ve got a lot to do, but there’s plenty of exciting things coming up and we’ve got a great team to do it with.

Final thought: If everyone in the area covered by our charity donated just £2, we’d hit our appeal target. To do this, text LDCF40 £2 to 70070. Thanks.

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