Happy New Year as CancerCare marks 35th anniversary

on Friday, 12 January 2018. Posted in Blog Tags barrow, blog, cancer, cancer support, CancerCare, charity, chief executive, Kendal, Lancaster, localcharity, northlancashire, slynedales, southlakeland

Chief Executive Neil's Weekly Blog

Good Morning. Are we really almost two weeks into the New Year already? Firstly, can I start by wishing all of you and your loved ones a Happy New Year!

In the week or two leading up to Christmas and since being back, in this, CancerCare’s 35th year, I have been thinking about some of the opportunities and challenges that will come our way.

This has led to various conversations with my Senior Management Team (SMT) colleagues and various trustees.  

I will use my first blog of 2018 to outline some of them in the hope that they will trigger thoughts  amongst you all, as well as driving energy and excitement as we work together to make the most of the opportunities and to overcome any challenges we will face.

Work is already pretty advanced, following a wide range of previous consultations on our plans to take us forward from 2018 to 2021.

Our Trustees will be looking further ahead than this when they have their away day later this month.

So how could CancerCare look in five years … ten years time?  However, a number of things are certain and will form the backbone of the new plan. These include a continued focus on:

Remaining efficient, sustainable and agile – ensuring income grows in order to deliver our ambitious service delivery plans


Keeping both internal and external communications relevant, effective and targeted for maximum impact

Continuing our focus to improve service standards, learn from client feedback, meet demand and develop new services as identified

Strive to be as good as we can in all we do, developing and sharing good practice, learning from each other and other partners

What we have achieved together in the past three years provides confidence that we can and do deliver, despite the challenges we face. Some of these are of our own making so we should have no excuse not to sort them out, whilst others are outside of our direct control. However, we can assert control where we can and mitigate any risks.

We can only continue to achieve by valuing and working with our external partners, embracing the energy and experience of our volunteers and ensuring that the entire staff team, continue to be supported, valued and engaged.

Examples of approaches that are clearly working and which have added value include:

Review of roles within all teams

Improved communication & understanding

Effective appraisal, work planning, training and development support

Staff policies & procedures that support and value employees

Trusting each other – a two way street

Our approach to well-being in the workplace

All this is set to continue in 2018 and I have no doubt there will fresh ideas and thinking about how we continue to have “a great place to work”.

External factors will continue to influence our work, be it driven by regulation including the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which will become a real “thing” in May.

Charities are being warned all the time about the need for them to stay relevant and engage with existing, new and future beneficiaries, by being transparent and accountable; all of this very much on our radar.

How will you define your own success this year?

No matter who you speak to, everyone defines success slightly differently. For me in our CancerCare context, the single most important measure of success is our continued ability to deliver high quality services to those who need it, when they need it, ensuring sustainability continues well beyond this our 35th milestone year.  

So Helping now and looking to the future. We will be producing our final plans and sharing these widely. Together we can continue to be successful.

Alan and I are looking forward to a weekend with friends, tonight for a meal and a catch up, and a neighbour’s 50th birthday party tomorrow night.

Whatever you are doing have a good weekend.

Best wishes for 2018.

Neil Townsend

Chief Executive