Meet the Leadership Team

The CancerCare team is currently supported by 22 staff, 32 sessional therapists and over 120 volunteers,  managed by our Leadership Team and Trustee Board.


Neil Townsend   Chief Executive Officer


Neil, formerly Divisional Director of Riverside, a charitable Housing Association in Merseyside - took up post at CancerCare in February 2015 after moving with his partner to Pilling, near Lancaster.

Neil, who has a business, community development and human resource background, is leading CancerCare through a period of change and challenge ensuring that the charity can adapt to the   increased demand for its services across North Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Neil says: “Like many other people, my life has been touched by cancer. I lost my father and sister in very close succession and at the time there was no credible support available to me and my family in the area where I lived. The work CancerCare offers is unique, totally holistic and is freely available to all. I wish there had been a CancerCare type service when I needed it most."

In 2015 the charity launched its  three year plan  'The Right Services, in the Right Place at the Right Time' which sets out clear objectives for the organisation to work towards, these include the development of services in Barrow in Furness and a review of the current range of services offered to support children, teenagers and young adults. These are both developing really positively. Since establishing himself in Lancaster, Neil has become heavily involved in the Lancaster BID and as recently joined the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce as a director representing the large number of excellent charitable organisations working in the area. Neil has also joined the board of the Lancaster Dukes Theatre, combining his non-executive governance experience with his passion for the theatre and arts.

In his spare time Neil likes to walk the local fells, enjoys cooking with friends and can be seen treading the boards in Preston and Blackpool. He is an avid amateur musical thespian and if that wasn’t enough he also looks after his old classic car.


Alison Stainthorpe

Head of Operations




Alison first started working for CancerCare back in May 2010 after returning from Cyprus where she worked as a Senior Administrator of British (Forces) Animal Rehoming Centre (BARC).  Prior to that Alison lived in Germany for 3 years  working for Estates Branch (Army) on a range of Capital Works Projects. With a MSc. in Construction & Property Management, Alison has also worked as a Property Manager at the Sea Mounting Centre in Marchwood and was responsible for the maintenance of an Army Estate budget of £1.2M.

At CancerCare Alison is responsible for estates and facilities and smooth running of both our centres overseeing  IT, health & safety, H.R, risk management and organisational governence. She also manages our Admin and Finance teams.

She says, "Although CancerCare has a much smaller estate than I am used to the challenges are very different and no two days are the same. I enjoy the old and the new of the three very different sites and the history associated with Slynedales, the Lakes Centre and the Trinity Church Centre in Barrow. I enjoy the difference we make as a team to our clients knowing that the work we do has such a positive impact to so many. I  feel very lucky to be a part of CancerCare."

In her spare time Alison loves walking her dog Rascal (a Munsterlander) along Morecambe beach and going to Scooter Rallies.


Alison Dixey 

Head of Client Services and Development


Alison joined CancerCare in July 2015 after spending her career in the health service, further education and the voluntary sector including the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Victim Support and the British Red Cross. Alison is passionate about providing quality services to people in need.

Alison joined CancerCare in July 2015 following seven years at the British Red Cross where she developed services for vulnerable refugees fleeing conflict and for people at risk of a first aid emergency.

Alison is responsible for managing CancerCare's wide range of client services, ensuring they remain relevant and accessible for all.  In addition, she is responsible for new developments and is currently working on developments in Barrow and our children and young people’s service.

Since joining CancerCare, Alison has extended the therapies that we offer to include Reiki, Reflexology and Acupressure, arranged our first cookery programme, funded a hydrotherapy service for clients in Lancaster and managed the Barrow research project.

Alison says: "I love working at CancerCare. The atmosphere is really upbeat and welcoming and there is always cake and a laugh available which makes our working days fly by. "

In her spare time Alison enjoys keeping fit, cooking, entertaining,  travelling and spending time with family and friends.


Meet CancerCare's Trustee Board >>

Find out more about our services >>

Ways to Get Involved at CancerCare >>

Read our Three Year Plan, 2018 to 2021, here >>