Volunteers are what makes CancerCare great

on Friday, 22 June 2018. Posted in Blog Tags Barrow, Barrow in Furness, blog, cancer, CancerCare, Chief Executive, Kendal, Lancaster, localcharity, northlancashire, slynedales, South Cumbria, southlakeland

CEO of CancerCare Neil's Blog

Good Morning, it’s been a pretty varied week since returning from my holiday.

Me with M & S Volunteers with CancerCare staff at Slynedales in Lancaster

Monday was the usual wade through of many emails and a catch up with Alison Stainthorpe, our Head of Operations and Alison Dixey, our Head of Therapies.

It is hard to believe that we are half way through the year already and, as ever, there are so many wonderful things going on across CancerCare, be it in our core frontline support service delivering a range of support through our therapists and counsellors, the wide range of fundraising activity that helps keep the funds coming in and the sterling efforts of our support staff in finance/admin/marketing who contribute so much that very often goes un-noticed, but without we would be a poorer organisation.

Last but not least, our volunteers who support us all in so many different ways.

Amazing and thank you.


The picture above was taken yesterday. Andrew and I, accompanied by Sally and Maggie the two leadership/team development consultants we have been working with. 

Our staff will be spending the day with them next month at the team away days.

We spent a day in the Lakes walking with other CEOs and Chairs of a number of charities. It was a walking development day, with time to do some group and individual reflection. A super day and a chance to really give yourself headspace and share ideas with other people.

I probably sound like a broken record but people do matter. My opening remarks this week, I hope, reflect this firmly held view of mine.

This leads me to a meeting I attended on Tuesday in Preston to find out more about how we encourage our clients to get involved, if they so wish, with something called “The People’s Voice”, an initiative being run by the North West Coast Strategic Clinical Network.

Patient, carer and lay involvement is extremely important to ensure that their views are heard. I think from what I heard at the meeting, that this will be a practical and meaningful opportunity for people to get involved, be heard and make a difference.

On Wednesday the Finance Sub- committee met, chaired by our treasurer, Fiona Weir.


One of the topics discussed was our aim to develop a set of meaningful key performance indicators in addition to the facts and figures we already have at our disposal.

Charities tend to lag behind the commercial sector in this area, but with increasing calls for us to be transparent and demonstrate how we are performing, we need to work on it.

Early ideas would keep our KPI’s simple and easy to understand for a variety of audiences. They would potentially cover, Fundraising, clients, communication, staff and volunteers. If anyone has any ideas to add do speak to any of the SMT as we move forward and develop these.

In the same day I attended the Morecambe Bay Locality Cancer Group, which, at last, has welcomed two public members who have been put forward to join and add a patient experience into the debate. Another example of attempting to empower and engage people.

I am pleased that we have been shortlisted for the Local Charity of the Year at Sainsbury’s, Morecambe.


We are at this moment neck and neck, so with a good push on voting by us all and family and friends, we may just get it.

Please vote by visiting the store or online at https://www.sainsburyslocalcharity.co.uk/. Search for Morecambe.

Later today (Friday) I am doing another presentation about who and what we are to the Dalton Square Integrated care community meeting in Lancaster.

I am slowly but surely getting around all of them across Morecambe Bay. We, of course, warmly welcome our volunteer team from Marks & Spencer who are here today painting and refurbing our large meeting/training room. Massive thanks to them all.

The weekend sees Alan and I off to Liverpool to spend the night with friends. Whatever you are doing, have a good weekend. Let’s hope the sunshine stays!



Neil Townsend
Chief Executive Officer