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Cancer charity’s counselling services face the axe

FROME-based charity, Positive Action on Cancer (PAC), says it may be forced to cut counselling services in order to keep going after a fall in donations received from charitable and grant-making trusts over the past year. PAC also offer counselling in Bath, Warminster, Trowbridge and at a number of local schools. The charity currently offers 60 counselling sessions each week to adults and children affected or bereaved by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Every session provided by PAC costs £40 to deliver and the total service costs £12,500 each month. During the financial year of 2011/2012 58% of PAC’s income was received from charitable trusts as a result of applications made to them by the charity. This amount has fallen since the previous year when it was 66%. The charity thinks this decline is due to less money being available from the trusts because of lower interest rates and more charities applying, due to funding cuts elsewhere in the sector. PAC also raises money from community activities, donations from individuals and local companies. PAC currently has three members of staff, 5 counsellors and works with a team of over 30 volunteers. “Like all charities we are really starting to feel the pinch of recession,” said Helen Kingston, chair of trustees at PAC and a local GP. “We know these are difficult times financially for everyone on both a personal and a business level. “The reality is that we are currently seeing our highest number of clients ever and our main source of income is decreasing. “The local community is marvellous at supporting our work but we are now faced with needing to secure more income to bridge the gap and the community alone can’t shoulder this burden. We have spent the last few months reviewing our costs and trying to maximise our income. Already we have made as many changes as possible, but if we can’t find new sources of income, we may be faced with cutting our services to ensure our future survival. “As a GP I see first-hand the impact that cancer has on families and the emotional support and relief that PAC can offer. Our service remains unique and in demand in the local area. We are doing everything possible to avoid cutting our service and urge anyone who can help us (in any way, however small) to do so. “Our 2009 Listening Ear Appeal showed us how much everyone values and supports our work and the money raised from that has been helping us to deliver our service for the past few years but that pot has now come to an end”. There are many ways in which you can support PAC – make a donation, organise a fundraising event, ask your company to offer support, ask your group or club to fundraise. If you are able to do one of these things or have another idea please contact Kelly Hall on 01373 455255, email or visit Notes to Editor: • To arrange a photograph, interview or for further information please contact Kelly Hall at PAC. Office hours 01373 455255 or Out of hours 07708675657