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Macmillan Cancer Support cut 150 jobs amid soaring inflation

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Macmillan Cancer Support, one of the UK’s prominent charities, has announced plans to cut 150 jobs, equivalent to one in 14 of its workforce, citing challenges in raising funds amidst soaring inflation and escalating demand for its services.

The charity, renowned for its crucial role in local NHS provision, allocates £250m annually to support approximately 11,000 specialist cancer nurses and care workers. Additionally, it provides financial, practical, and emotional assistance to individuals affected by cancer, including grants to cover expenses such as energy and travel costs.

Despite its longstanding success in fundraising, which typically exceeds £200m annually through legacies and events like marathons and coffee mornings, Macmillan faces a funding squeeze exacerbated by inflation and heightened demand for cancer-related support services.

Acknowledging these challenges, Macmillan stated, “It is getting harder to raise money, and inflation means it costs more to do the same as we did a few years ago.” Consequently, the charity is undergoing transformation to enhance its impact without solely relying on increased fundraising.

The decision to reduce its workforce reflects the need to adapt to a changing financial landscape while ensuring continued support for individuals living with cancer. Notably, the job cuts will not affect staff directly involved in providing support to the public, and the majority of clinicians funded by Macmillan are employed by the NHS.

The announcement has surprised observers within the voluntary sector, as larger charities have generally been resilient to economic pressures compared to smaller organizations. However, Macmillan’s move underscores the ongoing financial strain faced by charities amid rising living costs and fluctuating donations.

The job losses come in the wake of a previous workforce reduction during the pandemic, where Macmillan axed 300 jobs due to income losses resulting from canceled fundraising events. Despite fundraising income rebounding post-lockdown, the charity continues to grapple with financial challenges, with spending consistently outpacing donations in recent years.

Macmillan’s income primarily relies on fundraising and legacies, accounting for 97% of its revenue. However, fundraising efforts have stagnated over the past year, exacerbating financial pressures.

The charity’s chief executive, Gemma Peters, has initiated a comprehensive strategy review to address structural and operational issues, including its reliance on traditional fundraising methods. This review reflects Macmillan’s commitment to adapt to evolving challenges and ensure sustainable support for individuals affected by cancer.

Sarah Vibert, CEO of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, emphasized the broader challenges faced by charities, including surging demand, declining income, and rising operational costs.

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