What incredibly unusual times we are living in!  Along with everyone here at CHECT, I send my very best wishes to you, your friends and families and my sincere hope that you are coping with the difficult challenges that the coronavirus continues to raise for all of us.​

Advice and support
As many of you know, we closed our offices over a month ago now on March 17th but thanks to the digital and online technology available, we have continued our work as normally as we possibly can.  Since the start of the shutdown, we have been providing you with information we hope you will find useful. 

On our website homepage you will find a link to the latest CCLG (Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group) coronavirus guidance for children and young people with cancer undergoing (or recently completed) treatment.  This is very helpful information, but if you are unsure about either your child’s status, or how their treatment might be affected, please do contact your Rb team at either Birmingham or London and they will be able to give you specific advice.

For families, we have also published a selection of free ideas to help keep children entertained while the schools are closed – from online workouts to storytelling, from cookery to virtual museum visits. Our support workers Sarah and Lesley have also started their own ‘Storytime’ sessions on Tuesday and Friday afternoons for younger CHECT members. 

If you’re interested in attending one of these Zoom sessions as well, please contact them directly for more details, or (if you are a member) visit the Retinoblastoma Parents Support Group on Facebook.

We know that the shutdown may have created very real, practical difficulties for some CHECT members, so we also have links to advice on registering as an extremely vulnerable person, managing utility bills and your employment rights. Don’t forget, Sarah and Lesley are also here for you if you do have any concerns and they may be able to help you to access other support funds if needed.  It is a difficult time for everyone and if there is anything else we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How COVID-19 has impacted the charity
As a small charity, we remain as busy as ever but have already had to take some difficult decisions.  We receive no government funding and so the financial impact of the lockdown on our income is huge.  We have had to freeze all discretionary expenditure and are keeping a watchful eye on all aspects of our finances.  We are as yet unsure as to what will happen with this September’s much anticipated Members’ Weekend but we will review this in light of both government advice and any financial considerations over the coming days. Please be reassured that if you have already purchased tickets, you will receive a refund in the event of cancellation.

Especially in these challenging times it is really heart-warming to see the generosity and creativity of so many of our supporters who are going that extra mile to help out; thank you all.

If you would like to join these efforts there are so many ways which make a big difference – from becoming a regular giver, or making a one off donation or even joining in with the latest nationwide 2.6 Challenge. If you are able to help in any way during what are set to be very difficult financial times, we would be enormously grateful.

Above all, please do everything you can so that you and your loved ones stay safe and well.  I look forward to speaking with and seeing many of you again soon as we come through this time together.

Very best wishes,