West Yorkshire breast cancer support hub to suspend operations

A Leeds-based breast cancer support charity says it's "with huge sadness" that it's having to close due to the financial cost of the pandemic.

Breast Cancer Haven offered counselling, advice and therapies to people diagnosed with the illness, but trustees say income has decreased so significantly that they can't afford to operate any longer.

The charity had been offering online services during the last year.

Dr Caroline Hoffmann, director of the service, said: "If there was a white knight we would love to meet them, whoever him or her, because we know this service is vital and it does really hold people together.

"It holds families together, it transforms lives, it's just such an important service."

A statement posted on the charity's website said: "It is with huge sadness that Breast Cancer Haven’s Board of Trustees have made the extremely difficult decision to suspend operations for the time being.

"This means we will be pausing the delivery of our live online service and with great regret, putting all our staff at risk of redundancy."

It continued: "Despite a series of cost-cutting measures including saying goodbye to valued colleagues, we are not able to continue normal operations at this time.

"This means that we will be pausing the delivery of our live online services that have helped around 1,800 people by providing over 10,000 appointments since lockdown began in March 2020."

Credit: ITV News

Almost 5,000 cancer patients in Leeds have been helped by the Haven.

Amrik Rhall was referred to the centre after he was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.

He said: "They helped me so much, just to get back to a normal lifestyle.

"I met loads of amazing people through Breast Cancer Haven, I became the first male to do a fashion show for them...they've helped me and I've helped them, it's an amazing organisation.

"It will be missed."

The group have said that current online services will be suspended at the end of June, with self-help films and audio files continuing to be available online.

The statement ended by saying: "We have the most wonderful team of staff, self-employed therapists and volunteers and we are hugely grateful for their hard work and dedication over so many years."