Covid-19: Blood Cancer UK CEO 'in tears' as charity prepares to make large cuts to workforce

The chief executive of Blood Cancer UK has admitted to being 'in tears' over the financial impact of Covid-19 on the charity, which includes a proposal to cut staffing numbers by more than a quarter.

The charity’s chief executive Gemma Peters said she was left in in tears during a Zoom call with supporters and staff, which featured a video thanking the charity for its work.

Peters said the tears were of “pride” but also “sadness” due to the financial challenges facing the organisation amid the Covid-19 pandemic due to cancellation of fundraising events and recession.

“At the end of the video, it fell to me to say something on behalf of the staff, but I struggled to get my words out through the tears,” Peters said.

“They were tears of pride at being the leader of such an amazing group of people. But they were also tinged the sadness of knowing the devastating impact that the cancellation of fundraising events and the economic downturn were already having on our finances.”

She said that the charity faces a £6m drop in income that may take three years to return to last year’s level.

Operational costs have already been cut by £2m and 40% of its staff have been furloughed. The charity also has £1.8m less to spend on research this year.

“But none of this was enough, and so it became inevitable that we would face a difficult decision about the size and shape of our charity,” Peters added.

She said that the charity is now considering cutting its staff numbers by 28% from 120 to 87.

“It’s only a proposal at the moment, and over the next month I want to hear the thoughts of the team about how we can improve it. But it’s clear that we’ll lose a significant number of brilliant, dedicated, people.”

She added that she was “gutted” for the staff whose jobs are at risk and worried about the consequences of reducing research spending.

Blood Cancer UK is among a raft of charities to recently announce plans to cut staffing numbers and spending due to a loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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