A CANCER charity that was at risk of closure claims it still has a future - despite falling short of raising £600,000 in a public crisis appeal.

Wessex Cancer Trust (WST), a self-funded charity which provides support to anyone living with cancer in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, announced on December 3 that it was launching the appeal to save its services.

The service put out a public plea asking for people to help them raise the funds by the end of February - however, the appeal had raised £290,000 by the deadline.

Former Saints Chairman and Patron of WST Harry Redknapp has also thanked volunteers and fundraisers from each region for their work on the appeal.

But the charity states it still has a future despite being in a "delicate situation", but plans to launch new fundraising and commercial initiatives to ensure the additional money is raised.

Chairman Barry Rinaldi said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to our crisis appeal, both in terms of donations and encouragement. For a local charity to have raised almost £300,000 in two months is incredible. It speaks volumes that so many people have recognised the role we play in helping others through their experience of cancer.

"We acknowledge that this is some way from the amount we asked for, however we remain confident that Wessex Cancer Trust has a future. A number of savings have been made to streamline the charity as much as possible within its fixed cost constraints. This has included closing shops, selling assets and reducing overheads.

"To move us forward, our income generation strategy is being accelerated to mitigate the ongoing risks of High Street retail performance, reliance on legacies, and to ensure the charity operates towards a surplus financial balance year on year. We hope the amount raised through the appeal, and these plans for our future will give others confidence to come forward to help us continue our fundraising efforts, which we still very much need to continue during 2020.

"The needs of those who come to Wessex Cancer Trust for support continues to be a top priority and the charity wants to continue to give the very best care to the growing number of people affected by cancer.

"For the past year, and based on extensive research and consultation, it has been changing its model of care to better meet the unique needs of everyone living with cancer and provide a more personalised approach. In the long term, this strategy will create efficiencies whilst still improving the care to people who need it.

"Whilst we have raised a substantial amount of money and now feel we are in a position to shape the future of cancer care, we are still in a delicate situation. If anyone has been waiting to see if Wessex Cancer Trust has a future before donating, I can assure you it does. I urge you to support us if you can.”

To donate to Wessex Cancer Trust, text SAVEWESSEX to 70085 or visit justgiving.com/campaign/savewessexcancertrust.