Charity faces crisis due to pandemic

An east London charity that helps families affected by a rare childhood cancer is fighting to stay open after it saw about half its income dry up when the pandemic hit.

Kristel Huth set up Mitchell’s Miracles in 2013 after her son Mitchell, seven, lost his life to Neuroblastoma eight years ago.

The small team, based in Romford, raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease because early detection can mean a greater chance of survival. They also support hundreds of families with small grants to help them through the financial burden of having a child in hospital.

But the lockdown meant staff could no longer take part in their usual fundraising activities, which raised around £50,000 for the organisation last year.

Ms Huth said: “The pandemic has really affected us. April and May are usually busy months with lots of events that would’ve brought in funds. But they all had to be cancelled. Just being out there shaking buckets brings in a lot for us and we haven’t been able to do that.

“All the small charities support each other and I know a lot who are on the verge of closing. I’ve furloughed staff and don’t know when I can bring them back yet.

“I’m trying to stay positive because we have a great community around us but it’s going to be very difficult, especially if we have a second wave.

“Grants available to charities need to get to us more quickly otherwise we are going to see a lot closing down.”

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Mick Ferris

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