Leukaemia Care – From London to Worcester in 50 years

Find out about our humble beginnings and how your support has allowed us to continue to be there for blood cancer patients no matter where we might be

Leukaemia Care has come a long way during its 50 years of existence, from its humble beginnings as a small “kitchen table meeting” in London, to becoming the nationally recognised charity that we are familiar with today. The charity has not only vastly improved the services it is able to provide but has also moved forward in the geographical sense of the phrase, changing location of its national office five times to accommodate its growing size and ultimately helping  the charity to reach out and provide better care and support for more leukaemia patients and their families. Today’s Throwback Thursday takes a look at Leukaemia Care’s journey through the ages.

Holland Park, London – 1967

As mentioned earlier in the year, the first ever meeting place of the “Leukaemia Society” (as it was initially called) was the kitchen table of two founding members, Mr and Mrs Brown, in Holland Park, London. Altogether, there were thirteen founding members at this inaugural meeting and unfortunately, nearly all of them were parents to children that either had leukaemia or had sadly lost their lives to the condition. It was in this rather humble setting that the very objectives of the charity were first put forward, and hence the first-ever support group was set up to help other parents and children going through a similar situation to themselves.

Holland Park, London. The very first meeting place of Leukaemia Care

From London to Worcester

For a short time after this initial meeting, these parents provided a number of specific services such as baby minding, help with transport or hospital visiting, all of which was done on a local basis. However, before long, it became apparent that the principal needs of the parents appealing for help was for information about the disease, as well as an understanding ear to confide in. This kind of informational and emotional support required a dedicated team to produce newsletters and other pieces of material to run an ever-growing number of support groups. A small office in Kent was therefore named as the first official base of Leukaemia Care in the early 1970s.

From our original base in Kent, the team moved to Exeter in 1983, where they stayed for over two decades. As the charity grew during this time, it was decided that we needed a more central location with better rail and road links, and the idea of moving the charity north to Birmingham was discussed. However, considering the financial implications of running an office in the city centre, we decided to make our permanent home 26 miles south of Birmingham in Worcester.

The Worcester office was originally split between two town house buildings nearer the city centre. The main national office was in Shrubbery Avenue, and looked after responsibilities such as PR and accounts and was where Leukaemia Care launched its first patient advocacy role. Across the road from this on Shrub Hill was another office that housed the CARE and support team, who staffed the helpline.

Shrubbery Avenue, Our first home in Worcester

The big move – 2006

The crew at Taylors of Martley kindly provided a free lorry service to help with the big move to new Worcester office, 2006.

In May 2006, Leukaemia Care was thrilled to move to its purpose-built flagship office in Blackpole East, Worcester, where the office-based team still work today. The office was proudly opened by Leukaemia Care’s then Patrons, Gary Lineker and Lady Pamela Hicks.

The move was long awaited as it enabled the national office team and the CARE and support team to reunite and work cooperatively under one roof, which eliminated any communication delays and improved the way the charity could utilise its resources.

Footballing legend Gary Lineker was hugely impressed with the facilities on offer, as well as the work that Leukaemia Care carries out. Before cutting the ribbon to open the building, he said: Charities like this offer everything from support to comfort and understanding, to counselling at what is a very difficult time for any family that has to go through this sort of experience, which is obviously very traumatic and frightening. To train people to deal with the many issues that are involved is of paramount importance.

I think the new headquarters are wonderful, it is a great facility to have and it’s great to have a pleasant environment in which to help those affected by leukaemia and the other blood disorders. To have facilities as good as this is almost unique, I would think.

Still very much pleased with our facilities here in Worcester, we at Leukaemia Care would like to thank the staff, fundraisers and donors that made this dream become a reality; your hard work and donations have helped the charity to expand its services nationally, to become the charity we are today.

Gary Lineker with the Leukaemia Care team at the new office, 2006

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