A much-loved cancer charity has outgrown its current premises and is appealing to the public to help raise funds for its new “forever home”.

The Hummingbird Centre - a cancer support and therapy hub on the outskirts of Bicester – has identified former Italian restaurant, Rigoletto, in Middleton Stoney as the best option for their move.

The charity must raise £700,000 to secure the property before it goes to sealed bids on June 21.   

Founder and former CEO of the centre, Mechelle Harris, said the current site is just not big enough anymore for the services the centre wants to provide.

Mrs Harris said: “Since Covid the dynamics of supporting people with cancer has changed.

“We’re running out of space for the demand. We’re really hoping someone out there, possibly an investor, sees the potential in us and decides to help.”

The current site is comprised of three buildings. An activities barn, reception and gathering area and a holistic building for complementary treatment.

But the charity wants to offer more support to its visitors, present and future.  

“The new premises would provide much more space, allowing us to focus more on children’s care.

“We want to build a children’s centre. We could also bring our equine therapy in-house, offer nature walks, a yoga studio, animals on site, and have better parking facilities.

“It would also allow us to host our own events.”

Renee Booth, who became CEO of The Hummingbird Centre in April this year, echoes Mechelle’s sentiment.

Ms Booth said: “The premises is a huge part of the future of the centre. We’re in a situation where we’ve outgrown the place where we are.

“We need a forever home.”

Both Mechelle and Renee remarked on how Covid has affected the nature of cancer care and support.

Ms Booth said: “Sadly the demographic has changed in the patients we are seeing. Pre-Covid our guests were mostly over 55’s, now most of them are under 50.

“The cases are much more complex too; people are being diagnosed far later into their journey because it has been so difficult to get a doctor’s appointment during the pandemic.

“We had some nurses in from Stoke Mandeville Hospital who estimated that cancer treatments have been pushed back about five years because of the sheer volume of people who have sought care throughout the pandemic.

Ms Harris said: “Someone who’s on their cancer journey shouldn’t face it alone. We’re here, reach out to us.

“The heart of what we do will never change, the Hummingbird centre must continue.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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