A cancer charity was unable to raise the funds it needed to secure its new premises, but staff haven’t lost hope and fundraising efforts will continue.

Staff at the Hummingbird centre, in Bicester, were on a mission to raise £700,000 in a two-week time frame to secure the former Italian restaurant, Rigoletto, in Middleton Stoney, as its new permanent home.

The fundraising efforts fell short of the target and the property went to sealed bids yesterday, Tuesday, June 21.

Despite the hurdle, The Hummingbird Centre staff are determined to improve their current premises, continue fundraising and one day lock down a permanent site.

Read more: Oxfordshire cancer charity to hold summer festival

Renee Booth, who became CEO of The Hummingbird Centre in April this year, said: “Sadly we were quite a way off our fundraising targets. But the endeavour has brought loads of positive things with it.

“It’s raised our profile and connected us with a lot of other guests. With all the media attention we’ve been inundated with people who want our support, and that’s why we’re here, to support people.

“We have a couple of other good funding opportunities from grants and local trusts who are now looking at us and willing to arrange meetings.

“The whole experience has really pushed us to consider the future; we need to grow.”

Ms Booth confirmed that the goal is still to secure a permanent property for the centre.

She explained: “We have decided to take a temporary step back and make a few changes within the centre itself.

“We’re making space for two additional counselling rooms, to help with the current influx of patients.

“We just need to keep an eye out for a new property. It may have seemed like Rigoletto was perfect, but I’m sure there are many more out there.

“We were overwhelmed with the support from the public. The social media reaction was huge. We just want to thank everyone that liked or shared a post or made a donation. It’s given us a fantastic foundation to build on.”   

Ms Booth said that the centre is now seeking trust and foundation funding and has a slew of fundraising activities and events prepared to help it raise money.

One of these events is the charity’s Summer Festival, which will take place on Saturday, July 16, from 12 noon to 4pm at Launton Playing Fields.

Guests can enjoy a dog show, stalls, food and refreshments, games, a bouncy castle, face painting and a bottle stall.

The charity is calling for donations of bottles for the stall and children’s toys for the tombola.


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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