We are obviously disappointed at the decision by Liverpool City Council not to renew the contract with Roy Castle FagEnds to provide smoking cessation services for the people of the city region.
This decision was taken against a backdrop of a further restrictions in the overall council budget due to cuts in financial support from central government. It stands in line with the national trend to reduce funding for smoking cessation services.
The council has had to make hard choices, and we understand this. Nonetheless, this decision is particularly disappointing given that Roy Castle FagEnds, the first smoking cessation service in the UK, has demonstrated a track record of solid success over the 20 years it has been in operation.
The FagEnds team has helped more than 100,000 smokers to quit (24,315 between January 2010 and December 2015) and has reduced smoking prevalence in Liverpool by over 12%.
In the same period, January 2010 to December 2015, 10,242 people took our SmokeFree Families pledge.
We continue to campaign to make Liverpool a smoke-free city. We are proud of our record.
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, the only national charity dedicated to beating the UK’s biggest cancer killer, continues to grow and flourish from our headquarters in Liverpool.
We campaigned for the change in legislation that banned smoking in public places. More recently, we have worked with local partners to deliver Stoptober and raise awareness of the smoking ban in cars where under 18s are present. We invest more than £1m each year to support vital medical research projects to improve the lives and prospects of patients with lung cancer.
We are launching a brand-new helpline to support and advise people throughout the whole lung cancer journey, from diagnosis through to treatment and beyond.
It will direct patients and families to other external services and agencies, when they need help with social, medical or legal matters, and will also offer support and guidance for those who wish to quit smoking.
In conclusion, while we see this decision by Liverpool City Council as disappointing, it is important to note that there will continue to be help and support for people in Liverpool who want to quit smoking.
We would like to thank our partners, supporters and clients who have made Roy Castle FagEnds the success it has been for the past 20 years.
It is our understanding that FagEnds will continue to run the service until end of June 2016.
We will work with the new provider, Solutions4Health, to enable the excellent service to continue, ensuring a seamless transition for both clients and staff.
A personal statement from Prof Ray Donnelly, who founded Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Friday 4 March 2016
I would like to reiterate everything that Paula has said.
It was in 1994 that I first met FagEnds. They were a group of young people, led by Melody Holt who had given up smoking and we’re trying to help other people quit in one of the poorer districts of Liverpool. They had the idea of working within their own communities, with their peers on a voluntary basis and in a non-judgemental way. Their approach was more grass-roots and very different from that taken by health professionals and it appealed to me.
Mel and her friends had persuaded their GP to let them have a desk and a telephone once a week and their enthusiasm was infectious.
I decided to help them and, over the next few years, gave them a series of small grants, firstly to buy a computer, then to rent an office space and finally to employ some staff.
They performed so well that, eventually, we absorbed them into the Foundation and they became Roy Castle FagEnds.
They went from strength to strength, achieving success rates way above the standards set by the Department of Health. They have never lost their fundamental ethos and their achievements have been truly great.
We can be very proud of what they have contributed to the wellbeing and health of thousands of people in Merseyside and very grateful for the vision which Mel had all those years ago.
To all our FagEnds staff I say thank you and that you will be greatly missed but I am sure that the talent you have will ensure that you continue to be successful as you take on new opportunities.
I understand that it will be a couple of months before you leave and I have no doubt that you will continue to give it your all as you always have done.
The Foundation will always be in your heart, I’m sure, and I hope you will keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on.
With very best regards and much admiration.