A SUPPORT centre for people whose lives have been affected by cancer has had to reduce its drop-in hours less than a year after opening.

The Wessex Cancer Trust’s Salisbury Support Centre, based at Beckett House in Bridge Street, has announced that it will drop its opening hours from three days to two in the new year.

The Trust relies on voluntary donations and income from its eight charity shops, but said this year they have faced a deficit and had to use reserve funds.

In a statement, the Trust said 2017 had been “a difficult year” and the charity would be “using its money wisely to prevent services being reduced” in 2018.

The changes will not affect the centre’s one to one support services, and counsellors and therapists working for the charity will carry on as before.

The centre, which opened in February, has trained volunteer befrienders who will provide a “listening ear” for clients and also provides counselling, massage and aromatherapy.

Support is also available for family members or close friends, not just those with a cancer diagnosis.

Terry Waldron, of Stapleford, is one of many who have benefitted from the centre, and said he was “extremely shocked” to hear it would be reducing its hours.

“I personally have had much help, from the befrienders, who have a shoulder to cry on if you so desire (or to hear any problems you may have and to assist where possible and practical), to join in with a support group, where, in confidence you can talk to others who have been diagnosed, or to have some form of therapy - I have had reflexology on three occasions and find it very relaxing,” he said.

He urged people to make use of the centre in the hopes that increased visitor numbers would allow it to remain open for the full three days, or to make a donation.

A spokesman for the centre said: “Wessex Cancer Trust are committed to providing local support for people affected by cancer.

"Last year saw a financial deficit for the charity, which we met with our reserves, we are now working hard to bring us back to a balanced budget and we are grateful to everyone who helps us through volunteering, giving, donating or getting involved in one of our events.’’

The centre will now be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am until 3pm.

Drop in anytime, or call to make an appointment on 01722 421 781.

For more information visit www.wessexcancer.org.uk.