About Chai

Chai Cancer Care is the Jewish community’s national cancer support organisation, enabling patients, family and friends to manage the impact of a cancer diagnosis. We provide expert physical, emotional and practical support delivered with care and sensitivity, and in complete confidence.

What We Do

Chai Cancer Care provides an extensive range of specialised support services that include counselling, complementary and physical therapies, advocacy and advice, group and social activities. It is available for individuals, couples, families, friends, work colleagues, teens and children from as young as three.

We have 11 centres across the UK with our flagship centre in Hendon, North West London. Clients who cannot come to a Chai centre because they are recovering from surgery, currently undergoing treatment or are too unwell, can still benefit from our expertise and care through our Home Support Service

We can reach anybody who needs us – nationally and internationally – through our counselling and advisory services, also available via telephone and Skype. 

Each client receives tailor-made support to meet his or her individual and specific needs and is assured of complete confidentiality. Our staff are professionally trained and accredited and are experienced in working with cancer patients and their family members. 

Chai works in partnership with the NHS, social services, schools, other Jewish voluntary agencies, community groups, hospitals and hospices. We are often the link between these different agencies, enabling families to manage the many complexities that arise following a cancer diagnosis.

We also have a Medical Outpatient Rehabilitation and Palliative Care Service. This is a three-way collaboration with the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and Marie Curie Cancer Care. Based at Chai, this service is led by a consultant in palliative care medicine and provides a multi-disciplinary rehabilitative approach to many of the issues resulting from a cancer diagnosis.

We respond to all calls within 24 hours and do not have any waiting lists. 

There is no charge for our services and as we do not receive any statutory funding, we depend on the generosity of the community. 

Our History

There have been many milestones in our amazing history which have shaped our development. Here’s a whistle-stop journey to take you from our first days as a home-based helpline to an internationally recognised cancer support charity  

Chai Timeline


Frances Winegarten z’l and Susan Shipman meet in June and the kernel of Chai Lifeline takes shape. 


Charitable status is granted. With £500, Susan and Frances launch a telephone helpline and befriending service, run from their homes.


Inaugural Natalie Shipman Memorial Lecture, in memory of Susan’s eight-year-old daughter who passed away from cancer in 1990. It attracts 500 people.


Chai’s first base opens in Heather House, Golders Green.


First event in Stamford Hill, a lecture on Breast Cancer Awareness, is attended by 800 women, several of whom then seek medical advice.


The Chai Lifeline Centre for Health opens in Shield House, Hendon, providing counselling, health screening, complementary therapies and lectures.


First fundraising dinner, held at the home of Sir Sydney and Lady Rosa Lipworth CBE


Chai Lifeline is re-named Chai Lifeline Cancer Care.


Louise Hager becomes Co-Chairman with Susan Shipman.


A major expansion and investment in services as Chai moves into a prominent new site at 142-146 Great North Way. The Home Support Service launches.


Official opening of the newly refurbished Chai Centre by The Duke of Kent.


Founder President Frances Winegarten z’l passes away at the age of 84. Lord Young becomes President. Children, Teenage & Family Services launch.


First satellite service launches in Redbridge.


South London satellite service established.


Services arrive in North Manchester.


Chai services reach Glasgow, South Manchester, Hackney, and Southend.
The new Wohl Wing at Hendon’s flagship centre significantly expands Chai’s service provision.


Another new wing at the flagship houses the groundbreaking Medical Outpatient Rehabilitation and Palliative Care Service.


Chai in Schools launches.


Services are established in Liverpool and Leeds.


Official opening of the Image Resource Service in Hendon. Inaugural lectures and services in Birmingham.


Purpose-built Chai centre opens in North Manchester providing a hub for clients in the North West.


Chai invited to advise communities in Antwerp and Cape Town on providing cancer support and care.


Chai celebrates its 30th Anniversary. We now provide 59 specialised services to clients aged three to 97, nationally and internationally.

Read more:  Time to mention the C word, Susan Shipman’s personal recollections of the founding of Chai Cancer Care.