YouCan - Youth Cancer Support

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Up and down the country, there are thousands of people doing good deeds every day, and we decided to celebrate the great work that charities undergo with a regular feature on Tuesdays, to tie-in with #CharityTuesday on Twitter. This week, we caught up with YouCan – Youth Cancer Support to find out more about them.

Where are you based and what geographical areas do you support people in?
We are based in Kent and support young people aged 10-30 whose lives have been impacted by cancer in the South East & London.

How do you support people?
We provide support through one to one or group counselling, Wellbeing weekends & Days, sports & exercise courses, nutrition workshops, funded short breaks by the sea at our YouCan house and complementary therapy sessions. We recognise that a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have a significant effect on many aspects of a young person’s life – interrupted education or career, loss of confidence and self-esteem, affected relationships (family, friends), fear of a more uncertain future. We aim to to build self-esteem, encourage peer support and friendship and help young people face the future with increased confidence.

How did the charity come to be founded?
The Children’s Development Trust started in 2008 and were a grant giving organisation, mostly to children and young persons charities. They decided they wanted a focus and recognised there was a gap in the area of support for this age range. YouCan was then founded in September 2015. The decision to support such a broad age range was through medical professionals that advised this is where the support is missing, from starting a new school, college or uni, to going into the workplace and starting a family.

How many people do you have working at the charity?
We have 3 full time workers and one part time. YouCan have also just taken on a part time counsellor. Everyone working at YouCan has many years of experience within the charity sector and are very passionate about what YouCan provide.

How can people support you?
YouCan have just purchased a property by the Kent seaside and are in the process of renovating the house to make it accessible for everyone who will need to use it. The house is for young people to take a break with friends and family away from the stresses of cancer. We will also hold wellbeing weekends and workshops from the property. There can often be a heavy financial impact on families, where parents may have to stop work to care for their son/daughter and a break away, that would be so beneficial, is simply not possible. Rest, memories and a seaside environment can be of enormous benefit, and is particularly poignant when a family is facing an end of life situation. We are really in need of items for the house and are currently have a wish list for the property, which can be viewed on our website. It is very important to us for it to be a relaxing and inviting property for young people to take a break.

We are always fundraising to be able to offer the ongoing support to young people who need it, we feel very strongly about offering a sustainable service and work on a case by case basis depending on individual needs. Counselling is our most asked for service as there is nowhere they can access this easily that doesn’t limit them to certain amount of sessions. If anyone is interested in holding an event for YouCan, getting involved in our YouCan Run or would like to donate we really appreciate the support.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?
We work very closely with hospitals, hospices, schools, etc in the area and within London that support young people in our age range and know there are a lot that do not know about us. It is an ongoing challenge reaching out to young people who may need our services. Being a new project, this is something we are constantly working on and understand it takes time to get our name out there, but we have had so much encouragement from medical professionals saying that YouCan is something that has really been needed for some time.

Do you have any charity events coming up and where can people find out about these events?
We are constantly updating our social media and website with upcoming events and news.

Is there any advice you could give to other charities?
We feel very strongly about working together with other charities and providing all the support we can to people who need it. It is a big challenge getting a charity up and running but if you have a passionate team who truly believe in what you do then it’s very exciting and rewarding.

You can find out more about YouCan – Youth Cancer Support at their website or via Facebook or Twitter.