Posted on Monday 10 February 2020
Families of children with cancer are struggling more than ever, says CLIC Sargent
Set against a backdrop of economic uncertainty with increasing levels of child poverty, use of foodbanks and a growing demand for mental health support CLIC Sargent has unveiled its new five-year strategy to ensure everyone with cancer under 25 gets the support they need.
CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading support charity for children and young people with cancer, published Better, Faster, Stronger 2020-2025 this week. The charity has built the strategy around the knowledge that tougher economic times in the UK are placing an even greater strain on young cancer patients and their families.
After the charity’s research revealed almost 900 cancer patients a year under 25 in the UK are not currently referred for age specific specialist support, ignoring NICE guidance; a key goal of the CLIC Sargent strategy is to reach all young people who are currently facing cancer alone. The charity’s plans also focus on using technology to stretch resources further, giving more families and young people instant access to a core CLIC Sargent service including vital financial help and a range of digital services with relevant advice and information, whenever and wherever they are in the UK.
CLIC Sargent chief executive, Kate Lee said: “Cancer is completely unfair when you’re under 25. It’s physically, emotionally and financially devastating and we see families at breaking point. We know that life it getting so much harder across the UK but this makes it even tougher when you’re dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis. The reality is that a growing number of the families we support are struggling with debt and trying to make ends meet. The idea that a family who are already watching their child going through the painful reality of cancer treatment, also has to use a foodbank just to feed their kids is horrendous but it’s happening. CLIC Sargent’s support services are more desperately needed now than ever before.”
A huge advocate of partnerships in third sector, CLIC Sargent’s new service delivery model includes building partnerships with charities and other organisations of all sizes to improve the quality and reach of care for young people with cancer. It is also looking to challenge processes in the NHS which mean that young people with certain types of cancer are not getting any support because they are being treated on wards for adults more than twice their age.
The charity, which has a proud history in social work and specialist nursing, relies solely on voluntary income to provide its vital services to families. As a result a key element of the strategy’s focus is on ensuring that the charity continues to be financially stable and sustainable so that its services will be available not just for families it already supports but for the thousands of families who will receive a childhood cancer diagnosis in the future. Its approach includes making its resources stretch further; looking at ways to grow income and recruiting more volunteers.
Kate added: “Like many charities, we can see that it’s getting harder to fundraise at the same time, the need for our services is increasing and costs are rising. We don’t receive any Government funding for our work helping more than 7,000 children and young people with cancer every year; we rely entirely on donations from our incredible supporters. That’s why our goal is to be stronger and build financially sustainability.”
CLIC Sargent believes the key to growing its support is transparency and making sure that we are trusted by and accountable to our supporters and service users. The charity has been leading the way on transparency, publishing honest accounts of performance through impact reports titled Hands Up We’re Not Perfect in 2018 and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in 2019.
Better, Faster, Stronger follows World Cancer Day on February 4 where families shared stories of what CLIC Sargent’s support has meant to them.
Kate said: “It was a privilege to hear from families how CLIC Sargent has helped them. Some said they could have lost their homes if it hadn’t been for CLIC Sargent and others spoke of how our social workers were there to give that all-important expert knowledge and emotional support. It was a stark reminder why CLIC Sargent needs to be ‘Better, Faster, Stronger’ to make sure we’re there for everyone who needs us now and in the future.”
Read the report here
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