Participation at CLIC Sargent

At CLIC Sargent we make sure we listen to the voices of children, young people and parents so that their views can inspire and influence who we are, what we do and where we’re heading. We believe that children, young people and parents with first-hand experience of childhood cancer are the best people to tell us what it’s like and what needs to change.

Michaela holding I'm Championing Participation board

In 2018 CLIC Sargent celebrated 10 years of our Participation service, which puts children, young people and parent’s voices at the heart of the charity’s service delivery and development, shaping and improving our UK-wide support services.

The service, which has been awarded the gold standard Hear by Right award from the National Youth Agency twice, was launched in 2008 with the appointment of CLIC Sargent’s first User Participation Manager to oversee, develop and implement opportunities for children, young people and parents.

In the years that followed, key milestones include the establishment of children, young people and parents advisory groups, the creation and development of the charity’s Shout Out! magazine for seven to 13-year-olds, Facebook groups for young people and parents, the appointment of trustees with a lived experience of cancer, and including young people and parents in staff inductions and on recruitment panels.

Kat Mills, 23, joined CLIC Sargent’s Young Person’s Reference Group (YPRG) after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. The group, made up of young people aged 16-25+, meets every two months, providing invaluable peer-to-peer support with those who have had similar experiences.

Kat said: “Last year I was unwell, isolated, and unsure of my place in the world. Everything I had done before was now pointless, and my goals were now impossible. What made it unbearable was the feeling that I could no longer contribute anything worthwhile.

“Charlotte, my CLIC Sargent Social Worker suggested YPRG, and it’s by no means an exaggeration to say that joining YPRG has changed my life.

“For the first time since my diagnosis, I felt like my voice mattered. I was speaking with my peers about things that are important to us, and in sharing our opinions we were helping everyone. For the first time since my diagnosis, I know the path my life should take. YPRG has given me something priceless: YPRG has given me a purpose.”

Tim Sadler became involved in CLIC Sargent’s participation service after he was supported by the charity when his son Michael was diagnosed with cancer just before his third birthday in April 2014.

Tim spoke about his experiences in parliament on behalf of CLIC Sargent and he also starred in our Kid Santa Christmas campaign. After speaking to his CLIC Sargent Social Worker about the need for dads to have an outlet to speak about their feelings, Tim helped to establish the ‘Mind the Chaps’ Facebook group; a space for dads to connect with other dads whose children have been diagnosed with cancer.

Tim said: “I’ve been able to interview new staff members and help to develop the charity’s digital strategy, plus star in this year’s Christmas campaign. I’m not an actor so this is something I never thought I’d be able to do!

“One of the things CLIC Sargent is really good at is offering us loads of opportunities to turn a hideous negative into a positive. After your child’s treatment finishes you really do want to find a way to give back to charities that were there for you at your worst time and being involved in activities with CLIC Sargent is the perfect way.”

CLIC Sargent marked 10 years of our Participation service with a dedicated ‘Participation Week’ in November 2018. Throughout the week, CLIC Sargent shared stories of participation from children, young people, parents and staff over the years through illustrations designed by Sophie, a young person we supported.

Here Sophie talks about her experience of participation at CLIC Sargent.

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For more information or to find out how you can get involved, please email