14th Jul 2021

Two teenage cancer units in Newcastle have benefitted from a grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. The grant to the Teenage Cancer Trust helped the units at the Freeman Hospital and the Great North Children’s Hospital to continue their work through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This helps fund two youth support co-ordinators, one Lead Nurse and one Clinical Nurse Specialist who support the running of its Youth Empowerment Programme. They provide holistic care to help young people and their families cope with the challenges of cancer and intensive treatments. They are highly skilled members of the team and are often the first person a young person will turn to with questions or concerns. 

Su Legg, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation said: 

“Other illnesses haven’t gone away during the Covid crisis and this grant supports the Teenage Cancer Trust’s vital work in two of our regions hospitals, despite the limitations that have been imposed by the pandemic.” 

Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on the young people being supported and their treatments by adding a further layer of isolation and uncertainty. Through the peak of the crisis both of the units at The Freeman Hospital and Great North Children’s Hospital remained open but social areas were closed. This put greater onus on the Youth Support Co-ordinators who were able to interact and support young people in their rooms and on a one-to-one basis by wearing full PPE. On average, they offered support to 121 young people a month including running 51 one-to-one sessions. 

Andrew Haigh, Chief Exec at Newcastle Building Society recognised the importance of the grant at this time: 

 “Whilst the pandemic has had a major impact on fundraising in the sector, it speaks volumes of the commitment, skill and compassion of the people behind organisations such as the Teenage Cancer Trust that so many have been able to continue their amazing support of the people in our region. 

“Through the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund we have been able to direct funding to our communities and groups who need help more than ever, and where it will have the most positive impact in these challenging times. 

“Although uncertainty remains and there is concern over the long-term implications on cancer services, it’s humbling to hear the impact that the Teenage Cancer Trust have on young people’s lives and I’m proud that we are able to support their fantastic work.” 

The Teenage Cancer Trust staff ensure services continue in an age-appropriate way, supporting young people, their families, partners and friends, to connect and understand what’s happening and why. They also advocate for young people and parent’s needs, creating a sense of normality and reducing isolation. 

Karen Ruskin, Head of Trust and Foundations, Teenage Cancer Trust, said:   

“No teenager or young adult should ever have to face cancer alone.    

“And, thanks to this grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund, young people facing cancer in the most challenging of circumstances can be properly supported through their ordeal.  

“We can’t thank them enough.” 

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