01 October 2020

A Virtual Summer to remember...

It is safe to say our first ever Virtual Summer has been a hit! ! More importantly, it enabled us to continue supporting young people even though we couldn’t be together and get out on the water this year.It all kicked off on Monday 6 July. A jam-packed programme of online activities was put together to support young people after they told us what they would need and would miss from trips. Everyone was welcome to join, whether they had been on a Trust trip before or had only recently finished treatment.

Being able to stay connected – with old familiar faces and new friends – is what it was all about. Whether young people got involved in virtual activities or not, they knew we were there for them.

Everyone from the Trust team, including skippers, volunteers, ambassadors, and friends of the Trust, pulled together to ensure the best online support network was possible.

Trust Tuesday Hangouts were a weekly highlight and where we laughed, competed, painted, smiled, and stayed in touch. There was everything! Harry Potter Quizzes with awesome volunteer Annelia, games nights with Articulate Queen Wen, watercolour workshops with artist Sketchbook by Bethany, and a ‘sleep retreat’ with Trust ambassador Rob da Bank.

Wednesdays became the day to get inspired with our ‘Wider Horizons’ careers sessions. Alice Duncan, one of the captains of Red Funnel Ferries, shared her top tips, and volunteer Ed Yelland held an Insta Live Q&A for those interested in pursuing a career in acting.

Trust skippers shared their nautical knowledge in How to Thursday’ Trust Tutorial videos, teaching us everything from knots to navigation, from how to predict the weather to how to play UNO – the Trust way. So young people are just as prepared as ever for their next trip!

On top of all of that we also launched a Pen Pal network so under 18s could stay in touch and make new friends, while over 18s were invited to join our new ‘Page Turners’ book club, both of which will continue beyond our Virtual Summer.

We’re super excited to also be continuing monthly ‘A Conversation About…’ drop-in sessions held in partnership with post-cancer care experts. After hosting a talk on nutrition with Trekstock and a session focusing on survivor’s guilt with Nurse Specialist Sue Morgan from Teenage Cancer Trust, we will be covering a range of other topics, including body image on Wednesday 21 October. Sign up here to join the conversation.

Sound Waves, the Trust’s official podcast launched at the start of lockdown, is here to stay. Host Scott has been joined by 38 different guests across 16 episodes and three seasons (so far!). From lockdown to mental health, from staying safe in the sun to survivor's guilt, the Trust community has come together to talk about the things that matter.

It’s been a summer like no other, but it has allowed us to develop new ways to support young people who need the Trust more than ever. A massive thank you to everyone that has got involved and supported us to make it a Virtual Summer to remember.

We still don’t know what 2021 will bring, but have a look at CEO Frank’s blog to read more about our plans here. The one thing that is certain is that, whatever happens, we will be here for every young person that needs support.