09 March 2023

Dame Ellen MacArthur launches Trust's 2023-25 Ambitions

Being even more accessible and inclusive to all young people with a cancer diagnosis in the UK and ensuring every young person experiences belonging and improved mental wellbeing is at the heart of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s new Ambitions, launched by Dame Ellen MacArthur in London on Wednesday (8 March).

Launched at the British Medical Association, the Trust’s new Ambitions – ‘Bigger Impact, Brighter Futures – Our Ambitions 2023-2025’ - detail how we plan to reach, inspire, and support more young people than ever over the next three years.

This year, we celebrate our 20th anniversary. The charity has grown from taking five young people from Great Ormond Street Hospital sailing in 2003, to supporting almost 2,900 young people after treatment from across the UK. This year we hope to welcome 750 young people sailing or on outdoor adventures.

Dame Ellen MacArthur standing at lectern launching new three-year Ambitions.Dame Ellen said: “Our understanding of the life-changing difference we make to young people living through and beyond cancer is greater than ever.

“We’re learning how to have a ‘Bigger Impact’, and with that comes ‘Brighter Futures’ for more young people who experience the transformational magic of the Trust, whether that transformation happens after one trip or through coming back every year.

“Over 20 years we have evolved as a charity, and we will keep evolving as we strive to be a truly diverse and inclusive youth organisation that is relevant in the world we live in today.

“What we achieve in the next three years will lay the foundations for the next 20, but we will need help and support to get there.”

Sailing towards brighter futures

After being introduced by Dame Ellen, young people shared the difference being supported by the charity has made to their lives.

Bhavan Randhawa from Wolverhampton first sailed with the Trust in Cowes aged 14 in 2016, having been diagnosed with follicular lymphoma - a cancer of the lymphatic system - the year before. Now 21, he has enjoyed five trips in total, including taking part in the 2019 Round the Island Race, and is set to return to Cowes as a trip volunteer this summer.

Young people supported by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust who spoke at the launch of the charity's new Ambitions 2023-25 on Wednesday 8 March. (l-r) Emily Wright, Isla Pontone & Bhavan Randhawa with panel presenter, Scott Wilson.

He said: "After treatment, I was like 'Oh, what do I do now? Do I just go back to school and pretend everything's normal? I was quite scared to tell people what had happened, because I didn't want to be the odd one out in front of everyone.

"So it was nice to have this opportunity to go to this place where I wasn't the odd one out and was actually just another person.

"The Trust has always been a safe space for me, somewhere I can go and know I will find people like me that I can fit in with, know I can be me and that's okay."

Every day around 12 children, teenagers, and young adults under 24 are diagnosed with cancer. Happily, survival rates are increasing. But, of the 3,000 new young people the Trust could work with every year, it can currently support just 9% of those to go sailing for the first time – less than 1 in 10.

Frank Fletcher, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust CEO, added: “Today, 12 young people have heard they have cancer. Thanks to modern medicine, the majority will finish treatment and be told they can get back to ‘normal’.

“But many of them won’t know what ‘normal’ is anymore, and their future can feel like a daunting, overwhelming, prospect. That’s where we come in. We have to be ready for those 12 young people. And the 12 who are diagnosed tomorrow. And the 12 every day after that. That is what drives these Ambitions.”

‘Bigger Impact, Brighter Futures – Our Ambitions 2023-2025’ coverDriving impact

At the event, Hannah Woods, Senior Research Consultant at Trust Impact, presented on our impact journey and launched the new live impact dashboard. This visualisation of feedback from young people is updated in real-time as they answer questions about their wellbeing before, immediately after, and three months after their sailing or outdoor adventure.

Amongst the guests were Kate Collins and Rachel Kirby-Rider, CEOs of Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives vs Cancer, respectively, who formed a three-way partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in 2021, and Letesia Gibson and Lea Guzzo from New Ways, who are helping us to build the belonging and inclusivity to make us feel open to more young people.

Click here to download ‘Bigger Impact, Brighter Futures – Our Ambitions 2023-2025’

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