25 February 2020

Blog - On the road to reaching more young people with Holly

Throughout the whole of January, our operations teams from Cowes and Largs hit the road to visit every hospital we work with in the UK. That’s 56 hospitals and charity groups from as far north as Aberdeen to Truro in the South West! Everyone who followed #TrustTour on social media during the month will understand how this epic undertaking lays the foundations for more young people accessing Trust support this year. Holly West, Young Person & Hospital Liaison, South, takes us on their journey…

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust recruitment drive for young people What is the aim of the #TrustTour?

In 2020 the aim for our hospital visits was to get as many professionals in the room, so that we can build better connections within our network to help us engage more young people through the voice of our hospital contacts and charity partners.

Believe it or not, our hospital visits planning starts in September! Whilst we don’t meet in person until January, in September I contact all our hospital contacts/charity partners and advise of the following year’s dates and places for young people, so they know how many places they will be recruiting young people for.

Once the trip dates and places are confirmed, we look to put a date in the diary to meet in person. As I am sure you can imagine, trying to plan visits to the following locations would prove to be quite a logistical, brain burner….

Addenbrookes Hospital (Cambridge), UCLH (London), John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford), Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital (Brighton), Queen’s Medical Centre (Nottingham), Royal Leicester Infirmary, Great Ormond Street (London), Guys Hospital London, Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (London), Royal Cornwall Hospital (Truro), Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Southampton General Hospital, Trekstock (London), Royal Surrey Hospital, Royal Marsden Hospital (Sutton), Bristol Children’s Hospital, Noah’s Ark Childrens Hospital…

Woah, I think that was everyone/all locations the South’s team visited this year, and that’s just the South! We are so lucky to work with an enormous range of specialists, who all want to support young people in accessing the benefits the Trust can offer. Social workers, Clinical Nurse Specialists, consultants, Youth Support Co-ordinators, community workers, nurses, charity co-ordinators, late-effects and long-term follow up co-ordinators, play specialists, practitioners, administrators, family support workers, if you’re a professional who works with young people in recovery we will be looking to meet you!

Then, what follows is finding a date that all of our amazing contacts can offer us an hour of their valuable time to meet with us. Date confirmed… it’s time to book the 12 boat/ferry trips, 12 train journeys, six hotel stays, plan eight car journeys and various taxi journeys to take us through January. Lastly, we book onto our multi-storey car-park parking training as the Isle of Wight only has one multi-storey and hospitals seem to have LOTS!

Why is the Trust Tour so important?

Trust Tour road trip

Our hospital contacts and charity partners are the ‘Trust Voice’; they speak to all young people who are experiencing something so completely horrendous – cancer. They are the ones who spend time with young people through diagnosis, during treatment and beyond treatment. They know who Trust support will make a difference to after treatment and, at the right time, they will talk to them about the work of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and how going on a Trust trip could help in their recovery from cancer.

These meetings with our hospital contacts and charity partners are also an opportunity to share any updates for the new season. Most importantly it’s a chance for us as a team to hear feedback, both shared from young people who have experienced our trips and from the hospital contacts recruiting for our trips. This will help us to improve the experience of all young people, from first hearing about trips, right through to stepping aboard the boat!

As the South Young Person and Hospital Liaison I speak with some of our contacts weekly, and sometimes even daily whilst recruiting a young person to come on our trips. We’re also working towards streamlining the recruiting process for all young people to break down as many barriers as possible on a trip.

#TrustTour2020 highlights

A huge shoutout to Big Berta & Big Nige – they were the trusty steeds / suitcases of the South ops team! Whilst we were continuously chasing after them on the underground, the runaways… they did carry a lot of Trust merchandise around the UK for us. This year we gifted our hospital contacts and charity partners an Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust lanyard so they could wear their name tags and spread the Trust magic!

Trust Tour soundtrack

Radio 2, I mean…the two of us from the South team, we’re both nearly 30! But for the days we’re looking for a good old sing along, well Spotify has a cracking ‘Songs to sing in the shower’ playlist that provided us with endless songs we belted out and worked on our in car performances!