11 February 2022

Celebrating a year of partnership

It's been exactly a year (11 February) since we announced our exciting new three-way partnership with Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives vs Cancer (formerly CLIC Sargent). Trust CEO, Frank Fletcher, reflects on year one and looks ahead at what's next.

Today (22 February 2022) is exactly one year since our three-way partnership with Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives Vs Cancer went ‘official’, and what a year it's been. You read that announcement here - Trust forms new partnership with CLIC Sargent and Teenage Cancer Trust

It was amazing listening to, what I think was, one of the best-ever episodes of our Sound Waves podcast recently, hearing Laura from Young Lives vs Cancer in Northern Ireland and Julie from Teenage Cancer Trust at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, talking about how they encourage young people to come sailing for the first time, and the difference they see afterwards.

This is exactly what the three-way partnership is about and if you’ve not listened to that podcast yet, I really recommend you give it half-an-hour of your time - The Trust, Young Lives vs Cancer, Teenage Cancer Trust - the power of partnership.

Graphic detailing the four aims of the three way partnership

So, what’s happened since last January?

In many ways, on the surface at least, little has changed. We’ve always had great workin relationships with both charities, and as we got #BackOnBoard in 2021, the value of those existing relationships came to the fore as we welcomed many young people for a Taste of the Trust via our partnership network. But in other ways, everything is different.

In the background, we’ve been involved in regular meetings and formalising processes to make sure everyone on the frontline receives the same information, messages and signposting to direct young people to the most appropriate services for them at the right time, in our case coming sailing for the first time.

Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinator, Nicola, with young person, Lisa on a Largs Taste of the Trust day in 2021

This past year has also been about building relationships across the three charities, especially between senior management, service lead and communications teams.

This is so everyone knows and, most importantly, understands how the pieces of the partnership jigsaw fit, and how we can best work together to have the impact we all want for young people.

The recognition that, together, we have a powerful shared purpose and focus, and we all need ‘to put the cause before the brand’ is one of the biggest positives to emerge so far.

This led to young people and colleagues from the three charities working together for the first time on a joint funding project last summer, while the CEOs presented at major Civil Society and TYAC charity sector events in 2021. The partnership has been well-received as a positive, brave step across the charity sector.

What’s next?

To show the benefits of the partnership over time, one of our next tasks is to look at how we measure impact. For the Trust, that includes finding a way to record and track young people who come to the Trust via Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives vs Cancer, whether directly through frontline staff or other channels, such as social media.

We will also work to consolidate and strengthen our relationships with the frontline Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives vs Cancer teams in hospitals, with the partnership helping those staff and young people better understand how coming sailing with the Trust can help young people start to believe in a brighter future living through and beyond cancer.

It’s a slow burner, but investing time, effort, energy, and resource into the partnership is crucial to achieving our 2020-22 Ambitions to Shout Louder and Reach More young people.

When we announced the partnership 12 months ago, I said this could be a game-changer for the Trust, and everything that’s happened since has reinforced that view. If we can keep taking the same steps forwards in the background, more young people will have the chance to benefit. That’s all that matters.