Teens Unite is a small charity, based in Hertfordshire, supporting young people, who are fighting cancer to live their best life, while others search for a cure.
Teens Unite’s beneficiaries are aged 13-24 but the support that they offer to each other crosses the boundaries of age, it crosses the boundaries of gender, ethnicity, religion, social class and education. The strength of this very special community lies in the thing that unites them, their common experience – facing a life-threatening illness in their teenage and young adult years.
The charity’s Positive Steps Programme, helps young people progress, learn new skills and benefit from the support of others who know what it is like to face cancer in your teenage and young adult years. The activities are designed to address the long-term effects of cancer which impact confidence, self-esteem, and motivation as well as the anxiety, depression, and loneliness that so often last well beyond active treatment and into remission.
The online sessions have benefited me hugely with both my anxiety and confidence. And since I’m mostly shielding due to COVID-19, the digital activities have given me something to focus on and stopped me feeling secluded from the outside world. As I’ve not had much contact during the whole pandemic, they’ve helped me to stay connected and still have fun despite being indoors. There’s always time to talk at the end of the activity and I enjoy speaking with my friends and getting to know each other a bit more.Kerry, Teens Unite Beneficiary
A donation from ICAP Charity Day in 2019 was to enable the charity to create 270 opportunities, over three years, for young people to participate in 9 workshops. The workshops have specific objectives and desired outcomes which enable the young people to:
• Set realistic goals
• Increase motivation
• Learn essential skills such as creative problem solving; communication skills; teamwork, time management; conflict resolution
• Test their physical and mental strength
• Build relationships, encourage teamwork
• Rebuild confidence and plan for their next steps
The Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020/21 meant that Teen Unite had to rethink their beneficiary service delivery.
Teens Unite were determined to not let the pandemic stop the positive and powerful opportunities that their activities bring to beneficiaries. Within days of the first UK Lockdown restrictions being announced, their programme of events transitioned to online delivery. The programme, with the same set of objectives and desired outcomes, now delivers sessions teaching new and life affirming skills, relaxation and yoga techniques, quizzes and bingo and general opportunities for these young people to connect with others, digitally, and on average four times each week.
Since the start of the lockdown in March 2020, supported by funding received from ICAP Charity Day 2019, more than 1,020 young people have taken part in one of the almost 200 online activities the charity has hosted.
After each digital session, the young people are sent a survey to help assess delivery against objectives. 100% of the beneficiaries felt more connected as a result of the sessions and felt part of a community that genuinely understands them. 92% felt that they have learned something new or achieved something, 97% felt that their confidence had increased.
Kerrie, who was diagnosed five years ago with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, joined Teens Unite during the lockdown for their digital sessions,
As Kerrie lives in Suffolk and suffers with her mobility due to the complications of treatment, it is unlikely that she would have been able to join the charity’s pre Covid-19 face-to-face sessions, but the digital deliveries have ensured that she is part of this incredible community.