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Inspirational young people aim to improve care of teenagers and young adults with cancer at Derriford Hospital

By 6th March 2015 No Comments

A group of passionate and driven young people from Plymouth are putting together a campaign to ensure teenagers and young adults with cancer receive even better and more focused care, thanks to the support of the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO). The aptly named ‘A Driven Force’ are using their inspiration and creativity to plan an initial fundraising campaign to raise both money and awareness for cancer care for young people in Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital.

The group, with the help of Andy Birkett from Hele’s School, has organised a fun Mufti Day for Friday 6th March, and schools across Plymouth have been invited to take part. Parents, teachers and children can donate £1 towards the good cause. Their money and support will build on the fantastic work of staff at Derriford Hospital who are already doing on behalf of young cancer patients in Plymouth.

‘A Driven Force’ has been busy planning its strategy to amplify the service and support given to these young cancer patients, and the group has already developed its branding and the key messages they want to address. They identified a lack of provision of space, resources and facilities for these young patients to relax, and feel ‘normal’, despite their circumstances. The space should encourage a sense of togetherness and equality.

Andy Birkett, Principal at Hele’s School in Plymouth, is also involved in getting the project off the ground. He says, “This initiative has been developed by a very special group of creative young people. They are selflessly giving their time to work with Derriford staff to develop better facilities for young people who have to spend time getting treatment for illnesses like cancer. Many schools across Plymouth are raising money today [Friday 6th March] because they all know someone in their school with cancer, and they want to make a difference to their lives.”

“At Hele’s School we hold a special memory for Matt Gilbert, whose inspirational poetry and writing encouraged others to believe in themselves, and the power of contributing to life – he’d have been so happy with this project. What is impressive is that the group is working with the facilities team to convert and adapt spaces for young people to enjoy – they are creating, designing, working to strict clinical criteria, and operating as a business – any employer in the city would want to snap these youngsters up – they have the talent to get things done; a driven force indeed, and I’m very proud of them.”

Elinor Eaton, Real Ideas Organisation Project Lead, says, “We’ve been absolutely amazed by the determination and imagination shown by the group so far. Finding innovative ways to support the community is what we’re all about and this new challenge to work alongside both the NHS Trust and these driven young people is a pleasure for RIO. It is a chance to demonstrate the capability of young people when given an opportunity such as this, and also a chance to make a real and lasting difference.”

This event marks the start of a fundraising campaign which will support the group’s endeavours to provide first-class support for these young cancer patients at Derriford Hospital. All donations will go directly towards funding for their project to improve the service for teenage and young adult cancer patients, and ‘A Driven Force’ is consulting with young people, their families, staff and external organisations to find the best solution for users of the service at the hospital.

RIO is supporting these young people to develop their ideas, turning their passion and enthusiasm into a reality. RIO is a successful social enterprise based in the South West but with global impact, which provides positive and lifelong opportunities for young people and communities.

For more information or to get involved in their fundraising campaign and donate some money for their good cause, please email claire.honey@realideas.org or call 08458 621288.

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