Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


“The best thing about Shine? Knowing you’re not the only young person with cancer” (Nicola, 32)

Shine Cancer Support is the only organisation in the UK focused on supporting adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have experienced a cancer diagnosis. We provide peer support, tailored information and expert advice to the 30,000 adults aged 25 to 49 who are diagnosed with cancer every year. Young adults with cancer face many difficult challenges, including:

• Poor mental health: Rates of major depression are significantly higher in younger adults than their older counterparts (Walker et al, 2014) and a 2012 national survey by Shine found that most people are not offered psychological support.
• Social isolation: 50% of respondents in Shine’s survey felt that others had avoided them since their diagnosis, and 84% had lost a sense of security in their future.
• Financial insecurity: Careers are negatively affected by a cancer diagnosis. More than 50% of Shine’s respondents stated that they were unable to work in the same way as they had done before their diagnosis. The Work Foundation (2013) found that people diagnosed with cancer have a 37% higher risk of unemployment than average.

Since 2008, Shine has worked to fill this gap with innovative activities that fit the lifestyles of younger adults. We run 12 in-person support groups (Shine Networks), and a growing online community. Our 2016 impact survey found that 88% of people who attend a Shine Network event feel more hopeful, while 79% are more confident and 71% are less depressed.

This year, we’ve run 84 Shine Network events attended by 500 people, but there is an urgent need for us to do more. In 2018, we want to improve support for young adults by educating health professionals about their needs while raising awareness among young adults of our services. With £10,000 in Aviva funding, we’ll do this by running a series of workshops, one for healthcare professionals, and another for young adults with cancer.

Our workshops will ensure that clinicians and support workers have an improved understanding of the needs of young adults with cancer and the ways they can be supported. In 2016/17 we ran three workshops at major hospitals and 95% of participants rated them “fantastic”. We would like to run 10 more workshops in 2018 in regions where Shine has a presence or into which we are expanding (e.g. Cardiff, Swansea, West Midlands, Hampshire, Kent, Dorset and Manchester).

At the same time, we will run 10 workshops for young adults with cancer to make sure that they don’t miss out on our services. Where we have Shine Networks, these workshops will help us reach new beneficiaries. In new areas, these workshops will kick-start Networks by putting us in touch young adults who would otherwise be without any support.

These workshops will support 100+ young adults, helping them to take control of their mental and physical wellbeing, and supporting them to meet others with similar experiences. The workshops will also build much needed awareness among 200+ healthcare professionals.

Our approach will support the long-term sustainability of Shine’s work by ensuring that there is excellent awareness of our Networks, and that are they stronger and able to support more people. We know that healthcare professionals educate their colleagues about Shine after our workshops and that they will reach out to newly diagnosed young adults, as well as their partners and family members. Using social media, we will also share information with those who are unable to attend.

This project is supported by Shine’s three staff and 20+ volunteer Network leaders. A £10,000 grant would cover all costs of design and delivery of these workshops, including: venue hire (£2,500), refreshments (£2,500), travel bursaries for those who are on benefits (£500), promotion (£500), and staff time to design and manage the events (£4,200).

Project Video

Shine Cancer Support

Moment of Pride

Shine is a one of a kind charity, offering support and information to a group of young adults who are, sadly, often forgotten in the cancer support world. I’m proud to be involved with an organisation that is both patient-led and has made such a difference to so many young adults with cancer.

Location: United Kingdom