Meet the staff - Youth Support Coordinators

Our Youth Support Coordinators provide individually tailored support. They focus on young people as individuals rather than defining them as cancer patients. They supervise and coordinate activities on and off the ward and encourage patients to socialise and remain active as young people.

Cat Carroll

Cat is our Youth Support Coordinator working with young people between 13 and 18 on our Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Cat started out as an NNEB Nursery Nurse, and then qualified as and HPS Hospital Play Specialist, gaining experience by working in various hospital settings. She later went on to get a degree in Youth and Community studies. Cat’s role on the unit is to provide every young person who is diagnosed with cancer the opportunity to get involved in activities, workshops and projects in and outside of the hospital environment and also to give them support and encouragement during their treatment. In addition, Cat organises social evenings so that young people can meet other people their own age who have had cancer as well share information and experiences, and support one another.

June Vevers (HPS)

June has worked at University College Hospital London for six years, previously on the haemotology ward and then on the merged haemo/oncology ward.

She has learnt a great deal from working with the young people and the different types of cancers that they have.

Part of her role is to prepare the teenagers and young people for difficult and painful procedures and also to provide distractions from these procedures and their treatment.

June also works to give patients their own tool box of coping skills, to gain mastery and independence throughout their treatment.

June is never ceased to be amazed just how strong the young people she works with are during their diagnosis and treatments. She has learnt so much from them which has enabled June to develop her own role within the unit.

Lorraine Wright (MA Youth and Community Studies, BSc Psychology and Legal Studies)

Lorraine has previous experience of working with young people in a variety of environments including Youth Offending, Student Ambassadorship, Counselling and Mentoring and has worked on the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at The Christie Hospital for the past eight years as the Play and Activity Co-ordinator, then the Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Co-ordinator.

Lorraine has developed a comprehensive support programme and services for young people on the unit. This includes social and service user groups, a peer inclusive support programme and ward based activity for young people being treated for cancer.

Lorraine has also been an integral part of developing support services for extended family members and carers. This includes sibling days, family support groups and bereavement groups.

She has developed a national Support/Youth Support Co-ordinators Forum and is the Social Lead for the Teenage Cancer Trust ‘Find Your Sense of Tumour’ conference.

Lorraine oversees the multi-disciplinary support service and therefore supervises external staff including music therapists, residential artists, complementary therapists, volunteers and students.

Nathan Norris

Nathan has been based at the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield since May 2008. He also works at the Children’s Hospital with patients aged 13 to 16 and at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital with leukaemia patients aged 16 to 25. Previously he was a lead behavioural support worker working with teenagers with learning disabilities and autism for two years.

Nathan’s work involves organising activities which provide enjoyment while patients are receiving treatment at hospital and to encourage social interaction such as trips to the cinema, bowling, jewellery making, street magic, art therapy workshops and pizza nights.

Along with organising group activities he also spends time with patients on their own catching up, playing board games or simply providing some company. Nathan says what he has learnt most from the role is that each patient handles their treatment in a completely different way. Respecting this is very important along with making sure patients always have opportunities to talk if they need to or access the activities that are put on, if they want to.

His passion is to see teenagers and young adults supported in whatever way they need and given the chance to have some fun and enjoy themselves whatever they are going through.

John Carroll

John has a background of many years in social services, mainly with people with physical and learning disabilities, often in day care settings. Much of this work involved organising activities within day centres and within local leisure, educational and work environments. The work was varied and interesting involving anything from getting together a summer programme of outings and trips to helping to promote a rock band set up by people with disabilities in one of the day centres.

John is currently working to provide activities to young people on the various wards in the hospital and setting up a range of trips and events within the Marsden’s catchment area, as well building up relationships with local colleagues and youth services in preparation for the much needed Teenage Cancer Trust Unit, which is due to be completed in 2011.

If you have any interesting ideas for activities or if you are a young person who needs some help with getting involved in leisure, educational or employment activities, John would like to hear from you.

Carrie Pointer (BA hons Playwork)

Carrie has been in post at St James’s since October 2009. She works on the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit (Ward 94) which is for young people aged 18-24.

Carrie’s role is to provide patients with age-appropriate activities and therapeutic support, often tailored to an individual’s established interests. Carrie’s work also involves organising events that will encourage peer and social relationships, such as group workshops/activities. Carrie is currently developing a ward newsletter which is put together by the young people on the ward, using articles and features written by themselves.

Carrie is currently working towards setting up some social activities away from the ward which will accommodate outpatients as well as young people currently out of treatment. It is important to maintain a social network for young people who can support each other.

Carrie previously worked as a Psychological Assistant in the Prison Service, where her main role was working closely with offenders to encourage changes in their behaviour and thinking patterns, with the aim of reducing re-offending. Previous to this, Carrie has 2 years of experience working in Behavioural Support roles for young people with Autism, as well as young people with Emotional, Behavioural and Social difficulties.

Carrie enjoys travelling and has spent periods working and living in Ghana, West Africa teaching basic education. She has always enjoyed working with young people and feels fortunate to be working with such fantastic young people at St James’s.

Sarah Turley

Sarah’s background is in Counselling and Youth work, formerly working with Adults and Children in the mental health service (both NHS and in the Voluntary sector) and also with young people in Wolverhampton Youth Services. In these roles Sarah would facilitate both group work and one to one counselling or youth work sessions to encourage exploration and provide support/education for young people, staff and peers around all issues from abuse, loss, education/employment, relationships, addictions, youth offending, mental health and other health needs.

Part of Sarah’s work was focused on providing a sexual health and contraceptive service to young people, providing advice, education and testing for pregnancy, Chlamydia screening, the C-Card Scheme (condom distribution and education) and discussion around healthy relationships, self esteem and sexual health concerns. This interest has led Sarah to starting to set up a similar service for the young people who access our service here in Birmingham.

Sarah’s role on the Young Persons Unit also includes delivering and developing therapeutic support, activities and informal education for young adults, both on and off site, focusing on the importance of peer support and youth led work. As part of this work Sarah and her team have identified a large proportion of young people who are not in education, training or employment, which has led them to gain funding for a Specialist Teacher for the Young Person’s Unit. The role of Youth Support Coordinator also includes providing support and links to other in house services such as complimentary therapy, guitar tuition and signposting for patients and their friends/family to other agencies and professionals in and outside of the hospital.

Currently in development are Siblings Support groups, bereavement work (e.g a memorial day) and the establishment of a group who will form a steering group for the Teenage and Young Adult service, as well as increased training and support for students, volunteers, staff and wider hospital services.

Robert Sefton

Rob is the Youth Support Co-ordinator working for our Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, with young people aged 13-19.

Rob began his youth work career at Weston Spirit. Throughout his time there, Rob learnt the value of youth work and what it can achieve. He also worked and lived on placement in Malawi, Africa for 3 months during this period. Rob then worked with Liverpool Youth Service and built up to leading projects and teams within the organisation.

Rob specialised in working with young people who had become isolated from mainstream education, assisting them in building confidence and social awareness to get them back in to school, and providing accreditations and work experience along the way.

Within this role he specialised in working with young people on a one-to-one basis as well as designing programmes for groups. One of the main roles he had was to design a citizenship project exploring political education, equality, local issues and world affairs, empowering them to understand what was happening at a really difficult time for young people in general. He also led a music project and its staff within a centre which not only brought young people together from all over the city to enjoy and learn music, but also taught them skills such as recording bands with industry standard recording equipment.

Within Alder Hey’s Teenage Unit, Rob has set the foundations for a Youth Forum, with plans to feed in to a Youth Parliament. Noticing the huge amount of arts activities in the hospital he has also signed some artistic young people up to the Arts Award qualification, which he will assess and moderate while linking in with various organisations who deliver arts activities in the region. Being a qualified graphic designer, Rob can help with some aspects of this too and expects this project to run all year round with young people who wish to take part. As well as these focused projects Rob also provides weekly film and takeaway nights as well as importantly building and sustaining positive relationships with the young people and families. He has only been in post since September 2011 and is really excited about developing the service even further.

Cara Smith

Cara is our Youth Support Coordinator working in Newcastle at the RVI with teenagers between 13 and 19.

Cara has a degree in English Language from the University of Glasgow, and after travelling the world each summer and visiting and teaching in schools in Australia and Kenya she completed a PGCE and taught in the North East for 4 years. Cara started working for Teenage Cancer Trust in September 2010, since then she has organised regular social activities including board games nights, DVD and pizza evenings, cinema and theatre trips, Alton Towers,shopping trips to Edinburgh, DJ and steel pan workshops. As well as involving young people in activities on the ward such as balloon modelling, ceramic painting, model making, cooking, playing pool, amongst others.

She is working with some of the previous patients todevelop the service, including information given to the teenagers to welcome them to the ward, contraception information, service user questionnaire, as well as an activity and exercise group named ‘Exciteen’ to help combat fatigue and encourage physical activity both on and off the ward.

Cara absolutely loves her job, particularly the time she spends meeting and working with the young people who come to the unit.

Laura Abbas

Laura has been in post since October 2010 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge working with patients aged 13 to 24. The Teenage and Young Adult Cancer (TYA) service in Cambridge is based at the Oasis Centre on site; a small drop in facility and social zone for patients coming into clinics and waiting between long appointments. Laura’s role is to provide age appropriate activities and support throughout the cancer journey; on an in patient basis on ward C9 Teenage Cancer Trust Unit and an out patient basis. Treatment can be extremely stressful and frightening, with a lot of time away from school, friends and familiar surroundings. Laura focuses on the individual needs of young people by helping them to prepare for medical procedures, youth led support, educational support, organising activities; including art and animation workshops, filming and media projects with local youth organisations, linking in with the local college to provide taster courses on the unit, breakfast club, and simply being a young person’s advocate or listening ear. Off the hospital site Laura also organises residentials, theme park trips, bowling and meals out, go-karting and family days.

Laura comes from a Health and Social Care background and has volunteered with both the Addenbrooke’s TYA service and Teenage Cancer Trust for 4 years prior to permanently joining the team. Laura has a specific interest in chemotherapy related fatigue and is part of the Addenbrooke’s research team pilot study looking at interventions for tackling this huge issue for young people. The peer user and support group formed by the Youth Support Co-ordinator service has been, and will be pivotal in this research; empowering young people to have a say in their care. Over the years the group has been instrumental in the design of the new unit and other projects including a survivorship programme aided by the NCSI Children and Young People Work Stream and fatigue management and exercise research.

Vicky Britton

Vicky joined the team in May 2012 as the Youth Support Co-ordinator for the South West, working with 15 to 25 year olds, and she is based at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

Vicky will be working closely with the regional teams to address geographical challenges, so that all young people can access youth support. She is the facilitator for the Realshare social networking site for teenage and young adult cancer patients in the South West, and uses this online platform to support young people throughout the region.

Vicky aims to provides support that is tailored to the needs and interests of each young person, and has been working with patients and the clinical teams to develop individualised ‘activity boxes’ for young people coming onto the wards for long stays, as well as providing a range of resources for all young people visiting the hospital. Vicky is keen to provide opportunities for peer support and is developing a programme of activities and events so that young people can socialise with others who have had cancer and share information and experiences.

Before joining the team, Vicky worked with young people in a variety of settings including local authority Youth Offending Team and Youth Services, and a number of voluntary projects.

Vicky enjoys travel and keeping active, and she is currently training for a Great Wall of China trekking challenge. She is very excited to have joined the team and looks forward to the development of a TCT Unit in Bristol. In the meantime Vicky is studying for a postgraduate qualification in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth, and she is committed to developing Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care in the South West.

Annika Davidson(HPS)

Annika joined UCLH in 2004 as an HPS and 2005 as a Senior Activity Coordinator on the new TCT unit. She previously worked for over 10 years as a Play Specialist at two general hospitals in the UK

Since joining UCLH in 2004 she has completed two modules of Working with Adolescents at South Bank University. She also holds OCN (Open College Network) Counseling Skills 1-4.

In May 2012 Annika joined the TYA services at UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre. Her role there is to mirror the equivalent role of the in-patient unit, supporting young people aged 13-24 attending the TYA unit.

Annika provides activities for the young people and also works therapeutically preparing patients for painful and difficult procedures. The aim is to provide choice, control and coping skills to enable patients to gain mastery and independence. Annika is also part of a project with the psychology team called –“Just Bead It”. This enables young patients to look at their lives, their strengths and abilities by the use of beads to tell their story. It is a way for the young person think of who they are outside of hospital.

Annika facilitates patient/parent groups on the in-patient ward with other members of the team. And also co-facilitates the Family Support Network group which is held every 6-8 weeks and a Bereavement group.

Annika is currently working on involving Macmillan volunteers for various workshop activities for the TYA “Hub”. A Computer animation workshop and a CV writing workshop are coming soon.

Sian Caulton

Sian started out in youth work straight from graduating from a Social Sciences degree. She has worked with young people in a variety of settings including some teaching in Thailand. Most of her career has been working as a young person's sexual health advisor. In this role she delivered sexual health workshops in schools/colleges/ youth clubs as well as providing the C-Card (condom card) scheme, pregnancy testing and Chlamydia screening and one to one support around a whole range of sexual health issues. Sian is hoping to use her sexual health experience to develop the service that teenagers and young adults receive.

Sian started in post in December 2012 and is looking forward to getting to know the young people in Leicester and finding out what they’d like to see happening both on and off the unit. She plans to provide day to day activities such as board games, baking, movie & pizza days/nights, jewellery making and other craft activities. She is also planning to restart the breakfast club for patients and their families and have some pampering days on the ward. Sian is really excited about helping teenagers and young adults with cancer in Leicester get the most out of the new unit and out of our service. She’ll be doing regular evening youth groups outside of the hospital and hopefully some fab trips too. The activities and support Sian provides will very much be guided by young people and she will be providing both one to one and group, age appropriate activities and support.

Jayne Pattinson(BSc Psychology)

Jayne is based at the Teenage Cancer Trust Teenage and Young Adult Unit (TYA) at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre on the Wirral and also works at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Liverpool on the haematology ward. She supports 16-25 year olds across Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.

Before joining the Teenage and Young Adult Team at Clatterbridge, Jayne supported young people with Social, Emotional and Behavioural difficulties for 3 years and offered one-to-one support for young adults with autistic spectrum disorders and anxiety after completing a Psychology degree at The University of Liverpool. She also supported young people within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) to enable them to access an education and social and emotional support throughout any assessments.

As the Youth Support Co-ordinator at Clatterbridge, Jayne provides individually tailored support for young people who are receiving treatment for cancer to provide encouragement, emotional support and opportunities to meet others in a similar situation through activities held on and off the ward. Activities have ranged from baking, art and craft sessions, games competitions, The Body shop pampering afternoons and a weekly breakfast club for young people and their friends and family.

Additionally, Jayne co-facilitates a monthly Peer Support Group outside of the hospital environment for young people to socialise with others, gain support from those who understand and most importantly to have some fun! Trips have included meals out, bowling, Halloween Scarewood Forest, chocolate workshops and the Christmas Panto. Jayne also facilitates the North Wales Peer Support Group which enables young adults to meet every other month in a different town to ensure young people are able to access valuable peer support.

Jayne thoroughly enjoys her role and the time she spends with young people and looks forward to developing the service further to provide the best possible care for young adults.

Lisa Eaglesham

Lisa started in post at The Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow in July 2013. Her role involves working with 16-25 year olds. She has worked with young people in a variety of settings for nearly 10 years. She started out working as a drama facilitator/youth worker for groups of young people of varying ages. Lisa has qualifications in both Drama and Social Sciences. Most recently she has undertaken a Post Graduate Diploma in Person Centred Counselling and is continuing to work towards full BACP accreditation. She believes that the diploma in counselling will aid her in her role of youth support co-ordinator. Lisa loves working with young people. Her experience also includes working within the social care sector in youth homelessness, being a helpline advisor for children and young people on sexual health and relationships and touring issue based plays around schools. She is currently working towards setting up a recreational programme that will benefit both the young people that are currently inpatients and outpatients. The recreational programme will include a fortnightly lunch time buffet, arts and crafts sessions, adhoc games, one to one and group support, external workshop facilitators visiting the unit and events/outings. The most important thing that Lisa values is creating positive relationships with young people in a safe and relaxed environment. Lastly, if you are a young person that has any feedback/suggestions, Lisa would very much value your opinion.

Ronan Kelly

Rónán is our Youth Support Coordinator at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Yorkhill children's hospital working with young people aged 13-18 years of age. He has been in the post since October 2013.

Rónán has gained a great deal of volunteering experience with charities such as Children in Hospital Ireland and Barretstown Gang Camp. As well as his volunteering experience, Rónán has worked as a full time staff member at Barretstown as an Activity Leader. Barretstown is a residential camp which caters for children and young people with cancer through an activity based programme with a focus on therapeutic recreation. Rónán ran activities such as high ropes, fishing, archery and team building exercises and also helped in the planning of evening programme, teen chill out and special days. He has also volunteered as a youth worker with a Glasgow based youth club.

Rónán 's role is to build relationships and to support young people in the unit through activities and workshops and help promote social interaction. Rónán is delighted to join the Teenage Cancer Trust team and hopes to bring energy and enthusiasm to the role.

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