Youth Advisory Group
Young people with cancer are at the heart of Teenage Cancer Trust. Their voices and experiences inform all our key decisions.
We launched our first ever Youth Advisory Group in 2018 so that we could learn from the expertise and experience of young people diagnosed with cancer aged 13-24, to help make sure we’re giving them the best support we can.
The work of this first group was carried on by the second cohort from 2020- 2022 who played a key part in helping the charity to adapt and develop its work at a time when new ways of working were required.
The third Youth Advisory Group are currently in place, with young people volunteering from across the UK. The next round of recruitment is expected to take place in 2024 in line with each group being in place for 2 years.
What is the Youth Advisory Group?
The group is made up of approximately 30 young people who have been affected by cancer and have had direct experience of our services. They all joined because they wanted to make a difference for young people like themselves.
We listen to what they have to say and look to involve them in every big decision we make. It is vital to listen, learn and be advised by experts who know what it is like to be a young person dealing with a diagnosis of cancer. They don’t just tell us what they think – they directly shape the support we provide to young people.
These young people are involved in critical activities, such as helping recruit members of our Senior Leadership Team, creating our strategy and shaping our policy work. And that’s on top of things like helping us engage with more young people, develop peer support projects and helping to make our services even better across the UK.
The Youth Advisory Group has allowed me to gain confidence with speaking to new people and making connections I never would have had the opportunity to have.
Membership of Youth Advisory Group also provides opportunities for developing new skills and confidence as part of a supportive group of young people who can use their similarities and different experiences to advise the charity and ensure that we are being as inclusive as possible.
In addition, being part of the Youth Advisory Group means young people get to develop their teamwork, communication and creative skills by coming up with ideas, giving feedback and working alongside different people from Teenage Cancer Trust including our Chief Executive, Senior Leadership Team and colleagues from across the charity.
Who can be a Youth Advisory Group member?
Youth Advisory Group members need to meet the following criteria:
- Have been aged between 13-24 at the time of diagnosis
- Have finished active treatment
- Have received support from Teenage Cancer Trust and be less than two years ‘Post Treatment’
The role lasts for two years and involves at least three meet-ups per year. These are a mixture of online meetings (such as on Zoom or Microsoft Teams), and meetings, held in person in various locations across the UK where possible. Some meetings are held over the weekend and last for two days in order to make the most of the group’s time together.
Travel, overnight accommodation and other relevant expenses are all covered.
In between meetings, members are also asked to give their ideas and feedback online via email and/or Zoom.
A Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Engagement and Participation Manager manages the Youth Advisory Group and they are the day-to-day contact, but the group also has opportunity to work with members of the wider Teenage Cancer Trust team as well.
What will the Youth Advisory Group be doing in 2023 and 2024?
We can’t predict exactly what tasks, topics and opportunities the group will have during their time together, but previous projects have included:
- Presenting at our Find Your Sense of Tumour events as well as shaping the programme
- Involvement in Teenage Cancer Trust’s strategy
- Development work on Teenage Cancer Trust’s core values: DETERMINED, UNITED, SPIRITED, KIND
- Producing a poster for the Global AYA (Adolescent and Young Adults) Cancer Congress
- Involvement in recruitment of senior staff at Teenage Cancer Trust
- Short term project work in small groups with external partners
- Involvement in our Safeguarding Review
- Presentations at our Staff Days
- Feeding into our Annual Report
- Presentation and feedback to our Board of Trustees
- Being a supportive member of a motivated and inclusive group who achieve great things
Some information which may provide some further background
We carried out some research about the learning which the charity and individual Youth Advisory Group members had experienced. This was presented as an Academic poster to health professionals at the 2021 Global Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Congress.