Friday 1st July 2016
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Summer 2016
There is ‘Hope Online’ for children and young people living with a family health crisis, as Hilary Causer explains.
Many young people who see a family member diagnosed with cancer don’t receive the all-round support they need to help them through this traumatic time. Now they all have somewhere to turn. Hope Online is a new service launched and operated by Hope Support Services. It is free, accessible and UK-wide, utilising existing, popular social media platforms that young people are already
Hope Support Services is a unique preventative service, available to children and young people over the age of 11. When the focus of attention is on the patient, young family members can find the uncertainty particularly hard to deal with, becoming marginalised, confused and angry. Our support is available right from the moment of diagnosis and for however long we’re needed, whatever the outcome for the patient. When a young person is better able to cope with a family health crisis, it naturally follows that they are more able to engage within their family, school, community and society at large.
In the words of one person: ‘Sometimes, knowing that other people feel the way I do and are going through similar things, makes me calmer’.
Born from the desire to extend our reach and with three years of funding from BBC Children in Need, our aim is to reach more than 500 young people by June 2018.
Our online services
We offer two distinct services online. Our ‘Suzie Hope’ service provides confidential one-to-one support with trained and experienced professionals. It offers young people a place where they can share their worries and hopes, feel supported in understanding their feelings, and develop helpful strategies for managing life’s challenges.
Secondly, ‘We Are Hope’, a facilitated peer community, provides a private space in which young people can connect, chat and share with each other. Providing information sharing, signposting and light-hearted fun, the group is facilitated and moderated by our Online Support Facilitators.
One of our young people, Jo, says: ‘Talking to Suzie Hope is completely confidential, and using We Are Hope makes you realise that even if you feel shut off with your own problems, there are others going through the same experience as you and finding it just as hard – you’re not alone in what you’re going through. It really makes a difference.’
Refer to us
We welcome self-referrals from young people and referrals from professionals and family members. For more information about services and referral routes visit our website or phone our team on 01989 566 317.
Macmillan and Hope
Macmillan supports Hope by investing £200,000 to fund two Macmillan youth development workers for three years. They help to extend the work of Hope Support Services, which is based in Ross-on-Wye. Its off-line services provide vital all-round support to young people and their families living in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire who have been affected by a life-threatening illness. This includes providing workshops on cooking, financial affairs and other household duties for children and young adults who have taken on these tasks because of a family member’s illness. Macmillan has also donated an extra £4,745 in grants to support the work of the service.
The Hope Online services can be accessed here.
Email Hilary Causer, Online Support Facilitator, Hope Support Services.