Lottery Funding Enables 663 Children to go Sailing

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust set up 14 years ago by yachtswomen Ellen MacArthur is the fortunate recipient of a £500,000 donation from the People’s Postcode Lottery fund.

The lottery donated £93.4 million to charities and good causes in 2017 and the Trust will use their allocation to enable 663 young people to go on Trust trips, allowing them to rediscover a future they may have never imagined possible.

Every day children and young people hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Only after cancer treatment ends, and the doctors and nurses have done their work, can a young person start rebuilding their life. 

Ellen MacArthur set up her Cancer Trust after she was invited to go sailing with a group of children with cancer, organised by French charity A Chacun son Cap. In Ellen’s own words this was the best days sailing she has ever had and she was inspired to set up something similar in the UK. Thus, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust was born.

The Trust takes young people between the ages of 8-24 on sailing trips to help them rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment and re-engage with education, employment and society. We work with every young person Principal Centre and a growing number of Designated Units in the UK.

Often these young people have spent long periods in hospital and can be suffering from low self-esteem and a loss of confidence as well as missing out on large parts of their childhood. Studies into the psychological effects of cancer in children highlight how important positive personal relationships with others are in facilitating coping with cancer. They also state how difficult it is for children (especially teens) to establish independence and a sense of control over their lives and maintain a sense of personal worth.

The young people are initially invited to take part in a four-day sailing trip on yachts in the Solent on the South Coast of England or on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland, which are run throughout the summer holidays. They are all about having fun; barbeques, RIB rides with lots of water fights! This enables the young people to work together as a team and to take part in the duties on board the boats. After the initial trip, the Trust annually invites them back to take part in other sailing events until they are 24. These events include Round the Island Race, a week-long residential week at the Bradwell outdoors Centre in Essex, Outdoor Adventure in Cornwall, Water Park in the Lake District and cruising in the West Coast of Scotland, and the East Coast of England.

Inviting the young people back to take part in other events enables the Trust to establish ongoing relationships with them. Once the young people are over 24 we train those who are interested so they can return as volunteers.

“The Trust is extremely grateful for the generous funding,” said CEO Frank Fletcher. He added, “If you are a player of the Postcode Lottery I want to thank you personally from the bottom of my heart for supporting the Trust and for changing the lives of young people in recovery from Cancer”