Today, Dame Ellen MacArthur announced today at the London Boat Show, a very special project that will see 100 young people in recovery from cancer taking part in an extraordinary challenge - sailing around Britain in a national relay, celebrating achievement and realising potential.
Round Britain 2017 is being run by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a national charity which takes young people aged between eight and 24 from across the UK on sailing and other water-based adventures to help them rebuild their confidence after cancer treatment.
In order to help more young people in recovery from cancer in the long term, the voyage aims to increase national awareness by visiting towns and cities around the UK during the four-month endeavour. Building new skills and forging long-lasting friendships, her crew will also visit cancer treatment centres meeting people still in recovery and discussing possibilities after treatment.
Dame Ellen MacArthur said: "Round Britain is about a lot more than sailing - it is about rebuilding the confidence, self-belief and independence of those involved - bringing back in to focus positive options which have been unimaginable during treatment".
"The Trust aims to rebuild young people's confidence through positive, shared experiences. This challenge will allow us to extend awareness across the country, encouraging every local community along the way to get involved and make a real difference. Everyone can become part of this story by welcoming the crew when they visit your home port. These local welcomes, wherever you are in the UK, will be a huge part of this experience. We would love everyone to be part of the adventure and get involved. To ensure we can reach more young people who need support in the future, please share our story on social media."
Ann, a young person who has sailed with the Trust over several years, said: "It was so easy to talk to the other young people. We were a close-knit team who spent a lot of time together and I could really open up. I knew they understood what I was saying without me having to explain it. The friendships are different to my other friendships; more intimate because we all have this thing in common only we know. My teachers saw the change in me. I was more easy going, I joined more clubs and was getting other people to join in too. I stopped being the kid in the corner."
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust's work plays an extremely important part in the long-term recovery of young people: Research shows that 90% of young people in recovery from cancer feel isolated and over 60% are worried about the impact on their education or future employment. By providing the opportunity to participate in a team activity alongside peers with similar experiences the Trust can really help individuals improve their ability to plan a future by developing new skills and forging long-lasting friendships. This project will allow the crew to visit cancer treatment centres across the UK to meet those still undergoing treatment to discuss the future and how they can get involved with the Trust.
From May to September the voyage will visit over 60 towns and ports where the crew, many sailing in their local area, will take part in events and activities, catch up with others who have been supported by the Trust over the past 14 years and visit friends and supporters throughout the UK. At every stage during Round Britain 2017 the Trust will be inviting local communities to be a part of the adventure.
To find out more about Round Britain 2017, view some of the ports the crew will be visiting and follow the young people's journey, click here
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust have proudly been handed ownership of their highly anticipated new yacht, which will enable them to better support young people from the North of England and Scotland particularly those with mobility issues resulting from their cancer treatment.
Dame Ellen MacArthur, who founded the Trust with the aim of rebuilding young people's confidence in their recovery from cancer, joined Ash Overton of Ancasta, and Head of Charities Clara Govier from People's Postcode Lottery on the boat at the 2016 Southampton Boat Show to receive the keys.
The purchase was made possible after the Trust received an additional £200,000 at the People's Postcode Lottery Charity Gala from players of People's Postcode Lottery to invest into a yacht to improve the experience of young people at their newest base in Largs, Scotland, which opened in early 2013. With advice and support from Beneteau, Ancasta and Hamble Yacht Services Refit and Repair the boat was carefully selected, purchased and modified to best support the requirements of the Trust's young people.
Ellen expressed the charity's gratitude, "It's been a big day for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, it's a step that wouldn't have been possible without the massive support from players of People's Postcode Lottery, the Ancasta Group, and Beneteau so a huge thank you!" She continued "A magnificent job really has been done".
This is an important purchase for the Trust and the young people it supports, as it will improve the quality of the experience for those with mobility issues. The Trust supports a number of young people who have suffered from brain tumours and sarcomas, treatment of which affects their coordination, balance or may result in an amputation, limiting their ability to move around a boat.
Modifications made by Hamble Yacht Services Refit and Repairs to the boat, such as the fitting of extra handrails and altering the cabin space, will allow young people with these issues to have a better quality experience. The stern of the boat also lowers to pontoon height to enable easier access when the young people are embarking and disembarking from the boat.
Further to this, the yacht will expand the Trust's capacity to be able to offer 'Day Sails' for the families of young people who are too ill to join the four day trips.
Ancasta, the largest yacht brokers in Europe, have supported the Trust from the start of the purchase process enabling them to secure the Beneteau Oceanis 45. Ash Overton of Ancasta commented, "It has been a wonderful project to be involved with, working closely with the Trust to select and modify a yacht perfect for their needs. We can't wait to see it in action".
The yacht will now make its way up to the Largs base where it will join the Trust's operations ready to start the sailing season in spring 2017.
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national organisation set up 13 years ago by internationally renowned yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur that gives young people in recovery from cancer the opportunity to take part in sailing trips to rebuild their confidence. The Trust works with every young person Principal Treatment Centre in the UK and a growing number of Designated Units in the UK. It receives no government funding and relies entirely on voluntary donations to provide sailing trips free of charge to the young people.
#charity – Dame Ellen MacArthur met Health Minister, Alex Neil MSP today, to discuss plans for a Scottish hub.
Celebrating its tenth birthday this year, the Cancer Trust is looking to expand its services and make their dream of a Scottish sailing hub a reality, all thanks to the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery. In a meeting with Alex Neil today, Dame Ellen was keen to discuss how important the Trust will be for the Scottish youngsters living with or recovering from cancer or leukaemia.
Dame Ellen said: "Being here in Scotland to discuss plans with Health Minister, Alex Neil, for our Scottish hub is very exciting. We have already worked with over 29 Scottish young people so we know that what the Trust does is an integral part of their recovery. Having our services on their doorstep will make such a difference, allowing us to reach even more young people across the country.
"We've already seen what an impact our work on the Isle of Wight has had, so we know our hub in Largs will be just as life-changing. Yet, none of this would be possible without fundraising and support like that provided by players of People's Postcode Lottery. Without this funding we simply wouldn't have had the means to make our dream a reality and, as you can imagine, we are delighted to get it all started."
The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust has received funding of £40,000 from People's Postcode Trust, a small-grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People's Postcode Lottery. The funding will allow the charity to charter sailing boats from Largs on the West Coast of Scotland. Giving young cancer sufferers the chance to build their confidence, have fun and enjoy sailing.
Minister Alex Neil was keen to learn more about the Trust and its work across the country. The Cancer Trust is an integral part of the Scottish community, having already worked with Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent, who provide a lifeline for the young people and encourage many of them to access the experiences provided by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Echoing the support previous Health Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, had shown for the project, Minister Alex Neil said: "I am delighted to learn that the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust will be bringing their dream of a Scottish hub to life this year. It's inspiring to see a charity work hard to make a young person's experience of cancer or leukaemia as positive as possible. Simply being involved with the Cancer Trust gives these youngsters the confidence to be young people again, to be around each other and find the strength to get their lives back on track."
Players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised over £22.6 million to date, £6 million of which has been awarded by People's Postcode Trust to organisations and charities, like the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, that are making a big difference to grass root projects.
NOTES TO EDITOR
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Background to the Trust
Dame Ellen MacArthur launched the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust in 2003 after she spent some time with a similar organisation in France.
We are a nationwide organisation who aims to rebuild confidence in young people who have suffered from Cancer and Leukaemia through sailing. We work with every primary treatment centre in the UK.
Often these children 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. Their siblings can feel isolated in circumstances where the parents naturally centre their attention on their sick child.
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 the children (especially teens) to establish independence and a sense of control over their lives and maintain a sense of personal worth.
The children are initially invited to take part in a four-day sailing trip on Yachts in the Solent, which are run throughout the summer holidays. They are all about having fun; barbeques, rib rides and 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 the children back to take part in other sailing events until they are 18. These events include J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, Cowes Week and a week-long residential week at the Bradwell Outdoors Centre in Essex.
Inviting the youngsters back to take part in other events enables the Trust to establish ongoing relationships with them. Once the young people are over 18 we train those who are interested so they can return as volunteers.
This quote from a mother shortly after one of the first trips we have run sums up the Trust's work: "It has never been the cancer that has worried me but the depression that came with it. She had lost her self confidence and had a very low self esteem, but the Ellen MacArthur Trust has changed all that. From the minute I picked her up she hasn't stopped smiling, she has talked non stop about her trip, she is singing and dancing and walking tall. She was able to have fun and relax for the first time in years. Of all the medicines she had, this one – the trip – was the one that made her better!"
The auction will run from the 7th – 16th January, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. The charity, founded by Ellen in 2003, takes young people aged between 8-24 sailing to help them regain their confidence on their way to recovery from cancer, leukemia and other serious illness.
The exclusive items which incorporate parts of the original sail's of Ellen MacArthur's record breaking Open 60 yacht Kingfisher are only available through the auction. Ellen famously completed the epic 24,000 mile Vendée Globe, a gruelling non-stop, solo round the world race, in 94 days and 4 hours in 2001 onboard Kingfisher, securing her place in the record books as the youngest person to complete the race, at just 24 years old.
A further five jackets and twenty bags will be available for purchase from the beginning of February, with proceeds from the sale of these items continuing to support the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Each jacket and bag is hand made, individually numbered and signed by Dame Ellen MacArthur. Ellen commented, ""The Vendee Globe was a dream for me, and my first circumnavigation of the planet. It's wonderful to think that 10 years on that incredible journey can continue to influence lives, though this time through the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. It costs the Trust £500 to take one young person in recovery from cancer sailing on a four day yacht trip, but the result of that experience for those young people is not only confidence building, but in many cases life changing. We are therefore really excited to be working alongside Quba Sails on this project!"
James Marshall at Quba Sail's explains why they are proud to be supporting the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. "At Quba we specialise in taking old sailcloth and giving it a new lease of life. To be working with Ellen on this project and to be able to help a charity as worthy as the Trust just seemed like a perfect fit for us. We hope we can raise some impressive funds for the Trust through the auction".
The range will be available for viewing on the Quba Sail stand at The Tullett Prebon London Boat Show.
To place your bid, please visit the auction on Ebay. http://tinyurl.com/quba-emct-e-bay-auction