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Our Peer Facilitator Zoe Blogs about her experience working with our Youth Engagement Group

Zoe, one of our Peer Facilitators has shared a blog for the Rank Foundation about her work placement with Cancer Fund for Children.

The Rank Foundation is a philanthropic organisation whose aim is to improve the lives of people and their communities, across the UK. They do this by encouraging and developing leadership and promoting enterprise and innovation. The Rank Foundation fund both our Peer facilitators, Zoe and Conor’s roles through the ‘Start Here Programme’.

Read about Zoe’s experience over the last 18 months, why she chose to get involved, what it has been like working with our Youth Engagement Group and what her next steps are.

Hi, I’m Zoe, a 21-year-old from Northern Ireland who loves anything pink! When I was 15, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and after two surgeries in London and 10 weeks of proton beam therapy in America I can thankfully say everything remains stable! When I was diagnosed, I was introduced to an amazing charity called Cancer Fund for Children who helped provide therapeutic support to both my family and I at a much needed time.

Four years on, I seen a post from the charity saying they were looking to employ two young people aged 18-24 who they had supported to join their team as Peer Facilitators in a one year part-time contract, which would be funded through the Start Here programme. I decided to apply as I wanted to give back to the charity for all they had done for my family and I, whilst also wanting to help support other young people who are going through a similarly tough experience in which I had been through.

I was absolutely delighted when I received the phone call to say I had been offered the position, and couldn’t wait to get straight to work! I work with a selected group of young people called ‘The Youth Engagement Group’ (a bit like a school council) who come together to have their voices heard, help make decisions, and raise awareness and create change on issues relating to the impact of cancer on children and young people. I do this through arranging group days or residentials for the young people to get together to discuss their thoughts and ideas, and then with my team we try to help make these ideas or changes happen within the charity.

Through the Start Here programme I have attended different Action Learning days and residentials, which has allowed me to meet other people within the charity sectors, allowing us to share our knowledge and experiences with each other to help us overcome any difficulties we have faced within our own roles.

My contract got extended for another six months, which I can’t believe has already flown in! I am now due to finish my role as a Peer Facilitator with the charity and pass the reins on to the new Peer Facilitators who will be employed for 1.5 year with the charity. I will miss both the job and the amazing people I have met during my time as a Peer Facilitator, but as I move on to my new role as a Diagnostic Radiographer (yes, I studied this degree whilst working as a Peer Facilitator, and yes it was A LOT of work!), I hope to bring the confidence, determination and passion I have developed throughout my time at Cancer Fund for Children into my new role!

Zoe, Cancer Fund for Children's Peer Facilitator

We would like to thank Zoe for the energy and enthusiasm she brought to her Peer Facilitator role and wish her every success for her future as a Diagnostic Radiographer.

Find out more about the Rank Foundation,