This year has been an exciting and busy one for the Melanoma Fund. We shook up our internal structure, changing our working name from the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund to make our name easier to say! We increased the size of our Trustee board and armed ourselves with an updated logo, branding and website. Thankfully, we have retained our Chair, the unstoppable Harry Townsend, without whom this charity would not exist. Read more about Harry here.
We were invited to attend a wide number of patient and cancer focused panels and seminars, and again supported and attended the Melanoma Patient Conference, representing and cementing our place as one of the top melanoma charities in the UK. We retained our place on the Melanoma Taskforce and have reached out to other melanoma charities to increase our strength through unity.
Create national and community awareness
We successfully rolled out our Watch Your Back! sun protection for gardeners campaign for a third year, reaching an even wider audience, ensuring our messages are making a difference. We worked with 10 celebrity gardeners who promoted the message ‘Don’t be Ridiculous! – wear sunscreen’ featuring in 125 major garden centres.
We ran a national sunflower growing competition, generated funding for a Skin Health Clinic bus which visited six garden centres across Kent and Sussex, seeing over 1,500 people, promoting the importance of sun protection and early detection of melanoma, and referring 35% to their GPs. Our summary video can be viewed here
We dramatically grew our on-line support, received TV coverage of our work on the BBC – see here, and appeared on hundreds of supporters blogs and online media sites. We were recognised as having one of the top 5 melanoma blogs in the UK and a top rating YouTube channel, and have consistently kept this work up, despite being dependent on small budgets and one paid member of staff.
To top this off, we were approached by Jeff Morris at Chartham Park Golf Club to be their Club Charity 2018/19. At the time we never envisaged how this would lead to such amazing, conscience support. From raffles, auctions, club days, spinathons and a dragon boat racing team, the club is working relentlessly to raise as much as possible. To honour this work, we are pledging to put this donation to very good use which we know that clubs members will have full empathy with.
The Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code was created by the Melanoma Fund in 2014. It was, and remains, the only sun protection campaign, designed to support all those who work outdoors with children. The aim is to get those in charge to ‘Blow the Whistle on Sunburn’.
Partnered with the Youth Sports Trust, Association for Physical Education (AfPE), Child Protection in Sports Unit and sports coach UK, it is supported by over 120 national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) and a wide variety of overarching outdoor and coaching organisations.
This is not specifically a school sun protection campaign; this area is addressed and adequately supported by a number of schemes. The initiative is designed for children who spend a prolonged period of time in organised outdoor activity between March and October. This will be at holiday camps, club training, Outdoor camps, half term courses and those organised outdoor activities during the long school summer holidays that are growing in popularity due to working parents.
Due to resource issues, regrettably the campaign was not actively promoted or supported during 2017/2018 however, with the help of funds raised by Chartham Park, the aim is now to refresh the overall strategy and re-launch the campaign in Mid-March 2019, just before the spring holiday break.
The funds raised will help the charity pay for the resources to develop the new strategy, build a new website, create printed materials, communicate with the key supporters who have put their name to the campaign in past years and also to create new support and research new opportunities via a professional sports panel.
We believe that sun protection habits need to be created whilst young. We also believe that coaches and outdoor activity leaders are the ideal people to inspire children to do this. They also need to ensure that sun protection is not just on the safeguarding table, but included in their activity (sunscreen doesn’t work in kit bags).
Just one sunburn can triple the chances of developing melanoma and this is more often than not triggered by a sunburn in childhood. We believe that everyone deserves the right to grow up with healthy skin, but this starts with healthy habits and this is where, with the help of this donation we can make a difference.
To find out more view our Outdoor Kids video here.
So, to answer the question, what can a small charity achieve? We hope you will agree an awful lot, but only with the type of support that organisations like Chartham Park are willing to give. Maybe you have a business that could also do something to create a difference? Please contact Michelle, the CEO on 07989551046 or firstname.lastname@example.org, she would be delighted to hear from you!
We do hope you can all join us at the Skin Health Event at the club on the 11th August, kindly sponsored by The Rotary Club of East Grinstead. This would be a great time to come meet us and find out more about what we do and why we do it. We have the team from Queen Victoria Hospital offering skin checks and also rtwskin offering complexion analysis. We will be offering bottles of sunscreen for a small donation and lots of advice.
From everyone at the Melanoma Fund…a heartfelt thank you. Visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk for further details.