Young people who have been diagnosed with cancer will once again be able to apply for funding to support their education or employment dream after CLIC Sargent and Societe Generale reopened applications for the ‘Thrive Not Just Survive’ grant.

Last year CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer support charity for children, young people and families, joined forces with partner Societe Generale to launch the grant for the very first time.

Successful applicants secured funding to help with course fees, photography and video equipment to launch a freelance business, extra tuition, tools for apprenticeships, and insurance costs for study abroad.

Young people aged between 14 and 24-years-old who have been diagnosed with cancer and are looking to get their education or career ambition back on track will be able to submit their application for funding until the 22nd September 2019.

CLIC Sargent research found that over two thirds of young people were worried about the impact that cancer will have on their education and almost three quarters were worried about the impact on their future employment.

Under the grant scheme, young people can apply for one of three tiers of support – gold (£3-5k), silver (£1-3k) or bronze (up to £1k).

Harriet Ivison, aged 25, from Midhurst, West Sussex, was awarded a ‘Thrive Not Just Survive’ grant last year. She used the grant to fund an online course and magazine subscription to keep her dream of becoming an early years teacher on track while she was at home recovering from treatment.

Harriet was diagnosed with blood cancer (MDS) in January 2018 after finding out she had a rare gene mutation a couple of years before. After a two week hospital stay for pneumonia, Harriet realised that something was seriously wrong. That’s when she found out that the gene mutation had progressed to cancer and needed treating.

“My whole diagnosis was very strange,” says Harriet. “Even when I was being treated in the Cancer Centre I felt very weird and confused by what was going on. I thought that due to the gene mutation I was just having a bone marrow transplant, but then I was told I would also need to have chemotherapy before that.”

Harriet found chemotherapy incredibly difficult and didn’t understand how ill she would become through the process. She struggled when she contracted sepsis, but with the help of the hospital staff she got through it. After chemotherapy, Harriet underwent a bone marrow transplant and had to stay in hospital in London for eight weeks.

Harriet was supported by her CLIC Sargent Social Worker Laura, who was on hand to provide practical and emotional support. Laura also arranged for Harriet’s mum to stay at the charity’s nearby Home from Home, Paul’s House, which reduced the physical and financial impact of travelling to and from Sussex.

Sadly, Harriet had to put her training to be an early years teacher on hold while she recovered from treatment. She applied for the ‘Thrive Not Just Survive’ grant so that she could afford a subscription to the early years magazine Nursery World and an online course in the specialist Montessori method of teaching.

“Thanks to the grant I’ve been able to keep in touch with what’s going on in the nursery world through the magazine and keep up with my studying by doing this course, even though I haven’t been able to get back in the classroom yet,” Harriet said. “It’s really helped to get me ready to get back to teaching without feeling like I’m out of touch.

“While doing the application it reminded me of how much I want to be an early years teacher and gave me that drive to know that I can go back to it once I’m ready. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else as a career. For anyone who’s thinking about applying I would say to just give it a go!”

Societe Generale’s UK employees chose CLIC Sargent as its charity partner in March 2018 and aims to raise £1 million over the next three years. The ‘Thrive Not Just Survive’ grant is part of Societe’s Generale’s overall commitment towards supporting young people to access education and employment.

As part of the three year partnership, CLIC Sargent will also use the new funding to increase the support from its specialist care teams, who work tirelessly to limit the damage cancer causes beyond a child or young person’s health by minimising the disruption cancer causes to their education, social life, finances and future prospects.

Click here for further information or to apply for the ‘Thrive Not Just Survive’ grant. Applications will close on Sunday 22 September.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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