It had become increasingly apparent to Cancer Relief that we needed to provide more specific services to support children of families affected by cancer. Our first priority was the creation of a play area. Our seemingly impossible dream of a purpose built area was made an unbelievably beautiful reality but the Guardian Angel foundation, who generously funded the whole project. The playground was opened in a fantastic party earlier this year and has enjoyed several months of energetic use by families attending the Centre. Our second priority was to find the best way to provide support for children whose families or lives had been affected by cancer. With this in mind we launched the After School Club initiative, whose aim was to provide children with an opportunity to express themselves in creative ways. Parents or guardians of the children were encouraged to take part, as well as providing an opportunity to meet other families in similar situations, with the aim of supporting the family as a whole.
Music was the focus of the first programme, and Cancer Relief was fortunate enough to be able to recruit Surianne Dalmedo and the Busy Bee club to facilitate this. The Busy Bee club’s ethos is to teach children the magic of expressive arts through creative and sensory play. For Cancer Relief, Surianne ran a six week ‘Bcycle’ course where children could learn about environmental issues (Reduce Reuse and Recycle) by creating instruments made out of recycled materials and natural resources, then use these instruments to produce a music piece. Thanks to Surianne’s experience as a workshop facilitator, teacher and professional singer songwriter, the children were able to write their own lyrics and music. Allowing them to express themselves as they wished, the children then experienced the thrill of recording their song together and filming a music video to go with it. The result was a new and exciting experience for all the children involved, whilst also creating a safe, supported environment which allowed exploration of emotions and creativity to the full. Cancer Relief is very grateful to Surianne and the Busy Bee Club for facilitating this service.
We are looking to continue the After School club as and when it is required to support families, we have lots of ideas and plans for the future so if you are interested in making us of this facility, please just contact the Centre for more information on upcoming events.