Fourteen young people braved the winter weather on the Solent to complete their RYA Competent Crew Course and learn what it takes to be a volunteer on Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust trips. Each young person has previously sailed with the Trust following treatment for cancer and will return to volunteer on trips over the summer.
One of the young people who completed the Graduate Volunteer Training program was Lillie Killick, 19, from Hailsham in East Sussex, who first sailed with the Trust after she finished treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital in March 2013 for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
Lillie explained why she wanted to volunteer for the Trust:
“My experience with the Trust completely changed my life. It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done. It improved my confidence and has made me the person I am today. I want to be able to help give that opportunity to other young people in recovery from cancer.”
The Trust not only offers the young people it works with the chance to do Return to Sail trips, it also invites them to develop new skills by giving them the opportunity to become Graduate Volunteers. Having young people who have previously sailed with the Trust, helps to provide a strong network of support for those taking part in their first trip.
It is due to the long-term support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery that the Trust is able to offer these programmes. Last year, players of People’s Postcode Lottery committed to supporting the Trust with an amazing £1 million over ten years.
Founder Dame Ellen MacArthur explains:
“We currently work with 8.1% of the young people we could help in the UK but with the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, along with the continued support and dedication of our volunteers, we are growing year on year.”
The Trust will continue Graduate Volunteer Training in April with two more weeklong courses. A total of ten additional young people will complete the training the week of 13th April, with one course being run at the Trust’s base in Largs, Scotland and the other a Day Skipper Course and Graduate Volunteer Training being run in the Solent on the South Coast of England.