I’ve been reflecting this week on my delight that a small idea which came out of nowhere has turned into a 3 year programme of support for bereaved young people in Sheffield.
Over a year ago Brathay handed over the privilege of running the Master Cutler Challenge to St. Luke’s hospice. On the face of it, we are two very different charities with very different missions and little to share other than the connection with the Master Cutler campaign. The handover provided an opportunity to talk about our work, and very quickly we found we connected with staff at St. Luke’s who shared a passion for improving people’s lives. St. Luke’s were interested in how we managed to engage young people in positive activities, as they provide whole family support for their patients, but have always struggled to involve teenagers. We soon established that Brathay had an expertise which could fill their gap, and both partners agreed to provide 50% funding for a pilot project.
In June 2016, the project Time for You began, providing Saturday morning activities for 10-16 year olds. A joint commitment has ensured a culture of honesty and respect where we are able to work together to adapt and respond to challenges. For parents and grandparents with terminal illnesses, the sessions give them the peace of mind that their children have somewhere to go where they find support to get them through the grieving process.
In a time of severe cuts where charities’ funding is typically short-term and insecure, the funding for Time 4 You has now been secured until 2019. It took honesty, trust, foresight and a true willingness to capitalise on complementary skills for this project to get off the ground. What more might we achieve if all partnership opportunities were approached in this way?