Information for parents | Youth Cancer Trust

There are many benefits of a holiday with the Youth Cancer Trust for your son or daughter and these include:

  • A chance to have fun and relax, away from hospital in a safe environment
  • A chance to meet other young people who are experiencing similar challenges
  • A boost of confidence and the chance to re-gain some confidence

Whilst your son/daughter is away, you too can have time to give to other siblings or have a much needed break in the knowledge that your child is being well looked after.

Feeling Nervous about letting your child go?

It is natural to feel anxious about letting your son/daughter go away. Perhaps it is the first time they have been away since their illness or maybe it’s the first time away from you ever.

We are always very happy to chat to you individually but here are some frequently asked questions that may help.

What are the holidays like?

The Youth Cancer Trust runs wellbeing holidays from Monday – Friday, throughout the year coinciding with the Dorset school holidays ( except the Christmas holiday). 

Your young person will join up to 11 other youngsters of a similar age. 

Any one under 18 will be placed in an under 18’s only holiday.

We tailor make the holidays to suit the individuals in the group and arrange activities accordingly. 

No one is ever made to do anything they don’t want to and the option of watching and supporting the group is very much encouraged. 

Two staff members live residentially for the whole week with other staff/volunteers joining during the day time. All staff and volunteers are DBS checked. All staff are trained in Safeguarding and First Aid.

What happens if they get unwell before the holiday or during the holiday?

Prior to a young person coming on holiday they, or if under 18 you, need to complete a medical/holiday application form. If they are on treatment or recently off treatment, they or you need to talk to their medical team or GP to ensure that they are deemed well enough to come. 

If they get unwell for whatever reason staff will take them to the local GP or A&E (Dorchester) and will inform the parent/guardian.

We do not provide nursing care on our holidays however we support self care and staff have lots of experience looking after young people with cancer and other medical needs. 

How are they looked after?

Staff are very much involved with the group and encourage all guests to be open if they have any worries or concerns – however little. We pride ourselves in supporting everyone in an individual way. Although staff are always around there is plenty of time for individuals to have space to get to know each other well whether that is over a match of pool or sharing popcorn watching a movie. 

Do they need to bring their own food?

They do not need to bring any food with them however if they choose to please be aware that we have a NO NUT policy. 

We are extremely lucky to have an onsite chef who cooks delicious meals as well as providing snacks for individuals as they wish. We understand that sometimes during and after treatment food preferences and quantities change and we will adapt to individual needs as much as we can. 

The comprehensive application/medical form which includes dietary needs and preferences. For specialist diets (this could be religious practices or medical needs) we will have individual conversations prior to the holiday to ensure needs are met. 

How do they get to you?

Many of our guests travel by train. If they live in Scotland or Ireland then they fly. We can help organise the travel and ensure that each guest has a personal travel itinerary prior to coming. If they arrive by train they will be picked up by taxi organised by us. 

Older guests sometimes drive themselves and sometimes parents or a relative will drop them off. 

What do they need to bring?

This is the information pack the youngsters will receive which includes a packing list.

Do they need money?

They might like some spending money if we go to a local tourist attraction to buy a gift or some money if they are traveling on the train but otherwise everything is free. 

We even have a little tuck shop of treats that they can help themselves to for free. 

They want to bring their sibling/friend/partner is this ok and what do we need to do? 

Some young people like to come on their own whereas other like the idea of bringing a sibling, friend or partner. One companion of a similar age is allowed to join the week for free. They may also have a friend who they have made in hospital who could also benefit from the holiday. 

We will need any companions coming to have completed a companion medical form and parents/guardians of under 18’s to have signed the consent form.

How are the bedrooms allocated?

Manor Farm Barn and the adjoining Churn cottage has twin or double rooms with rooms in the main house all having en suites. Room allocation will be initially based on mobility needs with the four ground floor rooms being prioritised to those who need them. 

A guest will share a room with their companion. We require parental/guardian permission from both sets of responsible adults for any couples who are in a relationship over the age of 16 but under the age of 18 who wish to come together.

Under 18’s code of conduct

We ask all guests to read and sign a code of conduct prior to coming on holiday. Parents /guardians have to countersign this for under 18’s. 

Over 18’s must read and adhere to the Youth Cancer Trust Alcohol Policy. 

for parents Child Protection and Risk Assessment Policies which are available on request. All staff who come into contact with the youngsters have been checked with the Criminal Record Bureau and have enhanced DBS disclosures.

We work in conjunction with Macmillan Cancer Relief, CLIC Sargent, NHS and other cancer related organisations as part of the holistic treatment of young cancer patients.

Click here to read testimonials from parents, cancer related charities and health professionals

All groups are made up of youngsters of a similar age range.

Medical Care

All young people who wish to come on a holiday must be signed off by their GP or relevant health professional as being fit to come. They can come before, during or after treatment but must be able to administer medication themselves, as they do when at home. We take also take guests who are living with the late effects of having had cancer.

You will need to check with your doctor before your son/daughter comes on a holiday. We do not have nursing staff on the premises but full support is at hand if necessary at the local GP Practice in Puddletown or if necessary at the Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.

Our Chair of Trustees, Tamas Hickish is a retired Consultant Oncologist and is always available for any emergency or concern over the health of any of the youngsters.

We have a strict tried and tested procedure if any youngster falls ill whilst staying at YCT.

All staff have all been fully trained in emergency First Aid.

Medication can be discussed in detail prior to the holiday with us.

All your concerns can be talked through with either Laura, Jo, Wendy or any of the team before the holiday.

If your son/daughter does not feel up to any of the activities they are welcome to watch the others – or stay at the house and relax, enjoy our in-house facilities, sit in the garden – or just chill out and listen to music in their bedroom. There is no pressure – Youth Cancer Trust is about freedom of choice and independence.

To talk to the team – please telephone 01305 584064

What activities do they do?

Energy levels can sometimes be quite low for young people who are or have been ill or are in treatment, and we are very aware that they might choose not to take part in some of the more strenuous activities – this is absolutely fine and not unusual. They will be well looked after either at the house or they can come along and watch the others.

For siblings, these holidays prove to be of great benefit to the siblings or friends of the patient, allowing them quality time together in a fun environment. Siblings are able to make friends with other siblings and able to share their experiences.

The youngsters are accompanied on all the activities by a member of staff. All the service providers are risk assessed and fully insured. They also have a good understanding of the needs of the youngsters who holiday with us.

During the day, activities can include swimming, horse riding, games, go-karting, days at the beach – at our lovely beach hut – and various other choices. Evening activities include a BBQ, Karaoke, and sometimes a special meal out. Click here to read more about the activities.

When do the holidays take place?

The holidays take place during the school holidays. Groups of 12 stay each week from a Monday through to the Friday.

How do we get there?

We can pay for your travel expenses.

The travel options are:

Car – Parents are very welcome to bring their children to our holiday location or if the child is of age and has their own car they can drive themselves.

Train – Dorchester train stations are local. We can arrange a pick up from these stations.

Coach – There may be a group travelling from your area to Dorset – please contact us.

Plane – Bournemouth Airport and Bristol Airports are the closest. There are domestic flights from all over UK to here.