The next five years
2022 brings our charity to the end of its five-year strategic plan, which guided our ambition, efforts and focus over the last five years, resulting in tremendous progress and growth.
In 2021, we began working with an external facilitator to review the impact of our last strategy and consult as widely as possible with stakeholders to establish our future direction. Throughout this process, we engaged with parents and families, staff and trustees, clinicians and researchers and partner charities. This was our most extensive consultation to date and we are incredibly grateful for the enthusiasm and contributions made. This means our strategy over the next five years is fully inclusive and widely informed by those closest to the challenges we face.
Over the next five years, Solving Kids’ Cancer UK will remain neuroblastoma focussed, but with flexibilities to operate more broadly in support of children with cancer. We will do this through our research, support and awareness work with continued determination and focus on neuroblastoma. We will utilise the knowledge, expertise and reputation built over the last five years, for the benefit of children with cancer and their families, from across the neuroblastoma community.
Through our consultation process, an important narrative emerged to support the way our charity describes the range of services provided, through the lens of short – medium – long term goals and ambitions; our research strategy is aiming to achieve better outcomes for children with neuroblastoma as an aspirational vision and overarching objective whilst providing support to families in the here-and-now, focussed on easing immediate burdens and pressures in the short term. Advocacy and awareness bridge the two and is required to ensure momentum, both to the support and care of children and families in the present as well as facilitating sustainable change and improvement to outcomes in the longer-term.
The result of this work is presented within our new strategic one-page plan, and we are proud to introduce our charity’s three key pillars: research – support – awareness - with clear, ambitious and high-level objectives over the next five years that will guide and focus our work.
The charity’s current approach to the design and funding of research is well supported by the scientific community, and not just by those who have been recipients of our funding. We will continue to do what we do well: accelerate the progress made through our uniquely focussed approach to addressing unmet need through dedicated research grant calls; through strong international collaboration and partnership; and through sheer determination and relentless focus on the acceleration of developments through clinical trials.
We have expert research advocates in positions of influence both nationally and internationally and this has been instrumental, both in terms of the charity’s credibility and ability to influence pace and decision-making. This work will always be guided by the input of our Scientific Advisory Board and wider scientific community and charity partners to ensure the funds raised are used to help bring about sustainable change and promising solutions. We are grateful for the commitment, dedication and expertise of these valued partners.
We are learning all the time from the parents and families of children with neuroblastoma and have increased the ways in which we communicate with parents and families affected by neuroblastoma. In 2020 we introduced our, now annual, parent survey and we launched our Parent Involvement Forum in 2021. The views of parents and families of children with neuroblastoma are absolutely central to everything we do, and it is their voices that are reflected in our next five-year support objectives.
We identified clear and evidenced need for enhanced support for families of children with neuroblastoma. We will continue to deliver our parent education conference, whether that be in-person or virtually. Parents and families tell us about the powerful impact and sense of empowerment they have gained through these events, particularly in relation to helping make informed decisions.
Families also tell us they wish they’d heard about our support services at an earlier point after their child’s diagnosis. Priorities for the coming strategy period therefore include more engagement with treatment centres and a more clearly defined pathways for support from the first point of contact, so that we can reach more families and reach them earlier.
Finally, families tell us they would benefit from more practical, financial and emotional support – there are a range of excellent services available to families, and we won’t seek to duplicate what is already available – instead, alongside signposting where appropriate, we will broaden the range of support we provide to include a focus on bereavement, post-treatment and practical and financial support. We will always seek to develop this in partnership with other organisations where possible.
Both Patient and Research Advocacy have long been critical functions of this charity since its inception and have been key to many of the successes achieved. We are patient and parent advocates through our day-to-day support of families and through continued research advocacy progress being made to drive research prioritising and focussing on unmet need in neuroblastoma. This vital work will continue and accelerate over the next five-year period.
We will help to develop the advocates of the future so that the learning and expertise gained is sustainable beyond the careers of the experts who hold those roles for us in the present – ensuring that we can continue to amplify the voices of children with neuroblastoma and their families.
An important focus for this pillar will be to build our engagement at UK policy level – in relation to both the care and treatment of children with neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers in the here and now, alongside influencing the development of better care and treatment of the children of tomorrow. We will therefore establish our first Public Affairs strategy over the next five years.
To underpin the delivery of our five-year strategy, the work of the team at Solving Kids’ Cancer UK will be guided by an internal action plan centred around three key enablers of our work:
- Sustainability, ensuring our charity remains financially robust in order to deliver against our strategic objectives, securing the funds required.
- Good Governance, continuing to build a strong culture of compliance, transparency and continuous improvement at all levels of the organisation.
- Impact, measuring and showcasing the impact of our work and demonstrating return on investment to our supporters.
We are committed to embedding principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, ensuring that our operations, activities, and services are designed and open for everyone to be included, and to fostering culture, behaviours, and practices in support of social justice. With the launch of our new 5-year charity strategy, we are addressing EDI with renewed determination – centred around those with lived experience– and to ensure we deliver our plan and continually monitor our performance.
We have a strong team spirit and positive working culture within Solving Kids’ Cancer UK, with staff, trustees and volunteers all working together towards our shared vision: a future where no child dies from the childhood cancer neuroblastoma or suffers due to the treatment they receive. We are passionate about helping families and committed to making more progress. We will deliver on our strategy in line with this strong ethos and through our shared values:
Thank you to everyone who has contributed this strategy – please continue to support and champion us as we continue to do everything possible for children and their families affected by neuroblastoma.