Charity - Hope Support Services

PUBLISHED: 13:56 02 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:21 20 February 2013

Charity - Hope Support Services

Charity - Hope Support Services

Sue Trevethan, founder and CEO of Hope Support Services, explains the personal crisis that prompted her to set up a Herefordshire charity to support young people when a close family member is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness

Sue Trevethan, founder and CEO of Hope Support Services, explains the personal crisis that prompted her to set up a Herefordshire charity to support young people when a close family member is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness...

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, with three teenage children myself, I was amazed to find a lack of support for young family members who, at a time when the focus of attention is on the patient, can become marginalised, isolated, confused and scared.

With the possible outcomes of disengagement with education, family breakdown and drug or alcohol abuse, I felt this was an area in desperate need of attention. I have a strong background working as a therapeutic counsellor within social services, the care system, schools and pupil referral units. I also set up an anti-bullying peer support programme in secondary schools throughout Herefordshire, in partnership with Childline. So, in 2009, I founded Hope Support Services to help young people, aged 11 to 25, through the challenges to put the power back into their hands and help them turn a difficult situation into a positive future.

The charity is based in Ross-on-Wye and is expanding across Herefordshire. Hope is here to help young people from the moment a close family member is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Our support is immediate, preventative and continuing and we work and liaise with local and national agencies to provide a comprehensive support network.

Our young people are at the heart of our charity and our youth management team, the Y-Team, have all been there. Aged 14-18, this group of young people know first-hand the pressures of a family health crisis and what it takes to get you through.

We have weekly youth activity sessions in Ross-on-Wye and monthly Hope on the Road activities that can be accessed by young people across the county. Here they are able to let off steam and have fun with friends who really understand what theyre going through. Our team of highly-trained, sensitive and supportive professionals are always there, offering a unique service to meet the needs of each and every young person.

Hope offers online support, one-to-one support, workshops tailored for the young people from living with uncertainty to anger management and even specialist training for front-line professionals in direct contact with children and young people affected by a family health crisis.

As the founder and CEO, I am supported by a small team of hardworking staff, volunteers and trustees. We have a totally unique set-up with two principal teams that have separate but symbiotic roles. The Hope Management Team is an adult-run management and service provision team that works alongside the Y-Team. Members of this youth management team work to create a virtual circle of self-sustaining support, for and with their peers, and they are supervised by adults with a light touch! This independent structure is one of the most exciting and crucial things about Hope.

The Y-Team put on their own events to raise their own funds to pay for their own support service and activities. In recent months our young people, some of whom had become the main cooks at home due to a family health crisis, worked hard to gain their Level 2 Food Hygiene certificates with the support of Geoff Tookey of Safefood Solutions. Working with a local butcher, they have also created recipes for a Hope Sausage and Hope Pie (on sale in Cornwall Family Butchers, Ross-on-Wye). Plus, they have been making the Hope presence known at local festive and craft markets selling Hope Fairies to raise even more funds. As Hope expands across Herefordshire, Hopes young people plan to duplicate this set-up with other local suppliers across the county.

Hopes vision is to build a foundation of support for young people within their own communities and we make sure that all funds raised within a community are used in that community. We have had two extremely proud moments in recent times where we have seen Herefordshires community coming together to support us. The first was a Hope poetry competition for which the students of John Kyrle High School produced some wonderful poetry and artwork about what hope means to them. The entries were judged by Poet Laureate Caro Ann Duffy, a panel from Herefords Sixth Form Art College, the Ledbury Poetry Festival and Herefordshires two young Poet Laureates. The young people were so passionate about getting involved and supporting us and the entries were of a very impressive standard.

The second was Come Dine With Hope at the glorious Bishopswood House. Hopes young people were beyond amazing. They worked together with five chefs from the British Culinary Federation to serve up a beautiful four-course meal for 80 local business people. Nigel Morris, from Morris Bricknell, auctioned off the opportunity to have a meal cooked by one of the masterchefs and Hopes Y-Team chefs in their own home, which raised more than 800. I was extremely proud of our whole team and it was amazing to be a part of such an emotional, inspirational evening which really hit at the heart of our local community.

This has developed into a fundraising initiative where supporters can host a Come Dine With Hope At Home having dinner with friends and raising funds for Hope at the same time. For more information see www.dinner4good.comHopeSupportServices.

We rely very heavily on our small Hope team and we would love to see more volunteers coming forward to help out at our upcoming events. If anyone reading this is able to offer support, please contact the office on the number at the top of the page. You can also raise funds for us when you shop through or make a text donation via Text Giving. Just text HSSV10 10 (or any other amount) to 70070.

Diary Dates

Over the summer, youll see us at Ross-on-Wye carnival on August 4, the CAMRA Beer on the Wye festival from July 6-8 and the Broome Farm Cider Festival from August 31-September 2. Hopes Y-Team are also teaming up with other Herefordshire youth organisations for a very exciting new venture a music event, which will take place at the end of the summer. The plans are still under wraps but you can keep up to date with all our upcoming events by phoning the office 01989 566317 or visit www.hopesupport or follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @Hope_Support.

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