Monday, 9 December 2013

Year 10's from St James Senior School for Girls cook up cakes and carols for children with cancer

I just picked up the following extract from the St James Senior School for Girls weekly newsletter where Aishwarya Chidambaram reported the success of their Year 10 Carols with Cake evening organised by the girls in aid of World Child Cancer. I was delighted to be able to attend the event and tell the girls World Child cancer had been selected as the Financial Times Seasonal Appeal. The girls event raised £450 for children with cancer who are suffering in some of the poorest countries in the world.

I can report the cakes were delicious and the singing even more so, truly delicious voices held aloft doing carols and other popular festive fare. A real treat.

10 WR's Carols and Cake On Wednesday 4th December, 10WR created an evening for parents, friends and teachers, filled with music and speech. This year the event had a Christmas theme and raised money for the charity World Child Cancer. As the last bell of the day rang at 4 o’clock we got into action: blinis were made, cinnamon buns were arranged, there was last minute guitar tuning and, of course, hair being styled!                                                                     

The evening began as peckish parents tucked into our array of 
mouthwatering refreshments: from gooey brownies to peppery
 palmiers. In fact, it was hard to get everyone away from the 
food table to start the carols! We sung a variety of songs, old 
classic carols like 'Silent Night' and more modern festive 
songs such as 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'.  They 
were either sung in rounds, as a Capella or accompanied 
by our diverse string instruments including 3 guitars, a 
ukulele and a double bass. We raised around £450 
and were delighted that Mrs. Ogden-Newton, 
Chief Executive of World Child Cancer, was also able to 
attend. Aishwarya Chidambaram, 10WR

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Financial Times Seasonal Appeal: First world care for developing nations

The FT launches its campaign in support of World Child Cancer
The white spots appeared on Than Win Htut’s right eye just a few months after his first birthday. At first, his mother, Su Su Myint, was not too concerned. “I just thought it was normal,” she recalls.
Within eight months, however, a milky film had covered the entire eye. The doctor near their village in western Myanmar grew increasingly confused and alarmed about Than Win’s condition. By then it was clear the spots were anything but normal.
Today, Than Win, who turned three a week ago, is a regular visitor to the paediatric oncology unit at Yangon Children’s Hospital where he undergoes chemotherapy to treat the tumour growing on his eye.
For the past year he and his mother have taken the arduous overnight journey to the hospital, which is itself battling a shortage of resources, the legacy of decades of rule by a paranoid junta.
His doctors are doing the best they can with what they have. But his prognosis remains uncertain. Were he living in London or Long Island, you could say with confidence that Than Win was going to survive and thrive.
But Than Win is one of the victims of what ought to be one of the world’s most avoidable medical injustices.
This year, 200,000 children in the world will be diagnosed with cancer. In the rich world, this does not have to be a death sentence. Decades of medical research and advances in treatment mean eight in 10 children battling cancer in the developed world will survive. But the vast majority of children diagnosed with cancer these days live in the developing world. For them, the odds are inverted. In some parts of the poor world as few as one in 10 children diagnosed with cancer survive. At the Yangon Children’s Hospital the survival rate is roughly 30 per cent.
The Financial Times today launches its 2013 Seasonal Appeal in support of World Child Cancer, one of the few charities dedicated to fighting cancer in children in the developing world. In the coming weeks, we will profile the work of this young charity, detailing the challenges doctors and families face in fighting childhood cancer and exploring efforts to develop and deploy low-cost treatments. The biggest killers of children worldwide remain infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and measles, according to the World Health Organisation. But billions have been poured into tackling those diseases over the past decade, with the Gates Foundation alone spending $2bn fighting malaria.
Non-communicable diseases such as cancer have received far less attention from donors, largely because they were left out of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, charities say. But cancer is a growing cause of death in the developing world. As people escape poverty and their lifestyles change, the incidence of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease grows. So too does the exposure of children. Childhood cancers are now the second-biggest killers of children in the US, after accidents.
As cancer treatments have evolved, survival rates have soared in the rich world. A child diagnosed with leukaemia in the UK today has an 80 per cent chance of being alive five years later, up from just 10 per cent in the 1960s.
“Childhood cancer is always described as a paradigm of treatment success,” says Dr Eva Steliarova-Foucher, who tracks data on children for the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
But that “paradigm of treatment success” has not reached the developing world. And that is where the vast majority of cases of – and deaths from – childhood cancers occur.
In 2008, the last time it published its findings, the WHO estimated that more than 93,000 children die of cancer around the world each year. Dr Steliarova-Foucher says 94 per cent of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
In those countries, the problems confronting children with cancer and those who love and treat them is heart-wrenching. Thousands of children die excruciating deaths each year with little more than paracetamol to dull the pain. Many thousands are never diagnosed because of low awareness of cancers among both the public and ill-trained medical staff.
When children are diagnosed and can receive treatment, they often enter a medical system with few resources, staffed by overworked and undertrained doctors and nurses. In parts of the developing world it is not unusual to discover that there is only one paediatric oncologist in the country, if there is one at all. In Malawi, children with cancer are treated in crumbling hospitals starved of resources next to shiny new donor-funded clinics for treating children with HIV.
“We are seeing more and more children get cancer in parts of the world where they can get treatment for tuberculosis and malaria and other infectious diseases. But randomly, and wrongly, hospitals stop short of offering proper treatment for cancer,” said Allison Ogden-Newton, World Child Cancer’s chief executive.
World Child Cancer operates on the principle that many of the issues surrounding childhood cancer in the developing world are solvable – and that needless deaths can be prevented.
Childhood cancer “is one of those problems that is by no means endless,” Mrs Ogden-Newton says. “We can live in a world in which every child who has cancer can have the right to fight cancer. That is something that can be done.”

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Chocolate Orange Muffins by Family Affairs

Here is a blog by my friend, the fabulous lady behind one of the UK's leading family blogs, Family Affairs. The piece is all about World Child Cancer, our up and coming walk in Richmond Park on September 22nd and the muffin recipe you can down load from our website which Lucy did and highly recommends.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Counting the social value of social enterprise

Sponsored feature Last week's roundtable debated the future growth of spin-outs from the public sector and how participation could be encouraged
A teacher working at her desk
It was evident, from the discussion, that staff working in public services, such as education, were not aware of spinning out options Photograph: Alex Mares-Manton
I chaired a lively seminar last week, sponsored jointly by the Transition Institute (which is currently residing at the Royal Society of Arts) and the Guardian. The focus was social enterprise spin-outs from the public sector and how to encourage greater participation.
Last year, the Institute launched its State of the Sector survey, which offered UK spin-outs the opportunity to share their views on the challenges faced in their sector, their experiences and lessons learned, and what processes they had undertaken. Spin-outs, as defined by the Institute, being "organisations that have transitioned out of a public sector body to become independent public service providers. Spin-outs tend to prioritise the maximisation of social value within their services and usually take the structure of a co-operative, mutual or social enterprise". The purpose of the roundtable was to debate the spin-out sector, the new Public Services (Social Value) Act and the challenges faced by today's social enterprises.
There was a wide-ranging debate involving people running social enterprises, from central and local government, academia and think-tanks. Unusually, for these kinds of events, a common approach emerged which seemed to have quite broad buy-in. The research was based on the survey and written by Dr Richard Hazenberg, from theUniversity of Northampton, for a report entitled: Public service spin-outs: the state of the sector. As Dr Hazenberg was away, the results were presented by Prof Simon Denny and Prof Nick Petford, who is the university's vice-chancellor.
The research revealed that the spin-out sector is growing, particularly with spin-outs that trade directly with consumers and who have received investment as opposed to grant funding. Also revealed was the fact that smaller spin-outs in particular (as defined by turnover and staffing levels), face significant challenges in gaining access to finance. Another key finding was the low awareness of the option of spinning out public services among staff in certain sectors (ie children and youth, employment and education), where there have been limited policy initiatives to promote the spinning-out process into public service mutuals and social enterprises.
Arising from this enthusiastic and knowledgeable roundtable discussion were three main policy recommendations: the government should promote growth of the spin-out sector; there should be an increase in investment for spin-outs; and there needs to be greater promotion of spin-outs and the potential benefits of spinning-out across the public sector.
Prof Petford argued: "When the four cornerstones of spin-outs led by professional and entrepreneurial managers, enlightened commissioning and procurement, access to finance, and the ability to work with all stakeholders in the spin out process are in place, it is clear that spin-outs succeed in delivering great services in ways that people want."
Spin-out entrepreneur Brendan O'Keefe, head of young people's services at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, agreed, believing that mutualisation of public services "represents a real opportunity for re-energising staff and reconnecting with service users. There is latent creative talent in the public sector and mutualisation creates the conditions for this to flourish."
O'Keefe adds: "Freed from stultifying bureaucracy, innovation and entrepreneurial flair comes to the fore. I have seen clear evidence of this happening already – and we've only just started." O'Keefe is currently leading a project to take 160 staff outside of the council to form an independent employee mutual and social enterprise, which will be known as Epic CIC.
Yet in the light of evidence from the Transition Institute and the University of Northampton revealing – to the dismay of some social enterprise idealists – that only about 10% of social enterprises surveyed have users involved in their governance, there was a recognition that arguments based on the inherent characteristics or goodness of social enterprises are neither valid nor helpful. There is a more general argument about the value of pluralism in the market, but this is hard to turn into criteria that apply in specific cases.
Further debate focused on the new Public Services (Social Value) Act. Apparently, local authorities are finding it hard to know how to interpret and implement the act and its core requirement that they give consideration to: "how what is proposed to be procured might improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the relevant area, and how, in conducting the process of procurement, it might act with a view to securing that improvement".
From this we identified an initial list of positive externalities, elements which could legitimately be considered alongside the cost and core service offer of a bidder and which, it might be argued, social enterprises have a greater capacity to deliver than either traditional public or private sector providers. These included the ability to innovate and to share innovation, engagement and empowerment of clients and citizens, engagement and empowerment of employees and commitment to reinvest surpluses in service improvement.
I am sure people will have ideas about this list but perhaps the most interesting suggestion was that – unlike commercial information – this part of the bid could be required to be in the public domain and made easily available.
For this device to increase the chances of social enterprise, spin-outs winning contracts involves three elements:
1. The social value criteria need to be spelled out in ways which can be validated by useful facts and figures, not warm words
2. There needs to be some "armchair auditing" of the claims being made so, for example, staff can blow the whistle on bad employers claiming to be champions of staff engagement
3. And, more fundamentally, social enterprises would need to show they are the best vehicle for the achievement of these externalities
Perhaps as the chair of the seminar I am biased, but this seems like a cheap and simple idea which activists could gradually make more powerful as it was taken up.
Matthew Taylor is chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts

At the table

Matthew Taylor (Chair), chief executive, Royal Society of Arts
Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive, the Transition Institute
Andrew Burnell, chief executive, City Health Care Partnership CIC
Professor Nick Petford, vice-chancellor, Northampton University
Ben Lucas, board director, director, 2020 Public Services Trust
Mark Sesnan, managing director, Greenwich Leisure Limited
Professor Simon Denny, director of enterprise, development and social impact, University of Northampton
Sabina Khan, former director of policy & research, Social Enterprise London/ Advisor to The Transition Institute
Brendan O'Keefe, head of young people's services, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Chris White MP, conservative member of parliament for Warwick and Leamington and social value ambassador
Tim Decamp, senior policy advisor, Cabinet Office
Lord Adebowale, chief executive, Turning Point
John Tizard, director, Collaborate
Steve Wyler, chief executive, Locality
Steve Reed MP, Labour member of parliament for Croydon North and former leader of Lambeth Council
Filippo Addarii, executive director, Euclid Network
Richard Cressey, policy officer, Westminster City Council
Matthew Cain, campaign analyst and blogger
Funded by Transition Institute