Thank you for your interest in becoming a pen pal with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. We will use the information you provide on this form to find your like minded pen pal!

The only information we will give to your new pen pal is your first name, the rest you can share in your letters!
 
We have some guidelines we ask to follow when becoming a penpal, please make sure you ask your parent or guardian to read these through with you.

 
 CODE OF CONDUCT

Guidelines & Process:
  • The aim of the pen pal programme is to enable meaningful and mutually supportive communication between participants. In the long-term, there is no reason why this should not be confidential, 1:1 between the young people.
  • The programme has a series of stages to ensure this aim can be safely met. Progression from each stage requires the agreement of parents, participants and the Trust.
  • Participants and their parents must agree to the code of conduct in order to be accepted into the programme.
  • The Trust’s responsibility to oversee the programme can only be exercised when all parties follow the code of conduct.
Stages:

Stage 1 – introductions
  • Young people write to their proposed partner, these letters are approved by parents and sent via the Trust.
  • The Trust forwards the letters to the parents of the recipient, who read and decide if it is appropriate to pass on to their child.
  • Replies are sent in the same way.
  • All parties agree not to establish alternative means of communication (social media, telephone, etc) at this stage.
  • If the initial exchange of letters appears to be working well, with the agreement of all parties, participants may decide to move to Stage 2.

Stage 2 – development
  • Correspondence continues to be sent via the Trust.
  • Parents no longer need to routinely read letters, although participants must agree they have the right to do so if they have any concerns about the impact of the correspondence on their child.
  • All parties agree to continue without alternative means of communication (social media, telephone, etc).
  • If both participants and their parents believe it is the right time to do so, they may request to move to Stage 3, taking into account:
  1. The age, maturity and mental wellbeing of the participants
  2. The agreement of all parties (including the Trust – who may liaise with the participants’ healthcare providers)


Stage 3 – consolidation
  • Correspondence may now be sent directly to home addresses.
  • Communication may take place via other media.
  • Subject to the first clause in the participants’ code of conduct, communication between participants will be regarded as confidential to them.
Code of Conduct

Parents
  • Parents are responsible for deciding that their child is suitable to join and remain in this programme.
  • Parents agree to monitor the correspondence:

 At Stage 1 by;
  1. Reading all incoming and outgoing letters
  2. Contacting the Trust coordinator if they have any concerns about the content of letters
  3. Ensuring personal details that might reveal home addresses, social media identities or telephone numbers are not disclosed
At Stage 2 by;
  1. Monitoring the wellbeing of their child in relation to the correspondence and discussing it with them
  2. Occasionally checking on the content of letters – incoming and outgoing
  3. Contacting the Trust coordinator if they have any concerns about the content of letters
  4. Ensuring personal details that might reveal home addresses, social media identities or telephone numbers are not disclosed
At Stage 3, by;
  1. Monitoring the wellbeing of their child in relation to the correspondence and discussing it with them
  2. Contacting the Trust coordinator if they have any concerns about the impact of the correspondence/communication on their child

  • Parents must not engage in any communication with their child’s correspondence or their family; if there is a need to do so, it must come via the Trust.
  • During Stages 1 and 2, either participant may decide they no longer wish to continue the link. In this case, participants and parents must inform the Trust coordinator, who will make all the necessary arrangements, including contacting the other participant.
  • For safeguarding reasons, neither parents nor participants can agree to total confidentiality. Any concerns about the welfare, mental health or wellbeing of participants must be shared in confidence with the Trust coordinator, who will provide advice and, if necessary, links to other professionals or agencies.
  • If at any point, parents do not feel the programme is having a positive impact on their child, they must contact the Trust coordinator, who may involve medical/other support professionals from the participant’s healthcare provider.
Participants

  • Communication between young people who are being treated or are in recovery from cancer can be a highly positive and supportive experience. Young people who wish to join the programme must agree if at any stage they find it is no longer helping or supporting them they must discuss this with the Trust coordinator.
  • Participants must also agree if at any point they become concerned about the welfare, mental health or wellbeing of their correspondent, to raise this confidentially with the Trust coordinator. For safeguarding reasons, total confidentiality, can never be agreed to.
  • Sharing experiences and emotions attached to cancer treatment and recovery can be an important support to recovery. It does not, however, replace wider professional support and participants should not try to provide advice that would be better provided by a healthcare or social care professional.
  • Participants must agree that whilst in Stages 1 and 2 of the programme, all correspondence will be sent via the Trust and that parents will read and monitor letters. No attempts should be made to establish links via social media or other means.
  • During Stages 1 and 2, either participant may decide they no longer wish to continue the link. In this case, participants and parents must inform the Trust coordinator, who will make all the necessary arrangements, including contacting the other participant.

Thank you for your support

T