The First Give programme has made us less selfish and more humble as teenagers

 Shakirah Ayinbode, Emily Brierley, Shaan Ghag, Jenna Hillman, Sophia Lis and Chloe Matthews, all members of 10 Persephone at Townley Grammar school, competed in their school’s First Give Final, an occasion made possible by the generosity of the Jack Petchey Foundation.

They chose to represent Shine, a charity that supports cancer sufferers who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. It was a natural choice for the team, as Chloe’s mum currently has bowel cancer and benefits greatly from the support of Shine.

Chloe said: ‘The support that the charity offers my mum is so important – this has been such a crazy situation for her and to just have someone to talk to has really helped her, and us as a family. It would mean so much to win the prize money – we have put in so much effort.’ Shaan, her team mate, said: ‘We’re going to keep fundraising as we feel like we’re changing lives. The First Give programme has made us less selfish and more humble as teenagers.’

At an emotional Final, attended by all the students’ families and a representative from Shine, the team talked both about Chloe’s experiences as the child of someone who suffers from cancer, and how the other team members had tried to support her through this difficult time.

The students also played excerpts from a radio show that Chloe had presented and the others had produced, called ‘Not Your Grandma’s Cancer Show’ which aims to raise awareness and support for younger people affected by cancer. They also read a poem, written by Chloe’s sister and brought the house down with an mature, thoughtful and effective presentation.

The team were delighted to win £250 for the charity and hope to continue working with them in the future.

First Give works in partnership with the Jack Petchey Foundation, which funded the 2015/2016 programme with £85,000, allowing 25 schools across the South East to participate in the scheme. However, the upcoming programme is set to be bigger and better, with the Jack Petchey Foundation providing First Give with £120,000 to increase the numbers of young people who participate to almost 11,000 - helping even more young people engage with their local communities and develop valuable professional skills. Sir Jack Petchey says “I believe we all have a responsibility to give back to society” and of course he has done this by funding the First Give programme in London and Essex to enable thousands of young people to understand and get involved in local charities.