Summer of promise at Lancaster cancer charity for Alisha

Alisha Potter is planning to use her experiences of being part of CancerCare’s Re-Fresh Peer Support Group as a springboard for a career helping people in the community.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 4:00 pm

Alisha is currently taking part in the Prince’s Trust Team Programme, which aims to help young people aged 16 to 25 meet new people, develop new skills and further themselves with training opportunities.

As part of the programme, Alisha has been completing a two-week volunteer work placement at CancerCare, which has seen her helping out at our Slynedales Centre with the Hug in a Mug group support sessions and assisting the Re-Fresh Peer Support Group team with planning this summer’s activities and trips.

Alisha first visited CancerCare in 2014 after losing her much-loved little brother Shaun, who passed away at only seven years of age.

Alisha Potter.

Shaun and Alisha were incredibly close, and his loss had a profound effect on her.

“We were like best mates and used to love being together either watching films or going out for walks in his wheelchair,” she said. “It was really tough when he died. Home just didn’t feel like home anymore.”

Alisha began to struggle at home and at school and was referred to CancerCare for counselling. However, it was joining the charity’s Re-Fresh Young People’s Peer Support Group that made the most positive impact in her health and well-being.

“Counselling was ok and helped teach me some coping strategies, but Re-Fresh made a massive difference to my life,” she said. “I was meeting other young people going through difficult stuff and I made a lot of friends through the group.

Alisha with Prince Charles.

"Being with others dealing with the same things as you makes you realise you are not alone and there are others in similar situations and you can help each other.

“The youth workers aren’t there to tell you what to do, either, and they treat the young people with respect. When I first started to come I was a bit of a closed book and as time went on gradually just began to open up.”

Alisha is now more than halfway through the Prince’s Trust Programme and earlier this month got to meet the Prince of Wales on his visit to Morecambe Fire Station when she joined fellow members in giving him a presentation on their work so far.

She is also now planning for life beyond the programme and preparing for her dream career working with young people with special educational needs by applying for a place on a 26-week college course to support her volunteering work with CancerCare.

Re-Fresh Youth Action Researcher Lou Andrews said: “It has been wonderful to see how Alisha has grown and gained in confidence in the years she has been coming to us.

"We are proud to see her so keen to give something back to CancerCare by giving up her time to help us and other young people in the same situation she found herself all those years ago.”

To find out more about Re-Fresh visit cancercare.org.uk