Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging

We know just how rewarding it is to be part of an incredible team making sure that children, young people and families don’t face cancer alone. Our vital work has never been more needed than over the past year. But, like many organisations, we have also taken a long hard look in the mirror to examine our culture, practices and policies in light of the long overdue public discussions about racism, homophobia and misogyny in the UK and worldwide.  

Now is the time to drive  forward diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, both for and with our staff, volunteers, children, young people, and everyone who comes into contact with us.

Cancer has a devastating impact on the lives of children and young people, from all backgrounds, and all walks of life. We recognise that we operate within a system of structural inequity, a system that provides advantages for some members and produces disadvantages for others. By not doing enough to redress the balance, we have been complicit in perpetuating these problems.

We cannot separate our core purpose and ambition from the inequity that exists in our society. We cannot make sure that no family faces cancer alone if we aren’t doing our part to address the inequity that exists in our health systems and within our own organisation.

This is why Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging is such a clear focus of our strategy. It is  important and what we do is important, which is why we are making this change. We are passionately committed to taking actions and making changes to be a truly diverse, inclusive and equitable organisation, where everyone feels like they truly belong.

We recognise that making this happen is complex and difficult. It requires time and money, as well as courage, openness, diligence and collaboration amongst everyone spanning countries, regions, directorates, departments and professions.

We each have a role to play in making Young Lives vs Cancer more accessible, open and inclusive to all communities, but we cannot do this without collective action.

Chief Executive Rachel Kirby-Rider, Head of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Kei-Retta Farrell and Chair of Trustees David Haslam

What can you expect from us?

Our values will be our guide to approaching Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging:


  • We will be proactive and courageous in our approach; we will do what is right not what is easy.
  • We will challenge each other, making sure we hear new and different views. We will stand up to behaviour at all levels that goes against our values.
  • We will create spaces to hold the difficult conversations necessary for our collective journey towards healing.
  • We will be transparent about our journey and accountable for our progress.


  • We will model the good practice we want to see, empowering and valuing lived experience by co-producing our activities with our staff, volunteers, children, young people and families.
  • We will seek to understand the lived experience of all our stakeholders. We will be intentional about understanding the experiences of those from minoritised communities, amplifying their voice in all of our decision-making.
  • We will be an anti-racist charity, unapologetically identifying and challenging racism. We will use our power and influence to leverage more impact.


  • We will ensure that Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging is the golden thread that runs through our new brand ambition and propositions. We will ensure everyone is clear about how DEIB is essential to our core purpose.
  • We will be open-minded and flexible in our approach to DEIB, accepting that priorities may change as we learn more about the nuances of the lived experiences of our staff, volunteers, children, young people and their families. We will ensure our staff and volunteers are supported to make informed, inclusive and equitable decisions.

One Team

  • We will support, value and celebrate our differences, encouraging everyone who engages with us to bring their whole selves to the interaction.
  • We will build on what we do well. Anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice are at the core of social work values. We will utilise this knowledge, skills and experience to build for the future.
  • We will work collaboratively across our Young Lives vs Cancer community to harness our collective power, recognising the whole is greater than the sum of our parts to create systemic change.

What we expect from our colleagues

We want to hear the voices of our staff and volunteers, so we can understand strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. We aim to make it real for all roles, departments and directorates.

We need our people to get comfortable with being uncomfortable; by using their discomfort to learn. The fear of getting things wrong must not scare anyone into inaction. We hope our staff and volunteers will be willing to welcome feedback and genuinely challenge themselves.

We want everyone to be proactive and take the necessary steps to educate themselves if they haven’t started to already. It is important to do reading and research, rather than expecting people from minoritised communities to educate us.

This is our statement of intent. It isn’t our strategy. We are working on that now. By publishing this statement, we are making a public commitment to change for the better, and holding ourselves accountable for our progress.