Cancer support charity CanTeen has used funds raised by Specsavers’ joint venture partners to inspire and encourage young members, and develop their leadership skills.

Specsavers’ partners raised $125,400 for CanTeen Australia and New Zealand during the Awards for Excellence Dinner that concluded the Specsavers Partnership Seminar held in Sydney in March 2017.

The approximately $105,000 raised by Specsavers’ Australian partners enabled CanTeen’s Australian arm to bring together 80 of their young member leaders for an intensive and supportive three-day Leadership Festival from 25 to 27 August 2017 in Sydney – the first of its kind.

The festival gave the participants the opportunity to build national peer support networks, and attend and participate in informative sessions and workshops where they developed skills and ideas relevant to their roles in CanTeen and beyond.

The agenda included Q&As with panellists such as Jess Miller, one of the youngest City of Sydney councillors, workshops facilitated by LinkedIn and the Future Directors Institute, as well as a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour.

The festival’s theme, ‘What if you fly’, was taken from a poem by young Australian poet Erin Hanson that encourages exploration of transition, vulnerability, ambition and success. These are said to be core issues for CanTeen’s young people, the organisation’s landscape and the leadership story.

According to CanTeen, cancer turns young people’s lives upside-down, often interrupting their ability to learn crucial ‘life skills’ for study and work or take on roles of responsibility in their school and extracurricular environment. The provision of leadership development and experiences gives young people an opportunity to build skills, resilience, and confidence to contribute meaningfully to CanTeen and the world around them.

One of the Leadership Festival attendees commented, “I have been a member of CanTeen for about 10 years now. I’ve attended numerous CanTeen programs, both divisional and national. Out of all of them I have never felt this inspired, had my courage increased this much, felt this engaged or learnt as much as I have from this weekend. It was truly the best CanTeen program I’ve ever attended.

“I would like to pass on my deepest gratitude for allowing me to attend this program. I now feel like I can do anything and I’m no longer afraid to take chances and ‘fly’. I have a new-found confidence within myself. Once again, thank you.”

CanTeen CEO Peter Orchard said, “On behalf of everyone at CanTeen and the young people we support, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Specsavers and their amazing franchise partners who made our inaugural Leadership Festival possible.”

See below for some photos from the event, as well as some video messages from CanTeen and its members.


Video messages from CanTeen