Written by Michelle Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Melanoma Fund
Us Brits like to talk about the weather, be it too hot, too wet or cold, and with our changeable temperatures we are never lost for words! The Melanoma Fund are using this ‘Britism’, to ignite a sun awareness campaign to inspire children to not only wear sun protection, but educate them on why it is important, to help them avoid skin cancer.
This summer, Essex ActiVate, an Essex based Food & Activity Programme contacted all their activity providers to offer free SPF30 sunscreen dispensers, complete with boards, to help not only protect them from sunburn, but educate them on the UV Index, and the rationale behind sun protection.
With 80 providers taking up the offer, they are successfully providing thousands of young people with sunscreen who may not necessarily have had access to it, impacting health and good habits at the ideal age.
With just one sunburn doubling the risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, it is the duty of care for all outdoor activity providers to ensure all in their care are protected from the sun.
After ATF, a holiday activity provider based in Basildon, received their sunscreen, they decided get Sun Protection Accredited to the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code and get sun protection on their agenda. Taking this one step further, the organised a daily weather report, featuring ‘Alfie the weatherman’, who now appears in a regular slot on their socials:
This genius idea, teamed with 11-year-old Alfie Berrabe’s unique presenting skills led to Alfie appearing on BBC Essex Radio, breakfast show.
Calling all weatherkids!
This has now inspired us to create the #weatherkids campaign. Working with Essex ActiVate, the Holiday Activity and Food programme run by Active Essex in partnership with Essex County Council, the Melanoma Fund is now looking to get other partnerships creating a similar campaign, aiming to not only create awareness of sun protection, but provide young people with an educational project for the summer.
Involvement is open to all their providers, whether in receipt of the sunscreen dispensers or not, and simply involves electing a willing young person to help present the weather in a video format, and post on their socials, using #weatherkids.
Ensuring young people understand the importance of sun protection is an important step in building better habits, so all providers will be encouraged to get accredited to the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code and take the Sun-Sorted quiz https://www.melanoma-fund.co.uk/ok-sun-safety/sun-sorted-quiz/.
This fun, educational tool is free and provides invaluable information on the sun, their skin, and their environment. Designed for KS2 children, it is also great for adults who want to brush up on their knowledge.
We look forward to seeing some great weather reports, hopefully as good as Alfie’s! For further information check out #weatherkids and to get your organisation accredited the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk