Hi Dalvir. Could you explain to me about what your role entails?

As a social worker, my role encompasses a variety of methods of support. Most people think my role is just about helping families apply for benefits and money, but I also provide emotional support. I am essentially an advocate for them, as I ensure they get answers. Every family is different and has different needs, so we take an approach that is tailored to what their communications needs are, what their religious beliefs are, what their cultural needs etc. All of these things, we try to fit within that as everything we do for each family is bespoke.

How do you help families learn about how Candlelighters can support them?

When we meet a family for the first time, I will tell them about the types of support that are available. Many methods of support come from Candlelighters, who will bend over backwards to try to accommodate a family. At the same time, there is a lot of trust put on us by the families to ensure that we are finding support that matches their needs.

How does your role support families around the Christmas period?

In the lead up to Christmas, we are getting into the festivities. The whole of the oncology unit is very sensitive to the fact that it is a time that is very important to families to be together- so everybody is working hard to ensure that the children who can go home for Christmas are able to do so. The social work team works with the families to identify what are the obstacles which are potentially stopping that, and we work together to try to remove these obstacles. We’re constantly discussing with the members of the hospital team what the families’ needs are, and what we can do to meet these. Everyone is so focussed in on the children and our staff service runs over the Christmas period as well.

What members of the family does your support reach?

Everyone. The support is generally concentrated on parents, but we offer a service to siblings as well. There are often, depending on the family, aunts and uncles and grandparents too. We are looking to help whoever is associated with the child.

What would you say you are trying to achieve through your role?

I want to empower families to independently solve their problems. I think, because quite often we have close relationships with families, I will always say to them: “whatever need you have, even though you may think that I cannot resolve it (e.g. a medical issue), please share it with us”. I say this because everyone in that department is constantly in communication with one another, so whilst I might not be able to help, it’s likely I will know the person who can help. So let me know what your need is, and I will seek to meet it.


Can you fundraise this Christmas to ensure that there is social work support for families facing children’s cancer? Get your fundraising pack here. We’d love to hear about your ideas so please do get in touch with the Fundraising Team on 0113 322 9283.