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UCH Cancer Fund

UCH Cancer Fund

About this initiative

Nearly 1 in 2 born after 1960 will be exposed to a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Every four minutes someone in the United Kingdom dies from cancer. As a result, cancer services are under increasing pressure: delivering excellent healthcare with limited budgets. This means that health services are relying more than ever on charitable organisations to cushion and fund the broader impact a cancer diagnosis may have on an individual and their loved ones.

SDG 3 Good health and well-being focuses on non-communicable diseases such as cancer – resulting in premature deaths globally. Effective diagnosis, prognosis and treatment are at the core of cancer treatment. This does not only affect the individual during their prognosis, but also their family, friends, colleagues and community. For the NHS, the annual cost of cancer is £5bn, but the cost to society as a whole – including costs for loss of productivity – is £18.3bn.


Amplifi, the media investment arm of Dentsu Aegis Network, is a fast-growing agency. Since 2012 it has grown to be more than 300 people and during that time it wanted to use CSR to build and strengthen its culture. From a survey of its people it learnt that cancer was an issue of concern. With the help of the global CSR team, Amplifi built a long-term partnership with University College Hospital (UCH) Cancer Fund where they were the very first corporate partner of this new charity.


The UCH Cancer Fund focuses on providing services and amenities to cancer patients that go beyond what the NHS can provide. At the UCH Cancer Centre, a new Centre with state-of-the-art facilities using cutting edge technology, the charity supports services which provide information, complementary therapies, psychological support and a range of self-management workshops to cushion the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on the individual and their families.

The partnership between Amplifi and UCH Cancer Fund, launched in 2014, broadly covers four areas: fundraising activities, holistic volunteering, partnering for impact and sharing skills and knowledge, the UCH Cancer Fund recognised Amplifi's media insight and partners would be very impactful contributors on this journey.


Almost £200,000 has been raised for the UCH Cancer Fund to date. This has been achieved through a combination of team challenges such as the UK Three Peaks, 50k Trekfest and Wild Warrior event and a fantastic yearly Big Bang Ball. With the help of generous partners and clients this means that Amplifi has been the biggest funder of the charity since its inception. 


The funding has been used to support a number of key value-added activities in the UCH Cancer Centre and the Hospital. Firstly, Amplifi helped to fund the upgrade of isolated treatment rooms. These rooms, where patients spend long stretches alone in isolation undergoing cancer treatment, were devoid of any colour, distraction and atmosphere. Amplifi helped to refurbish them to create a brighter décor and provide TVs, Xboxes and iPads for entertainment.


Amplifi’s support has also included the provision of anti-boredom activities for patients who are having treatment in the Cancer Centre or are in hospital, often for long stretches of time. Dr. Lizzie Burns engages the patients in creative activities which has a proven clinical benefit for their mental health.

In an example of a public-private partnership, Amplifi has contributed to the launch of the UCLH Cancer Academy. This first-of-its-kind initiative in the United Kingdom is responding to the pre- and post-treatment care that cancer patients and their families need. The Cancer Academy comprises four schools which will equip people with cancer (and their families and carers) and staff with the tools that they need to respond to the challenges that cancer presents. The academy aims to become self-funding by 2019.


To increase the links between the agency and the charity, 17 volunteering opportunities were organised that engaged 92 people over the last 3 years – this represents an average of 25% volunteering rate. A total of 142 hours was donated, representing a value of £20,000. These activities ranged from toy cleaning, to envelope stuffing, to meeting patients at events. Overall, these activities touched the lives of over 2,000 beneficiaries.


But volunteering also took a uniquely different form: raising awareness of cancer and cancer treatments with the people at Amplifi. Whilst many young people think cancer doesn’t affect them, 1 in 2 will be confronted with the disease in their lifetime. 55 volunteers took part in quarterly hospital tours, visiting patients and professionals alike to learn about the work of UCH and the UCH Cancer Centre.

Amplifi deployed a unique approach to leverage its position in the media industry to drive positive impacts for UCH Cancer Fund and its beneficiaries. Amplifi engaged Digital Cinema Media (DCM) and 20th Century Fox to deliver regular film screenings for young cancer patients and their families. Amplifi has donated over 2,000 magazines in the last 3 years to keep a wide range of diverting publications available for patients. This represents an annual added value of £2,500 for the UCH Cancer Centre.


Amplifi deftly deployed its media connections, skills and know-how to help UCH Cancer Fund raise its visibility in the north London, particularly around its game-changing partnership with north London rugby club Saracens. As a traditional family sport and club, Saracens provides a core audience for UCH Cancer Fund, both in terms of service delivery and awareness raising. Amplifi advised the charity on how to make the most out of the partnership. A dozen volunteers from the agency helped on match days and the agency unlocked £40,000 in free advertising across local publications to drive awareness of the charity and Saracens.


Matthew Platts, President of Amplifi UK I’ve been to the Cancer Centre, I’ve seen where the money is going as well as some of the initiatives that we put in place such as the magazines we donate and the mince pies we supplied at Christmas. We have some staff who have undertaken the support programme and are now volunteering at the Cancer Centre, we’ve got that connection that you wouldn’t get with another charity. It doesn’t feel like a typical charity-company relationship, I think we have come much more integrated into what UCH are doing.”