Bright Futures UK
1912. Joshua Pelled
Joshua Pelled, from London, is a two-time cancer survivor who set up ‘Bright Futures UK’ to provide support for other young people who miss out on education for medical reasons after he was forced to take two years out of school due to cancer.
Joshua was diagnosed with kidney cancer when he was five and then osteosarcoma when he was 16, just as he was about to take his GCSE exams. The experience made him realise how further support could be given to other young people who cannot attend school for significant periods of time, not only in terms of helping them back into education but providing peer support to reduce the social isolation many feel when separated from friends due to spending long periods of time on hospital wards or recovering at home. Supported by over 200 volunteers and working closely with NHS partners for referrals, the charity is the first of its kind in the UK and has provided more than 800 students aged 5-24 with tailored educational and personal support since 2017, which includes tutoring and mentoring programmes, regular workshops and a befriending service enabling young people to connect with one another.
In a personal letter to Joshua, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am lost in admiration for remarkable people like yourself who freely give up your time to improve the lives of others. Through ‘Bright Futures UK’ you are providing crucial support to those who miss out on education for medical reasons.
You know from your own experience how isolating cancer treatment can be. By creating this community, you are not only allowing young people to catch up on schooling but you are also helping to tackle loneliness at a vulnerable time in young people’s lives.”
“I am honoured to receive the Points of Light award for founding ‘Bright Futures UK’. I created ‘Bright Futures UK’ from my own personal experiences of beating cancer twice throughout my education. It was clear that more needed to be done to support children and young people throughout these challenging times. ‘Bright Futures UK’ was created to focus on the individual needs of the young people we work for and to provide a service which supported their personal needs, goals and growth.
“‘Bright Futures UK’ wouldn’t be what it is today without the incredibly dedicated team behind the charity, the hundreds of volunteers who offer their time with a big smile and all the supporters who have joined us along the journey. To all of them, you are the points of light to so many of the young people we work with.”