By Joanne Badger, Operations Manager, Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI

Published: 9 August 2023

AMRC’s Festival of Partnerships is shining a light on partnering – how best to do it, the challenges it brings, and showcasing great examples from the sector. A highlight of the Festival so far has been hearing from our member charities about the diversity of ways in which to partner: with each other, industry, government and more. We didn’t think it was fair to keep all these insights to ourselves. So, in this ‘Showcasing Partnerships’ blog series we’ll be hearing from some of our charities about these partnerships, their challenges and successes, as well as lessons learnt.

First, we’re showcasing Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI (LLNI), a small charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to blood cancer research. The charity has been operating for almost 60 years and has invested over £16 million into research, mainly at Queen’s University Belfast. The charity’s work largely focuses on education, laboratory research and clinical support.

What is your role at your charity and what does a typical day look like for you? 

I am the Operations Manager at LLNI and my typical day can involve meeting with supporters, patients, scientists, clinicians and our in house team. LLNI is unique in that we are based in the Patrick G Johnston Centre Cancer Research which is across the road from Belfast City hospital. This gives us a great opportunity to monitor, engage and promote the science that we fund.

Tell us about a partnership your charity has been involved in.

LLNI has been a member of the Blood Cancer Alliance for almost five years. The Alliance was created as a way for all blood cancer charities in the UK to work together, in order to highlight and address policy issues that affect this patient group. The Alliance remains a great success, having produced a number of valuable reports on inequalities, access to medicines and unmet needs . Sharing this information to policy makers with a united voice from 15 organisations certainly adds weight and ensures that demands are taken seriously.

What were the main benefits of this partnership as opposed to doing the same project alone?

There have been countless additional benefits to this partnership for LLNI. We have worked with other charities involved in the Blood Cancer Alliance to share resources, ideas, strategy concepts and to co-fund projects.

What makes charities such good partners?

Charities make excellent partners because we are all navigating similar challenges and want to find solutions that make the most of the resources we have access to. Knowledge is power and the more information we share with each other, the easier things become. Despite our differences, we all want the same end result and we can help each other reach that. 

What are the main challenges you’ve faced in partnerships and how did you overcome them?

Initial challenges in this partnership mainly revolved around trust and ensuring that all parties involved felt equally valued.

If you could give one tip to another charity entering a similar partnership, what would it be?

My advice would be that you get out what you put in; working to establish strong relationships with other charities and third parties can be an excellent opportunity to gather information, save money and broaden the remit of your organisation.

If your charity has a partnership you’d like to share via this blog series, we want to hear from you! Get in touch with Ellen at [email protected]. Read other blogs in the series on our Festival of Partnerships:blogs page.