By Ian Morris, Communications Manager, The Little Princess Trust and Ellie Ellicott, Research Communications Executive, CCLG

Published: 12 December 2023

A successful partnership between two AMRC members that has increased the amount of funding going towards childhood cancer research was praised at this year’s Third Sector Awards.Photo of the prize won by the charities at the Third Sector Awards

The Little Princess Trust and Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) began working together in 2016 when the former’s Trustees wanted to expand the charity’s remit to fund ground-breaking research.

But with no previous experience or contacts within the research community, The Little Princess Trust, which was set up in 2005 to provide wigs to children and young people who had lost their hair due to cancer treatment, had little understanding of how to get started in what was an unfamiliar world.

Phil Brace, Chief Executive at The Little Princess Trust, said that while the concept of ‘giving away money’ sounds like it should be simple, it soon became clear that the reality is very different.

"Not only in ensuring legal compliance but, importantly, in ensuring that only the best quality research, likely to have the highest impact for children with cancer, would be selected for funding," he added. 

Luckily, there was help available in the form of CCLG – the experts in childhood cancer. The Little Princess Trust contacted CCLG and conversations began on ways to fund research that would find kinder and more effective treatments for childhood cancers.

As the professional organisation for childhood cancer professionals and research funders, CCLG is well placed to use their rigorous research funding process to support The Little Princess Trust’s burgeoning research portfolio.

Phil Brace said both parties soon discovered that they shared many goals, while the advice and guidance from CCLG allowed The Little Princess Trust charity to expand its objectives so "we could come together to fund research".

"Working with CCLG has ensured we can support so many researchers and scientists searching to find kinder and more effective treatments for all childhood cancers. We are so happy this partnership - which has saved so much on time and resources - has been recognised as it really has allowed us to give more to the research community."

Phil Brace, Chief Executive, Little Princess Trust

By sharing knowledge and resources, the two partners have given a huge boost to childhood cancer research in the UK and, as a result of the collaboration, more than £23 million has been given to pioneering institutions and experts leading the way in researching paediatric cancers.

The work of the two charities, which was Highly Commended in the Charity Partnership of the Year category at the Third Sector Awards, has also acted as a road map for other charities to follow by showing just how much can be achieved when different organisations come together to help others. 

Recognition from the Third Sector Awards came only months after Mr Brace and Mr Ball-Gamble led the way with a roundtable discussion at the AMRC’s Festival of Partnerships opening event. Attendees heard how the two charities shared grant management and administration functions to maximise impact for young people with cancer.

"We’re delighted that our partnership with The Little Princess Trust has been recognised for its impact in supporting ground-breaking research. The partnership, and our position as the experts in childhood cancer, has led to the formation of the CCLG Research Funding Network. This initiative brings together research-funding charities to fund world-class research and improve outcomes for children with cancer, making our collaboration even more impactful."

“Working with The Little Princess Trust is key to our long-term aims and allows more high-quality research to be funded. By working together, we are stronger, and through collaborations such as this, we can achieve our goals quicker, and ultimately help shape a brighter future for children with cancer.”

Ashley Ball-Gamble, Chief Executive, CCLG

Find out more about some of the projects the charities have collaborated on, on The Little Princess Trust and CCLG websites.