CancerCare North Lancashire and South Cumbria | Therapeutic Minecraft world for teens affected by cancer and loss to connect with peers, youth workers and therapists.



Why the work is being done

This challenge seeks to build an engaging, interactive and fun Minecraft environment, to enable CancerCare North Lancashire and South Cumbria to continue to offer their ReFresh group (aged 13-18) a programme of fun activities that allow them to gain confidence, and share experiences with others affected by cancer or loss.

Problem to solve

Our ReFresh group (aged 13-18) has based its activity on peer support, codesigning a programme of fun activities that allowed them to gain confidence and share experiences with others affected by cancer or loss. The young people in our user group during the pandemic were isolated, and unable to mix with peers for face to face support: they lost confidence, and experienced a decline in their mental health and coping mechanisms.

It's likely that our provision for this group – and their ability to socialise - will be disrupted for the foreseeable future: the online provision we currently offer does not provide the collaborative environment they need

Who are the users and what do they need to do

As a young person and Peer Support Group member 
When I can’t attend the weekly sessions 
I need to be able to stay in touch with other group members 
So that I can share my thoughts and feelings with them and help them if needs be
As a CancerCare youth worker 
When we can’t hold weekly group sessions
I need to be able to stay in touch with the young people 
So that I can tune in to how they are feeling and arrange extra support if it is needed and enable them to enjoy activities with each other
As a young people’s therapist
When I cannot carry out face-to-face sessions 
I need a safe and reliable visual platform 
So that I can carry out therapy which enables me not only to talk to them but tune into body language, facial expressions and conduct play therapy sessions
Our key user groups are children aged 3-18 affected by cancer or bereaved for any reason, in the North Lancashire and South Cumbria area. The project will be initially aimed at young people who participate in our ReFresh project for young people; but we anticipate it will also be used by younger children aged 3-12 in play therapy sessions, which are currently not available to those families who need to shield for any reason or who do not feel safe to attend a centre during the pandemic.
The project would create a bespoke Minecraft World that acts as a meeting space and creative play space, both for mini-games and creative sessions. A Discord server would be provided for young people to use as a community hub, to socialise and to connect to services.

The aim is to create an innovative, bespoke space for young people to create art, write, make animations, and experiment with music and video creation, under the guidance of youth workers and potentially arts professionals.

Moderated by youth workers, the space would be open during specific session times, and would include a range of social games that can be played for ice-breaking activities. It would provide a safe, moderated and fun space to play games, share stories and experiences creatively, and allow youth workers to run peer support group sessions and engage with young people, picking up on the need for more structured support when required.

This project would encompass set up and build cost for Minecraft and ongoing servers and games; Discord set up; and the use of community bots and plug-ins to make the space fun, relaxing and safe.

The cost would need to include training and support to give youth workers the confidence to take ownership of the new service.

It could also be used in a therapeutic context for young people’s therapists. It would aim to replicate the intimacy, creativity and insight of a face-to-face session, and provide an interactive platform for use in remote play therapy.

Key project resources

Discovery files
Work already completed during discovery