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The Acorn Project helps young people living with cancer in Hawke’s Bay

Are you:

  • under 25 years old?

  • living with cancer in your immediate family or whānau - whether the patient is you, your parent or main carer, brother or sister and whether the diagnosis is old or new?

  • dealing with the loss of a sibling or parent to cancer?

The Acorn Project team are here for you

To listen, to chat, to just hang out. We’re here to help you have fun, build your inner strength, explore your talents and plan for the future.

You deserve to feel valued just as you are and have your voice heard.

It’s your choice - you can:

Connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Our Queen Street, Hastings base is a safe space for you to come and just hang out with other young people who really get it.

Chat with our Acorn Project youth workers in person, face-to-face, wherever you feel comfortable, about the big stuff and the small stuff too. We can help you have conversations with parents and caregivers, and speak with you or for you to schools, tertiary providers and employers. We are happy to support you and advocate for you at appointments too; we know some of these things can be hard to do alone.

Come along to tailored small group sessions - these are “deep-dive” workshops to share experiences, knowledge and skills to help you through this difficult time. Topic sessions include self-care, coping with anxiety, how to manage a new diagnosis in the family, making communication easy and much more.

Join our monthly activities - games nights, movie nights, dessert evenings, bowling, mini-putt – members choose fun activities at the Acorn Project base or out and about in the community.

Attend our twice-yearly weekend camps. We run two camps a year:
-   The first is our activity camp and is all about having fun and trying new things. It’s a totally inclusive, two-day, comfort zone-busting, confidence-building experience for all of our 12 - 25 year-old members.
-   The second camp is our therapeutic camp and all about the feels. You are supported and encouraged to share your cancer experience with others who get what you’re going through, and listen to their stories too. You can also pick up tips for adjusting to and coping with your new “normal”. This camp is a great way to reflect, grow and let go of things that no longer help you.

Access specialist services and support - our Acorn Project youth workers are experienced and ready to help you. Should you require extra support from a counsellor or medical professional, we can put you in touch with the right people.

Challenge yourself to continue to grow as a person and strengthen your skills and confidence as a leader. As a member you’ll have lots of opportunities to build your leadership skills; simply by helping others, getting involved in activities and sharing your story. We encourage you to reach out, and we recognise and celebrate your achievements with you.

Sessions for members aged 16+

In addition to our regular services, we organise sessions to help our older members navigate some of the tricky teen stuff; relationships, money worries, finding a job, career advice etc. We share helpful info and advice and answer questions our members have in a safe, non-judgemental environment.

Saplings - support for children under 12 years

We support children under 12 who have a main carer living with cancer or who has passed away from cancer.

We offer:

  • one activity a month for one and a half hours, with longer sessions in the school holidays

  • fun, learning through play and LOTS of arts and crafts

  • the chance for children to explore their feelings and changes at home safely with an experienced staff member who they know and trust, wherever they feel comfortable.

Support at end-of-life

If you or someone in your family moves from treatment to palliative or end-of-life care, we can support you through this time.

We’re here to provide whatever help you need, including guidance through difficult conversations about dying and funerals, and creating lasting memories and keepsakes for family to treasure.

We work with other agencies to ensure you and family feel empowered, respected, and valued.

Cancer is heavy. We can’t change the diagnosis but we can change the support you receive.


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