CHECT in the community

Childhood Eye Cancer Trust - Regional Meet-Up
Matt (far left) with CHECT members at the North regional meet-up

CHECT’s new Development Manager Matt Croxall talks about his new role and how he plans to further the work of the charity by reaching out to regional communities.

Hi, I’m Matt and I have joined CHECT in the brand new role of Development Manager. It’s early days and I’m currently still going through my induction but I can’t wait to get stuck in and to help CHECT continue to provide excellent support for many years to come.

My role is going to be incredibly varied but will mainly consist of raising the profile of the charity throughout the UK, increasing awareness of Rb and those all important signs and symptoms, and building relationships with our amazing network of supporters and volunteers.

Moving on from the vampire
My first job in the ‘not-for-profit’ sector was as a marketing assistant for NHS Blood & Transplant, where it was my job to persuade people that by becoming a blood donor, they could help to save a life. Generally people were very receptive but understandably the thought of anything to do with blood did really worry some people. I lost count of how many times I got called a ‘vampire’!

My most recent role has been as deputy community support manager for Meningitis Now (formerly the Meningitis Trust). There for nearly eight years, I supported families from all over the UK with a wide range of issues following their experience of this devastating disease. Although Rb is obviously a very different condition, I hope my experience and knowledge of the kinds of difficulties that families face after a serious illness will prove very useful in my new role with CHECT.

The importance of volunteers
During my time working for Meningitis Now, I was also responsible for recruiting community volunteers and young ambassadors. These supporters were involved in organising local support events, campaigning, fundraising and providing peer support to other people who’d had a similar experience. This is the sort of important work that I’ll now be co-ordinating with CHECT.

Volunteers and supporters are the life-blood of any charity and the groups and individuals that I have worked with in the past have been invaluable in making sure the charity’s aims have been met. For instance, if it hadn’t have been for our volunteers getting behind our prolonged and concentrated Beat it Now campaign at Meningitis Now, it is unlikely that we would have seen the recent introduction of a life-saving vaccine into the childhood immunisation programme. As families affected by Rb, you really can make a massive difference too!

What will I be doing?
Although I’ll be visiting the CHECT office regularly, I am based in Warwickshire and therefore more able to travel throughout our regions in order to meet more of our members, ambassadors and volunteers. As a small charity, it’s a real challenge to get your voice heard in a fiercely competitive market, but it’s my hope that I’ll be able to play a big part in making sure that we get our key messages across and that we help parents and professionals to spot the signs of Rb sooner.

Childhood Eye Cancer Trust - Beyond Rb Meet-up
Beyond Rb get-together in Cambridge

I’ll be trying to give people more opportunities to become involved with the work of CHECT and encouraging our members to stay in touch with CHECT throughout their lives with the help of our work with teenagers and our Beyond Rb group.

Meeting our supporters face-to-face is going to be really important for me, and I really want to create opportunities for anyone to get involved in CHECT’s work out in the community if they would like to. My main aim is to create a real ‘regional community’ working with the charity to help raise awareness, funds and support each other. The best way for us to make a real difference will be to make the most of the amazing variety of volunteers and ambassadors we have, and I’m sure that we can work together to make a huge impact.

Let’s get together!
A big part of my role will also be organising our regional meet-ups so I’m looking forward to seeing more and more of you in person during the next few months. Please come along to one of these days if you can, or make sure that you visit the CHECT blog event page or FaceBook page to find out other regional events in the future.

Childhood Eye Cancer Trust
CHECT champions pictured at the South East regional Meet-up in March

I’m also going to be helping to organise CHECT’s first ever weekend away for teenagers. I have been responsible for a similar weekend at a previous charity and it really was one of the best events I’ve ever been involved in. I really want to get our teens and young adults engaged with our charity as much as possible, so please get in touch for more details and to see whether this fabulous opportunity could be suitable for you or a teen in your family.

Bring it on!
I’m extremely excited about my new role with the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust. The staff are fantastic and I’m already struck by the incredible support we receive from our members. It’s such a fantastic cause to be able to support and I’m very proud to have become part of the team.
I’ll be getting in touch with several of you soon and I hope to meet many of you and your families in person at one of our upcoming meet-ups. In the meantime though, feel free to drop me a line at or call on 07821 649965. It would be great to hear from you.

Bye for now, Matt.

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