Making a Difference Spotlight Canteen Aotearoa on the NZ Compare Website
Nov 30, 2023

NZ Compare is proud to announce Canteen Aotearoa as a finalist in the Making a Difference Award.

NZ Compare’s Annual Awards celebrates excellence and innovation in New Zealand across a range of telecommunications, utilities and finance industries. Canteen Aotearoa has been selected as a finalist for NZ Compare’s Making a Difference Award. This award acknowledges the pioneers and leaders who are making a positive change in communities and inspiring others to follow their example. It is a tough time for Kiwis. So it is important that we celebrate those who are making steps to help communities and individuals. Canteen has long since led the way in supporting youth, rangatahi, through their experience with cancer. 

Who is Canteen Aotearoa?

Thousands of youth are affected by cancer each year – whether that’s through their own diagnosis and treatment, or a family member. It can be a lonely and isolating experience. Canteen are there to ensure that rangatahi do not go through it alone. This non-for-profit organisation relies on public donations and support so they can provide free vital, supportive services to 13-24 year olds. Adolescence is a critical time in growth and development, both neurologically, socially and emotionally. Experiences during these years mould and shape how an individual responds to and interacts with the world in their adulthood. It is vital that young people experiencing the impacts of cancer have evidence-based support systems such as peer support groups, therapy, therapeutic programs and youth development. Canteen provides these services across Aotearoa so that rangatahi anywhere can access these resilience promoting and emotional support services. 

How are They Making a Difference?

Canteen Aotearoa are paving the way in providing holistic psychosocial care to youth who are experiencing cancer in their lives. They tackle the complex and multi-layered challenges that our youth may face when experiencing cancer. They understand that our youth need access to emotional, social, educational support to improve their quality of life during such a distressing time. 

Many of our young Kiwis living with cancer experience psychological distress.Canteen’s Clinical Team provides convenient and easily-accessible support to our rangatahi to help them navigate through the mental and emotional challenges that often come with cancer. Another primary strategic pillar is the Rangatahi Development, which focuses on equipping and bolstering our youth with social and leadership skills, empowering them to navigate adversities and giving them the tools to establish a fulfilling life. 

Robots Project is another innovative launch from Canteen, which allows rangatahi experiencing treatment to still attend classes and meet their friends for lunch breaks. This is all possible with our telepresence robots, which help youth remain connected with their peers and engage with education. This technology reduces the chance of them falling behind academically and losing touch with friends, ultimately helping to prevent loneliness and isolation as much as possible. 

Canteen Connect is an app that allows specialised online support, eliminating geographical barriers, and elevating convenience and comfort, as rangatahi can access online support from their couch at home. They can also connect with other rangatahi affected by cancer. 

How Can We See Canteen Aotearoa’s Positive Change?

The Canteen Clinical Team has helped make a profound positive change in the lives of our rangatahi. Through 2022 and 2023, of rangatahi who sought support, there was a 55% decrease in the number of rangatahi who were at risk of developing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Canteen have also received direct feedback from rangatahi through surveys and evaluations, 87% of whom said their mental health had improved since using the service. Another 84% said they were better equipped to tackle and navigate their challenges.

Many of their patients have said that the resource has been invaluable to their well being/ Hauora whilst navigating the mental health problems that tend to come along with cancer experiences.

Canteen Aotearoa measures their success through quantitative data analysis which provides metrics that help Canteen track the reach and utilisation of their services. They also use qualitative methods designed to assess impact, which help Canteen understand how their support services are making a positive change in individuals. Patient feedback and testimonials are another crucial pillar of understanding the success of their services through a more personal, humanistic lens. .

The Positive Change in Our Backyard

Canteen Aotearoa has been a monumental charitable organisation, leading the way in providing evidence-based psychosocial support to our rangatahi who are impacted by the often devastating and distressing effects of cancer. Canteen’s holistic and youth-focused approach has not only helped raise awareness, but has elevated the quality of life for those most impacted and given them the tools to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and establish positive futures. 

NZ Compare is proud to announce Canteen as a finalist in the Making a Difference Award. NZ Compare takes pride in making a positive difference in the everyday lives of Kiwis. 

If you or someone you know is making a difference, be sure to enter the 2024 Awards.