WITH the North East experiencing unseasonably high temperatures, Gateshead based charity FACT has launched a new campaign to encourage children to stay safe in the sun.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with UV exposure being the main preventable cause*. FACT (Fighting All Cancers Together) is on a mission to educate children in the region to minimise the risk by visiting primary schools free of charge to engage pupils in fun interactive sessions to help them learn about the importance of staying safe in the sun and encourage them to be self-aware.

The interactive ‘Safe in the Sun’ sessions, delivered by the FACT team, include teaching the children and staff about the importance of wearing sunscreen, remaining hydrated through drinking enough water, and seeking shade during hot periods of the day.

Joanne Smith, founder and CEO at FACT, said: “Our ‘Safe in the Sun’ presentation is one of the many Education and Awareness Programmes which we offer in the region, to help children and adults in the community. We deliver the session to small groups or whole school assemblies, and can provide sessions for any age group.

“It’s incredibly important for children to learn about the effects the sun can have on you from an early age. We want our children to grow up into responsible adults who have a respect and understanding of the dangers of sun damage, while still being able to have fun in the sunshine.

“As well as providing extended learning material, we also encourage children to take the message home with them to their families. With May being Skin Cancer Awareness month too, it’s timely for as many people as possible to help spread the word, and teach those who aren’t aware of the dangers of UV exposure.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback from teachers and parents, where it’s been noticed that children have gone to school on sunny days with sunscreen on and a hat, which was not the norm before.”

FACT’s Top Five Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun:

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible when it’s at its strongest (between 12pm and 3pm)
  • Use a sun block of factor 20 or more. Apply a good covering and reapply regularly 
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re exercising or being active 
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses. Look for some that protect you from 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light
  • Wear appropriate clothing such as t-shirts and sun hats, and make sure vulnerable areas like shoulders and ears are protected 

To celebrate the charity’s 10th birthday, the ‘Safe in the Sun’ programme is offered free of charge to any school that holds a dress down day or fundraising event to benefit FACT.

For further information or if you’d like to arrange a ‘Safe in the Sun’ session with FACT, contact 0191 442 0833 or email info@fact-cancersupport.co.uk.

*http://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/SkinInformation/SkinCancer.aspx