SunSmart will target the young

Cancer Research UK has linked up with Boots, Homebase and BAA Airports for its 2005 SunSmart campaign, which began last week.

The campaign, one of the biggest on the charity calendar, is funded by a £500,000 grant from the Department of Health. This year's initiative will focus on educating young adults in the 16-24 age range on the dangers of over-exposure to the sun.

"We are glad to be involved with companies that are committed to responsible retailing," said campaign manager Jo Viner Smith.

Outdoor wear company Craghoppers, supporter of the project for the past two years, is not involved in 2005. It has refocused its efforts in Asian tsunami-hit areas, where many of the factories that produce its goods are based. Virgin, which backed the initiative in 2004, is not involved this time.

Boots is promoting the campaign message in its stores and magazine. It is also aiming to raise £100,000 by selling badges with sun-safe advice and donating funds from the sale of its Christmas cards. The firm is also supporting community-led SunSmart projects with £62,000.

Homebase will put posters in its stores promoting sun awareness and broadcast adverts on its in-store radio. BAA will put information on its website.

"Linking up with big high-street names is an important route for us in terms of raising awareness of SunSmart, because they can deliver key health messages to our target audience," said Viner Smith.

To target 16-to-24 year-olds, the charity is writing to local education authorities' healthy school and personal social and health education representatives to inform them about the charity's SunSmart school policy guidelines.

Cancer Research UK is also offering free curriculum and teacher resources to schools on the SunSmart website. The charity is running a SunSmart School of the Year award and a SunSmart Me competition for schools, with sunshades as prizes. An interactive online game and a postcard campaign in schools and sports clubs will spread the message.

The charity is also distributing SunSmart promotional material through GPs, dermatologists and other health professionals, and is targeting the public at sporting and music events this summer.

Cancer Research UK is working with the Welsh Assembly on rolling out a series of sun awareness pilot schemes through local councils.

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