A year since the start of my Team v adventure

It was a year ago that I was on the train to London for Team v’s welcome and induction day, how quickly has that gone? After only completing my interview two days before I was caught up in a whirlwind of excitement and it hadn’t quite sunk in that I had been successful. To get to the point where I was accepted was a success in itself for me and did not come easily.

Fast forward a year to now and I am happier, healthier and more confident than I could ever have imagined a year ago. I’ve completed tasks I never thought I would able to do such as running workshops in schools and talking on the radio. In the past year I’ve visited London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Coventry and Swindon.

This new found confidence has helped in all areas of my life. Academically, Team v has helped me to progress too. I am now studying a Health and Social Care course, I will be taking part in a 3 day first aid course which starts tomorrow and next week I begin my BSL course. This wouldn’t have been possible without the Team v Scholarship. I am happier than I have ever been, partly down to all of the amazing opportunities I’ve taken part in and also because of allowing myself to feel the love my family have for me.

Volunteering wise, I have taken part in residential camps for children with serious illnesses and with children who are deafblind. Both of these have been inspiring and I can’t wait to volunteer later this year with some similar organisations. My CV is now full of experience and finding new opportunities is so much easier.

I think it is important to look at how far you’ve come occasionally. It’s too easy to get caught up in chasing your dreams that you forget to look at how much has changed already. A big thank you has to go to my amazing family, I wouldn’t be doing what I am now without their support and encouragement. As well as the Team v staff who believed in me and supported me throughout the programme.

Next week I will be taking part in vInspired Ambassador training. This is something I am very excited about and will be writing more about over the upcoming weeks. I have loads of new and exciting opportunities over the next few months and I am sure this next year will be even better than the last.

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Do what scares you!

Hey! Team v Leaders…

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while and now seems like the right time 🙂

If you’ve seen my social media pages you will see how much I like an inspiring quote or article. My wish for this blog post is that you, YES YOU! start to see just how amazing you are.

During the #DoYouCare? Campaign and more recently in my own life I have started to do things that scare me and take me out of my comfort zone. You know, when you feel like there is no possible way something is going to work out and then guess what? It works out amazingly and you spend the rest of your day, or week even, wondering why you were so worried in the first place!

Personally I am talking about my school workshops in front of over 50 students at a time then more recently spending my first night in hospital ever, by myself. But I am pretty sure right now that you have something in your mind that you are so happy and proud that you have achieved.

So this campaign, Swing the Vote, I think we should all challenge ourselves. As this is not only our last campaign but also Team v’s last campaign too we really need to go all out. Why don’t we all do something that scares us or pushes us completely out of our comfort zone? It doesn’t have to be something that is huge to everyone else, just a little personal challenge. I know if you’d asked me this at the start of the year it would have been to make a phone call to someone. Something most people do every single day but terrified me!

I know I have learnt so much already by stepping out of my comfort zone and know you will too ❤ Why not write below what it is and my guarantee to all of you is that it will be worth it. This way we can all support each other even more.

Remember – You are amazing 🙂


Take time to reflect

2015 seems to be flying by and I can’t believe we are in the middle of April already! I feel like I am a different person than when I started this year and over the next few months I will hopefully keep growing.

It’s always good to stop and appreciate things. It’s all too easy to feel like you are getting nowhere when actually we are all doing amazingly 🙂 Each and every one of us is so important and I can promise you that people around you are proud of you.

So what have I done this year?

  • Do You Care? Campaign – I’ve led a team of volunteers, ran school workshops and spoke on the radio.
  • Sent volunteer application forms off – I am very lucky to have been accepted on to one new volunteering programme, have an interview for 2 others and to have received feedback for those applications I wasn’t successful on this time round (I will be trying again!).
  • My first ever stay in hospital – I am very lucky to have the support from my family and friends who help me to get better each and every day. Thank you if you’re one of them ❤
  • Developed friendships and spent lots of time with my family, especially over Easter weekend.
  • Swing the Vote campaign – Check out my blog posts here for more information about this amazing campaign.

I’m also excited about the next few months and what they will bring. There will be lots of changes, some of which I’m really looking forward to and others I wish could be different. But I know that I am incredibly grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had so far and those I have coming up very soon.

What are you most proud of right now? Why not share it below 🙂


My first ever school workshop!

What do you get when you multiply anything by 250?    A school workshop of course!!

Or at least that is what it felt like last week in the run up to my workshop! Everything wasn’t counted into groups of ten, twenty, fifty or even a hundred but a massive 250.

When I accepted a local secondary schools offer of speaking to all 250 Year 7 students I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves. I went into the meeting expecting to do maybe two or three workshops of around 30 students in each… how wrong was I!

In fact it turned out to be 4 workshops, an hour in length each with the smallest class being 50 students. But prep for 250 students is the same as prep for 30 students right? Wrong! So very wrong!

The day before the workshops I was still going over any potential questions I could be asked, putting the addresses into the Do You Care? booklets, sticking sticky notes to all of the worksheets and printing. The printing felt like it was never going to end, as did the bits of sticky tape I was cutting off to stick the addresses into the booklets! I was determined that just because I was speaking to a high number of students that they would get the same level of workshop and resources as if I was speaking to a much smaller group.

Here are a few photos that explain the day before better than words:

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But if I could go back would I change it? Not at all. I loved everything about it, the preparation, the adrenaline the morning before leaving for the school, walking around the house listening to music at 6.30am when I’m normally fast asleep, spending time and sharing the day with other Team v volunteers, mentors and staff… everything about the day really 🙂

Knowing that I’ve passed my knowledge of young carers onto those students makes every moment worth it. If it wasn’t for Team v and this opportunity then those 250 students probably wouldn’t have thought about young carers that day.

Hearing one young person saying they weren’t aware of their local support service since moving but were now going to contact them and many other students open up about past and current experiences. That is why I do what I do. It’s why I love Team v. It is also why programmes like Team v are so important, not just for those volunteering but for the huge impact they have on communities and local organisations.

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I pledge to show I care by…

Over the next few weeks Team v Stoke South will be running many events to raise awareness of young carers and the support available to them across Stoke on Trent.

Many people have asked how they can get involved. One of the easiest ways you can show your support for this campaign is by pledging to show you care. But how do you do this? It’s so easy!

You can simply write a post on social media saying ‘I pledge to show I care by…   #doyoucare’ including what it is that you will do to show you care. Or send me a private message to evie.hibbitt@vinspired.com or on Facebook/Twitter (@EHibbitt) and I can share on your behalf 🙂

There are many ways to show you care for example:

  • Making someone a cup of tea
  • Smiling at a stranger or a friend
  • Talking to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
  • Cooking a meal for someone
  • Giving someone your time and attention

These are just a few simple ways you can show you care in your day to day activities. This is something that will be happening at all of my events and I will be posting pictures to Team v Stoke South’s Facebook page so be sure to check back over the next few weeks.

Please help spread the word about the amazing work of young carers and our Do You Care? Campaign 🙂

A Telephone Call…

Sometimes it can be the smallest of things that make you realise just how much your life has changed over the past few weeks, months or even years. For me this came in the form of a phone call last week with my Team v YNC.

But lets rewind a little so that this makes more sense to you all. Put simply – I used to HATE talking on the phone. I don’t even like talking to my family on the phone. I think it is the immediate response, that you must react to what the other person is saying straight away. You can’t see their reaction or have time to think about what you’ve just said and how it has been received by them.

The thought of talking on the phone has never been a happy one for me. Nor was the idea or talking in public, in front of anyone, even a small group. But as part of Team v, and life in general, these are things I HAVE to develop if I want to become a more confident and happier person. So that is exactly what I am doing 🙂

Last week I spoke to my YNC for half an hour on the phone. A whole 30 minutes (and 16 seconds… it’s those little seconds that all added up!) of talking about the campaign and asking each other how we were. It was the first time that I can ever remember being so excited waiting for a phone call as I couldn’t wait to share the happy news of my campaign. Once the phone call was over I had the biggest smile on my face. Not only did I achieve my personal goal of being able to have a proper telephone conversation without being a big mess of nerves but I was happy and reasonably confident whilst doing so.

Then yesterday I met with the development worker for Stoke on Trent’s Boys Brigade. They run a local youth session for young carers and I knew we would be able to work together on this ‘Do You Care?‘ campaign. Our meeting went really well and I think I was able to talk more clearly than I did when I met with Stoke on Trent Foodbank in my first campaign (Beyond a Tin of Food).

I have challenged myself this campaign more than ever. I will be running workshops which involve talking in front of 5o Year 7 students, running events at a Sixth Form, my local YCMA and two Youth clubs where I will be talking to many young people and I will also be speaking on a local Radio station early in March.

This is basically a long winded way of saying that personal achievements can come in all shapes and sizes. Remember that they are all important to firstly recognise and secondly, to celebrate.

If you want things to change then you firstly have to decide that you are ready to allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Yes, it is incredibly scary, I’m not going to lie to you. But I promise you it is so worth it – always. Decide that you want to throw yourself at all those little things that scare you, one at a time. To all of the Team v leaders, I know that things may not always go according to plan but always remember you are amazing and we’re all achieving so much 🙂

I believe that if we all take a moment to look back on how much you’ve personally grown over the past year then you will amaze yourselves. So what’s stopping you? Do it now 🙂


Random Acts of Kindness #doyoucare

As part of the ‘Do You Care?’ Campaign I am currently part of I will be asking people ‘What do you do to show you care?’. Showing you care about someone can be something as small as smiling at them as you walk past them in the morning, making someone a cup of tea or writing them a letter. Simply saying Thank You to someone can brighten their day.

So, as part of this campaign I challenge you to complete one Random Act of Kindness between the 9th and 28th February. This could be absolutely anything that makes someone smile or shows them you care about them. This can be towards someone you know or a complete stranger. Then post a photo, video or even just a short status post about what you’ve done on a social media platform of your choice including the hashtag #doyoucare.

Over the  next few weeks I will be posting ideas of Random Acts of Kindness you could perform but of course you could do absolutely anything.

There are more than 166,000 young carers in the UK and there are thought to be many more unrecognised, not accessing the support they need. A very simple random act of kindness could be writing a message of support to young carers and sharing it online. Your happy message could make the difference to someones day 🙂

Between 9th and 15th February it is International Random Acts of Kindness Week (#RAKWeek2015), see here for more details. You could help our ‘Do You Care?’ campaign reach people internationally simply by tweeting your act of kindness along with both #RAKWeek2015 #doyoucare – it really is that easy!

Happiness is infectious and you’ll probably find once you start recognising how you care for someone that you’ll want to do it even more! You are amazing – now go out there and make someone smile 🙂


Do You Care? Team v Campaign

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Team v’s second campaign is called ‘Do You Care?’ and aims to raise awareness of young carers and the support available to them.

There are more than 166,000 young carers in England but there are believed to be many more hidden from view, not accessing the support available to them. Team v, along with The Children’s Society aim to raise awareness through school workshops and events as part of the ‘Care to Join Us’ weekend.

Check out the campaign video below:

So, what can YOU do to help?

It’s very easy to get involved, from writing a message or filming a short video of support for young carers and posting it online with #doyoucare. You could make a pledge to do something to show you care (check out my Random Act of Kindness post here) or pledge to learn more about young carers.

If you are between 18 and 25 why not join your local Team v Leader and become more actively involved in the campaign itself? You can find your local leader here. Many leaders will be running workshops in Secondary schools, Colleges and Universities as well as running events over the Care to Join Us weekend at the end of February.

The Children’s Society and The Carers Trust also have many ideas on their websites about how you could help raise awareness of young carers.

Living in Stoke on Trent?

If you live in Stoke on Trent and would like to be involved in this campaign please contact Evie at evie.hibbitt@vinspired.com for more information. We have many events coming up over the Care to Join Us weekend (27th & 28th February) across the city.

How much do you know about young carers? Check out quiz here: https://vinspired.com/doyoucare

Team v Resi 2

Over the past weekend I took part in  Team v’s second residential. Team v’s first residential was so good and inspiring that I didn’t think it was possible for this one to be any better. But it definitely was!

Before going I felt a mix of emotions, I was really looking forward to the big campaign reveal but was also nervous about spending a weekend away on crutches. I would like to say a massive thank you to every leader, mentor and staff member that helped me this weekend, from opening doors to carrying food/bags/coats, asking if I was alright and everything in between. Your energy and enthusiasm is what kept me going and it was the best weekend away I’ve had in a long time 🙂

There is something very special about these residentials. Being surrounded by over 100 passionate young people who all want to make a difference in the world in some way. We are all unique and have our own ideas and thoughts about how to do this, but what unites us all is the passion for volunteering. From the moment you reach Rugby station you feel part of something special, Team v is like a second family.

Everyone supports each other, we all want everyone to be the best version of themselves that they can be. You feel included, wanted, inspired, cared about, motivated and special. Even though there are more than 100 young people there you feel like the training has been tailored to you personally as so much of what is being said is relevant to yourself.

I could talk for hours about Team v and why it is helping to make me the person I am today but I’ll leave that for another day! For now, lets reveal the latest campaign…

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Do You Care?

Do You Care? (#doyoucare) is a campaign to raise awareness of Young Carers and the challenges they face as well the support available to young carers and their families. Do You Care? is taking place across England by Team v leaders and volunteers, as part of the youth charity vInspired. There are more than 166,000 known young carers in the UK, but there are many more who are not receiving support.

Over the weekend we received some fantastic training from Team v staff and mentors, The Children’s Society, Rethink Mental Illness and Citizens UK. We heard a very moving life story from Jen (@yourbookbegins) about the realities of being a young carer as well as an inspiring story, known as the starfish story, which I will share later in the week.

As part of this campaign I will be running a workshop in a secondary school or youth group – the thought of which terrifies me at the moment. But I know this fear of speaking in front of a group of people will never go unless I face it head on. Over the upcoming weeks I will share my planning, thoughts and how it went on this blog, so be sure to check back to see how it goes.

Over Friday 27th and Saturday 28th February leaders from across the UK will be running a ‘Care to Join Us’ weekend. There will be events of all kinds taking place, if you’d like to find out what your local leader is up to get in touch with Team v by visiting vinspired.com/doyoucare or myself on evie.hibbitt@vinspired.com.

Wishing all of the Team v leaders the best of luck with this campaign. Each and every one of you are amazing and I can’t wait to see this campaign taking shape 🙂