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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Day 1/100 of Summer Happy

Monday was the first day of my 100 happy days of summer and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

As many of you will know I am very passionate about volunteering. This week is National Volunteers Week 2015 and it is the perfect time to reflect on many happy memories I’ve created through volunteering over the past few years.

My most recent volunteering has been with Team v. I have been running campaigns in my local community to raise awareness of food poverty, young carers and the election and politics. I have learnt so many new skills and met some amazing people, but will talk about that more in a later blog. I took some time to reflect on all of these happy memories and think about what the future may bring.

Here is a collage of some of my memories from my time as a Team v leader:

587318100 (1)In the evening I spent some time with my family which I always enjoy. My family mean everything to me and I don’t know what I would do without them! We had take out for tea, chatted about our plans for the week and what we had been up to over the weekend. Special time as always.

What has made you happy today? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂

P.S. Always remember – You are amazing!

 

How to stay political

Over the past few weeks I have been part of the Team v campaign ‘Swing the Vote’ which aimed to increase the number of young voters and raise political understanding. It is so important to remember that politics doesn’t end with the election.

Politics is so often only talked about in either the run up to the elections or in a negative way. It is vital everyone is aware of how they can stay involved and make a difference throughout the year, not just when it comes to voting.

So how can you stay political?

It is so easy! Simply write to your local MP by email, post or on social media or visit them at one of their surgeries to raise an issue that is important to you. You can share political posts on your social media pages, with friends, family & work colleagues. Why not get together with a group of like minded people and share your interest in politics and create your own change?

If you are unsure of who your local MP is please take a look here.

How am I going to stay political?

Before the start of the ‘Swing the Vote’ campaign my political knowledge was very limited! It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested, I was, but I found finding information for myself time consuming and difficult to understand. I didn’t appreciate how much politics affects my daily life. Over the past few weeks I have been very lucky to learn so much and this has inspired me to continue learning and hopefully make a difference in a small way.

This week I will be writing to my local MP and sharing what is important to me in my local community. Check back here shortly for an update on that.

I will also be running workshops in a local Secondary school and a stall in a local library to raise awareness of why political understanding is important. I will be asking young people whether or not they voted and why. I think this is so important as without knowing why someone chose to vote or not vote we cannot help educate people for when the next election arrives.

If you’d like to see what Team v leaders and volunteers have been up to during this campaign, as well as many young people, check out #swingthevote on twitter.

So, what are you waiting for? Send that tweet, write that status or email or letter, share that issue with your friends and family that has been niggling away at you since the election now 🙂

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Swing The Vote Election Day Event

Yesterday, Team v Stoke South were out and about in Stoke on Trent, encouraging young people to vote.

We ran an event at our local YMCA in Hanley and then joined their results party. This was a fantastic event, we managed to speak to many young people and also encouraged over 10 people to go and vote. We shared cake, sweets, Swing the Vote campaign booklets, leaflets and conversations about voting and the election.

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Over and over again the young people we spoke to said they didn’t feel they knew enough to vote or that they were only voting because their friends/family members were. This is just another example of just how important campaigns like this are. I am looking forward to hearing the percentage of young people who have voted, both locally and nationally as I am hopeful that this is greater than the percentage of the 2010 General Election.

Over the next few weeks I will be covering some of the responses we received from the young people. I will also be running workshops in local secondary schools & a small event in Stoke Library between 12pm and 2pm on Tuesday 19th May. This campaign, just like politics, doesn’t end once the results are finalised. It is important for everyone, young people in particular, to see how politics affects their daily lives and to ensure they know how to contact their local MP if they have any concerns.

In the evening, I went with my partner to our local polling station to vote. This was much WP_20150507_018
easier and quicker than I expected it to be. When we arrived there was nobody else there voting so we were able to cast our votes quickly. We then took a few photos and selfies outside and headed home to check out the latest updates on social media and #swingthevote on Twitter. Check back over the next few days for a post about why I voted.

Throughout the night and into the early hours of this morning I have been watching the BBC Election Results show. At the moment here are the results:

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Did you vote yesterday? What are your views on how the election has gone? Please comment below or share your views over at #swingthevote 🙂

BBC Question Time

Last Thursday night I watched BBC Question Time, for the first time ever I think! It was an Election Leaders Special, with the three party leaders David Cameron (Conservative), Ed Miliband (Labour) and Nick Clegg (Lib Dem).

If you’d told me a few months ago that I would be writing blog posts about a programme I’d watched about the election then I would have thought you were joking. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in politics, I just never really understood it and the idea of listening to 3 people talk for 90 minutes would not have been something I would have wanted to do.

But thankfully, mostly due to vInspired’s ‘Swing the Vote’ campaign, I have found a new enjoyment in politics. I am far from an expert, it was only a few weeks ago that I was constantly pausing the Leaders Debate and asking my family who was who!

What are the main points I took from the programme? Well, each leader spoke for 28 minutes and here are some of the things I found most interesting, in order of speaker.

David Cameron (Conservative) – Cameron said that the reason for A&E waiting times being outside of the recommended 4 hours was because there is too much pressure on the NHS. To combat this he would like to make GP surgeries easier to access for everyone. When asked if he would consider the moral side of the questions being asked he said he already had. That the dignity and pride that comes with being in work or apprenticeships and being able to afford to run your own home, would benefit the many.

Ed Miliband (Labour) – Miliband said he wouldn’t cut child tax credit and that there should be one rule for all when it comes to tackling tax avoidance. But the main point for me was that he said he wants a majority labour government but would rather not have a labour government than a deal or coalition with the SNP.

Nick Clegg (Lib Dem) – Clegg said that Conservative proposals on tax are unfair and he wants to stand up to their plan and demand answers on who will be hurt by these changes.

Here is a link to the programme on catch up if you missed it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05t2k80

All above views are my own 🙂

And that’s it… my final post before election day tomorrow! What a political journey I have been on over the past few weeks, learning about all the different parties, their policies and manifestos and asking PPC’s what they are going to do for young people if they are elected.

It’s now down to you to vote 🙂 Remember to share your views and voter selfies with us over at #swingthevote 🙂

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Why am I voting?

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There are many reasons I am voting tomorrow but here are ten of them.

I am voting tomorrow because…

  • The health of my family & friends is important to me. We need the NHS to be easy to access.
  • People have risked their lives to give us the chance to vote – why waste that?
  • Young people are important and do care about the future of our country.
  • I know who I would like to be elected tomorrow. Even spoiling your vote makes a bigger impact than not voting.
  • In my opinion, education should be easy to access for all. Let’s help make it that way.
  • I want there to be a true representation of our country voting, young people can change the world too!
  • Benefits help many people and are by no means an easy way out of work! Everyone deserves to be able to live a life full of happiness, regardless of their physical or mental ability & help  should be available to those who need it most.
  • This election will change your life whether you vote or not. Create change that you are proud to be part of.
  • Team v has shown me how important it is to make a difference in the world, no matter how small you think that may be.
  • I am as important as anyone else and my opinion matters, and so does yours!

Why are you voting? Let us know and share your voter selfies with us over at #swingthevote or @EHibbitt or comment below 🙂

Stoke on Trent Prospective Parliamentary Candidates

Over the past few weeks I have been contacting local prospective parliamentary candidates for Stoke on Trent as part of Team v’s ‘Swing the Vote’ campaign. I asked each candidate in Stoke on Trent South and North what they would do for young people if they were elected.
Here are their responses in no particular order:
Ruth Smeeth (Labour) –
“My focus if elected as the next Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North & Kidsgrove is to build an economy that works for everyone, with local jobs which are high-skilled and well paid, so that the next generation can stay in the city and make a proper life for them and their families.  We need to be ambitious, determined and work together as a community to build a city that works for all of us and I won’t rest until we have one.”
Luke Bellamy (Green Party) – 
“As a young person myself (24 years old), it concerns me that the turnout at general elections amongst young people are so low. We have the power to change the politics in our country by voting and speaking up about what we are concerned about in our communities and wider. If we don’t speak up, we cannot expect to be heard by those that make decisions in our country about things that concern us.
If I am elected I will endeavour to help small local businesses to thrive and make it easier to start new businesses so they can create more jobs. I would also encourage these businesses to be sustainable so there will continue to be jobs into the future. There is much work to do in our society to make it better, and few paying jobs to do it.”
Paul Roberts (Lib Dem.) – 
“I believe in talking to young people to find out what they feel they need, and then helping them to get what they want: I do not believe in telling them what they need, and I certainly do not believe in doing everything for them.”
Sean A Adams (Green Party) – 
“As a voluntary youth worker, trainer and supervisor for the last 35 plus years, through sport and outdoor pursuits I have lived through the changes our young people have had to live and contend with. All too often support is no more than lip service and as an an adult working with these young people I have personally had to offer some semblance of an answer. There are opportunities for our young people but the manner in which they are guided does not give them confidence at the moment they most need it.
We need to work as a network of local services with our businesses and training organisations. Currently from my position both in the political arena and working with a young start up business I see a lot of effort going in with not a lot of conclusion. We cannot give the young people of today the best start in the adult world where paperwork and bureaucracy is deemed more important than effect and impact.
Let us get our young people to vote this time as they, if they do so, are the majority in possible numbers of voters, let us encourage them to use their vote, this time around, for their betterance.”

Want to find out more about the campaign? Check out the video below. And remember – Thursday 7th May is Election day!!

Swing the Vote

I can’t believe Team v Leaders are already half way through the ‘Swing the Vote’ campaign! The past four weeks have gone so quickly and I thought it was about time I got this blog post written 🙂

Swing the Vote, is a short social action campaign, aimed at young people between the ages of 18 to 25. Team v Leaders across the country hope to encourage more young people to vote and increase political understanding. Check out our campaign video here:

On Thursday 7th May 2015, the UK will hold the first General Election in five years and also local elections will take place too. It is a chance for everyone to have their say on the way the country is run. During the 2010 General Election, less than half of all 18 to 24 year olds voted and we hope to change this for 2015!

So what will we be doing? Well, you can find out more about exactly what I will be doing in Stoke on Trent on my blog post here. However, there are leaders all around the country who will be running very similar events and workshops. We have already been encouraging more young people to register to vote, teaching them about their role in a democracy and asking young people to share their views on some of the issues that are most important to them and how they relate to the election.

Check out this link here to find out more information about your local Team v Leader. There will be Election day events and workshops taking place across England so why not get involved? They promise to be great fun 🙂

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 🙂

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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 🙂

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