My life has been rather busy lately, and for a very good reason. As of mid-February I’ve been doing a volunteer work-placement with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. I’ve been putting my writing skills to good use and writing up case studies of young people who’ve previously been on programmes with the trust.

As of writing this I’ve been working for a month and I felt it’s now the right time to talk about my working week. However, it’s not just a normal working week; this week happened to be one of the busiest weeks of my life. So, let’s begin!

Monday:

During a normal working week this would be the day I’m in the office working on case studies. However this week I was invited to an event the following day, so my office day was changed to then.

On the day prior to the start of a normal working week I would make sure to be organised. From my bag being packed to the clothes I’m going to wear that day. I like to reassure myself through being organised, it helps reduce my over-thinking, stress & my anxiety.

During the evening I relaxed with a cup of tea and watched Josh Groban: Stages Live on Sky Arts. Feeling excited and ready to face the next day.

Tuesday:

The day started with my journey up to London. As I didn’t need to be in the office until 11am, I took a high-speed train from my local station to St Pancras, followed by a Thames-link to London Blackfriars & then a casual walk down the South Bank to the office.

I spent my time in the office working on case studies. My job is to turn the interviews & research compiled by the research department into a personal case study about a young person who’s previously been on a programme run by the trust.

At 4pm I left the office alongside my colleague Rob Phillips (a Communications Officer at the trust) to travel to the Houses of Parliament to attend a meeting of the APPG on Youth Affairs, to discuss the topic of anxiety in relation to body image.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Youth Affairs is a group created to raise the profile and awareness of issues affecting and concerning young people in today’s society. It’s done through meetings where dialogue is encouraged between parliamentarians, young people and youth services.

(If you want to read more about the APPG; click here)

The Houses of Parliament were amazing to behold, I was in complete awe of the place. So much history inside one building and I got to be a part of it in some way.

After getting through security, we made our way through various rooms, corridors & up several flights of stairs we got to the room where the meeting was taking place. By the time the meeting began at least 100 young people were in the room.

It was great the represent the trust & to be invited by Elly Virgo (the Area Manager for London/Kent/Essex at the trust). Being in a room full of bright young people talking about important issues in today’s society was very inspiring for me.

Anxiety in relation to body image is a very deep subject. The young people discussed the role of social media, the influence of ‘celebrity culture’ as well as education & how things could be improved. Some of the young people in the room even told their own personal stories about how body image anxiety has affected them through talking about bullying & dealing with mental health issues.

The meeting got me thinking about how education should play a role in improving body image anxiety in young people. I remember having sex education in primary school aged 10. Why not add to it education about positive body image, sexuality & mental health? These are the things I learnt about during my teenage years, yet in today’s society young people need to be educated sooner than that. They need to know that they’re not alone in their problems.

I left that meeting with lots of thoughts running through my head. During the 1 & half hours of discussions, I took it all in. Hearing people’s thoughts about the topic at hand. We all agreed with this thought about anxiety in relation to body image;

It’s not about your body. It’s about the change you make in the world. Difference is beautiful!

Wednesday:

After the busy day on Tuesday, you would of thought I got a lie-in. Nope. I was up bright & early on a train down to Sheerness on Sea to visit a Get On Track group on the Isle of Sheppey. I was both nervous and excited about the day ahead.

It’s been over a year since I’d finished Get On Track, and now I had an opportunity to pass on my knowledge, wisdom & experience onto other young people. It also gave me the chance to catch up with my athlete mentor and friend; Michelle Griffith Robinson.

I was met by Ben Ryder (a Community Development Officer at Swale Community Leisure Ltd), who helps to run the programmes for the young people efficiently alongside the athlete mentors. And within 10-15 minutes I was inside the sports centre, in front of the small group of 11 young people ready to work.

So, I told them my story. I told them about my experience of Get On Track and how my life had changed for the better because of it. I told them about what I’d been doing since I’d finished Get On Track, from the volunteer work at the British Heart Foundation to my current work with the trust & my exciting APPG on Youth Affairs meeting the day prior at the Houses of Parliament.

I also gave the young people some advice;

It’s one thing to go through Get On Track, yet another to take part and put the work/effort into the programme and in turn be willing to change your life for the better.

Once introductions were finished, the group got stuck into the day’s activities. They worked on creating personal profiles and improving CVs as well as doing sporting activities such as Badminton, Table Tennis and Squash.

Whilst observing the group I had the task of taking photos and creating posts on social media. During lunch I had the opportunity to interview a few of the young people about their experience of the programme so far to possibly do a follow up case study about them in the future.

Every story I heard was unique, yet they all had something in common; social isolation. These young people as well as many young people in today’s society need the support from organisations like the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust more than ever before. They need to know that they’re not alone in their problems and things can get better.

I left the group that afternoon feeling a mixture of inspiration, nostalgia and hope. The thought of being in the same shoes of them over a year ago, knowing that these young people want to make a difference in their lives & being inspired by them as well as realising that with telling my story, I was making a difference in other people’s lives too.

(If you’d like to see more about what I was doing during that day; click here)

By the time I got home I had a few hours to rest before I was out off to spend the evening doing something I enjoy; Dungeons & Dragons.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a table-top RPG where a group of people create characters and work together as a team to go on adventures & defeat monsters using pencil/paper, a set of dice and your own imagination. I’ve been playing for around 6 months now and it’s amazing. It gives me a sense of escapism, a break from any worries/stress I have during the day & I can be whoever I want to be for at least a few hours.

After an evening of D&D I got home and went to bed. Getting a decent night’s sleep and ready for the next day.

Thursday:

I had no plans until late afternoon. The excitement and business of the past 2 days were catching up to me in the form of tiredness and exhaustion. I ended up spending the majority of the morning/afternoon resting and catching up on my social media.

On normal days where I had no plans I’d usually be working on writing up a case study or a piece for my blog, yet today I knew I shouldn’t push myself too much and took a break from work.

I travelled into town and before my meeting I decided to treat myself. I went to my local comic book store, Get Ready Retro and picked up the comic Rat Queens to enjoy during my free time.

Afterwards I headed to the coffee shop to meet with my mentor Frances. Last year through The Prince’s Trust Talent Match programme, I was given a mentor to help and support me through being unemployed by talking through goals for the future & working on my CV to apply for jobs.

(If you want to know about The Prince’s Trust Talent Match programme; click here)

We spent some time over cups of tea catching up with what I’ve been up to, from my work at the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to my busy week of events. It’s great having someone there to support me & talk about what’s going through my mind, not just work but personal stuff as well.

Once my meeting was finished we scheduled the next one for a month’s time and said our farewells. I went home and relaxed for the rest of the evening, knowing that my busy week was almost over.

Friday & The Weekend:

The rest of the week went by very quickly. I spent the time resting, catching up on social media and seeing my family as well as my boyfriend & his family. Spending time with people I care about is just what I needed after one of the busiest weeks of my life.

However, I wouldn’t be resting for long. Soon I’d be packing my bags again to begin the next week. Back in the office, and back to work.