Over the past 2-3 months I’ve been volunteering as ‘Case Studies & Impact Volunteer’ at the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. As I start writing this I’m into my final days of my placement, I now feel as though it’s the right time to talk about some of my highlights during my time at the Trust.

APPG On Youth Affairs Meeting At The Houses Of Parliament:

It was a wonderful experience representing the Trust and being at the Houses of Parliament in a room full of other like-minded young people talking about topics that affect them in today’s society. The evening was spent in deep debate, talking about anxiety in relation to body image and how social media as well as ‘celebrity culture’ influences young people’s confidence & how they see themselves.

You can read more about my experience of that day here.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust/Southeastern Partnership Media Event At Cafe 1809:

At the end of March I went with Rochelle & Richard (members of the Communications team) over to Cafe 1809, a cafe in Hildenborough created by Dame Kelly Holmes to help promote the partnership between the Trust & Southeastern.

On the day Dame Kelly Holmes accepted on behalf of the Trust a £20,000 donation from Southeastern. This money will help towards funding future Get on Track programmes.

It was great to see the media/press day side of work the Trust does. I was involved in taking photos & creating content for the Trust’s social media pages, some of my pictures/tweets even got published onto their Twitter page.

You can read the press release of the event here.

Case Study Work With Get On Track Sheppey:

As part of my work with the Trust I had the opportunity to work with some of the young people taking part in a Get on Track programme on the Isle of Sheppey.

Being able to tell them my story, how I used to be on a Get on Track programme and because of the support from the Trust things have gotten better for me. I told them that if you’re willing to put in the effort, Get on Track can help you change your life for the better.

During my time at the Trust I was able to meet the GOT Sheppey group 2 times, once during their 2nd week of the programme & then again at their GO event.

The first day I was with the group I interviewed some of them about themselves, what they were doing before the programme & how Get On Track was going for them so far. Also during that day I observed the group, took photos and created posts for social media.

The second day I was with the group was at their GO event around a month later. Things had certainly changed over those few weeks since I’d last seen them; the group was smaller and yet what I noticed about them was how united they were. The mood/atmosphere around the group was very relaxed, yet they still had the enthusiasm to get things done.

During that day I was able to catch up with 2 out of the 4 people I interviewed initially for my case studies (Tazz & Dave). It was nice to see how far they’d come since the beginning of GOT, they’re now feeling more confident in themselves and are able to take on more challenges in their lives.

One of my favourite things about that day was being able to catch up with my Get On Track athlete mentors (Michelle Griffith-Robinson & Jimmy Corbett). I’d spoken with Michelle when I previously saw the GOT Sheppey group, yet I hadn’t seen/spoken to Jimmy since finishing my Get On Track programme over a year ago.

I spent the evening watching the GOT Sheppey group’s GO event and had dinner with Michelle & Jimmy, catching up on old times and telling them about what I’d been doing since finishing Get On Track. I went home that evening full of hope and nostalgia, yet also happiness that through my work I was somehow inspiring others to improve their lives for the better.

Being A Judge For TCS ‘The Spark Challenge’:

I was fortunate enough to be invited to be on the judging panel for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) ‘The Spark Challenge’, a competition inviting students to come up with creative ideas of using technology to address the issue of loneliness in young people.

Me alongside my work-colleague Richard Faulkner (Head of Communications and Public Affairs) and 3 other people were tasked to judge the finalists who came from across the UK to show us their ideas (one of the finalists was a team of 2 girls who woke up at 4am to travel from Glasgow to London to be there on the day).

All the ideas shown that day to tackle loneliness in young people were amazing and very innovative. Me and the judging panel had a very difficult time deciding on the winners, yet after some deep discussion we figured it out. Also it was decided that I would announce the winners.

I was somewhat nervous, especially since I’m not great with public-speaking. However after having a brief moment to calm myself I announced the winners & presented them with their prizes the best I could. Afterwards, everyone was impressed with how well I did. I was just as amazed & proud of myself because even though I was nervous, I did it anyway.

Overall the day was wonderful. It was great to see young people with creative and innovative ideas, who are also passionate about changing the world and making their dreams a reality.

Before the day of events finished there was a photo-shoot and you can see one of the silly photos from that here.

Writing Case Studies & Being In The Office:

These past few months of adventures & work have been so amazing and wonderful for me. Having somewhere I can use my writing skills to make a difference through writing up case studies about fellow young people like myself, who’ve changed their lives for the better because of the support they had on the Trust’s programmes.

I’m eternally thankful to Rochelle, Richard, Rob (the Communications team) and everyone else in the London office for being so kind, welcoming and letting me use my writing skills as a force for good.

In today’s society we need more people to support and be an inspiration to others. I hope that by continuing my work & now being a representative for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, I can at least be a positive voice amongst the noise of the world.

Even as I finish writing this I’ve recently been on national radio talking about loneliness in young people, you can listen to my interview here.

I leave my volunteer placement with a heavy heart, yet inspired with knowing I’m a little closer to figuring out my future career-wise. I’d usually feel nervous about my future, but for once in my life I’m excited about what’s next for me.