Sunday, 2 February 2014

YMCA Humber #sleepy14.

Less than four weeks ago I decided to finally sign up to the YMCA sleepeasy 2014 in aid of raising money and awareness of youth homelessness. The money raised would be used towards bond schemes to help young people off the street and give them a chance to get their lives together. 

I waited a while to sign up as I was quite apprehensive about the actual process of raising money and actually taking part. The deal was, 'sleep rough so others don't have to' - straight to the point and people know what you're doing etc. Finally, I signed up during #HullHour one Thursday and got posting about it. Within a couple of hours I already had about £75 raised which was half of my original goal - amazing. 

I spent the next few weeks posting the link as often as I could on Twitter and occasionally on Facebook and my target just kept rising and rising. Plus, there was the occasional banter (urgh, hate that word) on Twitter between us all using the hashtag about the leader board which was fun! 

I'm not going to lie, I really thought my cardboard house was good and should have won the prize but no! :[ 

Luckily I brought plenty of cardboard and tape and even had my friend Mark to help me build my house.. no help from Jerome who KICKED my house. Ha. Although, some man who I still don't know who he was stole some of my cardboard. Holy Trinity had provided some and he just came and took some from my pile. I now have bruised hips because I didn't have a proper layer of cardboard underneath me on the night. 


As you can see I took my building very seriously.. and the finished product.. 

I added a layer of bubble wrap underneath too but I would have had more had there not been a cardboard thief around. I know I should have shared, but I just didn't want to! Haha.

Think I settled in for the night around 11pm but there were so many people around taking photos and chatting and that it was quite hard to. But it was fun! 

As you can see, me and Becky took Matt's advice to explore the church quite literally, I gave a sermon. It was half decent actually. 

By about 1am I think might have been later, I was having a temper tantrum. I'm 23 for gods sake but I was so cold and couldn't get comfy. They had to calm me with creme eggs - hahaha. It is fair to say I probably wouldn't have made it through the night without Becky, Alan and Anthony who kept me sane and really look care of me. Bless them.Plus, Sam and Kate who on Twitter were rallying support and sending messages of support were really reassuring too. 

I was being tagged in status updates left right and centre on Facebook on Friday night which was nice that so many friends were thinking of me - so thank you for that babies!

By about 4.30 I just couldn't take it any more, I was just SO cold, it had really sunk in me bones and it hurt a lot. I went to the warm room in the church and warmed up! 

Some other photos for you to enjoy from the night. 
Cheeky #sleepy14 selfie.

Photo credit; Jerome Whittingham, @photomoments

It was good fun it really was, but also really hit home why we did it. I slept rough for one night and I don't know if I could do it again, so why should others have to? 

Even a small amount helps to make a huge difference. 

To all of you who have already donated, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You're diamonds. xxxx

Stevo xo.

PS. #sleepy15 it's on. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Trip 2 2014.

My second visit back to the job centre was as predicted fine/boring/waste of my fucking time/stupid etc etc delete where applicable.

I met with my adviser, who seemed like a nice enough guy and all that but he seemed genuinely annoyed that for the Sunday date I wrote 'day of rest'. Apparently because benefits are paid in a 7 day cycle writing that is wrong because you should even be looking on a Sunday. What annoyed me is that I did look on Sunday I just needed to write that because I wanted to mix it up a bit for lolz.

So yeah, I won't be doing that again! Hahaha.

"Have you got any questions?"


"Do you need any advice on job seeking?"


Then we visited the work experience debate again. OH WHAT, YOU DID SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF!

WHAT THE HELL? We didn't spoon feed you it? No, but no YOU CAN'T DO THAT!

^^ Genuinely sick of revisiting that shit. I organised it myself you morons, I don't need you to do anything for me! Give me my money and let me be on my way!

I'm hoping I won't be there too much longer anyways because some exciting things are happening so I can sack them off hopefully! I'd hate for someone to judge me because I claim benefits, but it's clear that I am ashamed in some sense. I make a joke out of the fact I'm there to avoid the 'feeling sorry' looks.

 Plus, every time I go to walk in the job centre, I look around to make sure no one I know is around. People know I'm back there, but it's still not the same as seeing them walking into there is it?

I've got some good things going for me at the minute, all things I have put together myself. I spoke this week honestly about how I feel about university and post university life. I discussed that it was frustrating that I am a number, part of a target. 

I am not just a number. 

Tweet me if you want to chinwag... @DebStevo90.

Stevo xo

Monday, 6 January 2014

Trip 1, 2014.

I had my JSA new claim appointment today, it was really fun!

As usual, it's like trying to prove you're not a complete moron and are capable of being able to look for a job without having it bloody spoon fed to you!

Obviously I'm not thrilled to back in the JSA but it's the way it is. I was looking before I left my role at SEARCH but I didn't have loads of spare time so it's a bit pants, really. I was in the job centre today and I get the feeling that they deal with a lot of people who don't put actions into place before they attend the job centre.

I showed up with my ID, the response I got made me think that a lot of the people they see don't even make it that far. The woman I was due to see was late seeing me, annoying because I was on the meter but what can you do? I told her about it and she finished two minutes before it was up which is annoying, lucky I parked near isn't it? Urgh!

Because I want to work, and am determined to find work I have already made contact with a few companies to be able to do work experience with then. I'm due to do some work experience at the place where I have applied for a job I really want. I still want the experience even if I'm not shortlisted for an interview, I told her because I don't want it to look like I'm keeping anything from them because they find all manner of stupid fucking (sorry) reasons to stop your benefit.

She started going a bit crazy, and ringing loads of people saying that I've organised my own work experience so they'll have to get me to sign all these forms. Further to that, they'll have to contact the place I'm working to make it official, for gods sake.

You know what annoys me, I've taken the initiative to find some work experience so that I'm not claiming for very long and I get it thrown back in my bloody face! Next time, I might just wait until they force me to go on a work experience placement and become a really lazy claimer, because if you do try and get more experience you are met with questions and suspicion.

HEAVEN FORBID you actually do something for yourself. The system is wrong, all wrong. Dicks!

There is absolutely no trust. Surely, being out there getting more experience whilst still looking for a job isn't a bad thing?

Well they can get stuffed from now on, not going to give them the satisfaction of getting higher figures for their targets now. I'm doing it my way.

Always on the lookout for work experience... contact me if you have any you could offer me.


Stevo xo

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2013, time to get mushy.

This is going to be hard, because 2013 was really an extraordinary year for me, but I'm gonna go for it anyhow.

Where do I even start? 

I started at SEARCH,  it was a bit daunting at first because I didn't know anything about the organisation when I started even with an extensive online search so I was going in a bit blind but it's all good, because I was given that time to get my head around it which was nice. I also had my last appointment at the job centre (I hoped for the last time EVER, but you know nothing is certain these days) I pretty much ran out of there and did a little dance the last time I left the fag ended entrance.

I went to Windermere on my second week at work which was nice... I went there to go and meet all the other Time to Shiner's who were also funded by The Rank Foundation. I don't think I quite realised how important the next year would be and that I would make some bloody good friends too. We did some like 'team building' sort of things and learnt about our different personalities, if I'm being honest, I though it was odd as at first and wasn't quite sure what the point was, but it was interesting to consider my personality when I got back from the pack we were given. I don't think I'm quite as nice as the thing said I was though - I can be a right bitch.
Windermere bitches.

Could be in worse places couldn't I? The Windemere tourist board use this photo on their website - sweet.

The rest of January and February was pretty quiet - just spending my time getting my head around what SEARCH was about and how I was going to be working with them. I got Beyoncé tickets so that was pretty bitchin'.

March was interesting, I was offered a new job by a friend of a friend - I know how suspicious that sounds, but I assure you it was legit. I wanted to stay at my intern ship because I had committed to it and I knew that I would get so much from it. So I was offered some freelance social media work and if that went well we could look at me working with him after I finished. The next couple of months were quite 'normal' and not loads happened but was continuing to work hard with SEARCH. I also continued my volunteering because I really enjoyed it last summer - it's only working in the cafe and that, but it was nice and I loved doing it.

It felt quite nice to go on holiday, one that I had paid for myself - I can't wait for the next. Bring on 2014?

From July is where is seemed to take off and didn't stop really.

Firstly, I went to a Heat! magazine meet and great day with the different editors, which was mint/ I got the opportunity through GoThinkBig - you know how much I love them. It was a quite daunting day, but it felt good that it seemed like I had travelled the furthest to be there. Everyone else seemed to be less than an hour away! I didn't get any photos of the day... I can't find any, anyhow. Shame, it was right in the middle of summer and was glorious being in the big smoke! I rocked it as a commuter!

I saw a friend in Haven (my local pub) on Christmas Eve and he said "Oh I was driving back to Hull and I had Radio Humberside on and Peter Levy was like oh and welcome Deborah Stevenson, what the hell!" That's right - I got my soapbox. Friday Follower on Peter's last show of the summer, was a right blast. I sounded like a bit of a twat mind you, I put on my telephone voice! But it was a brilliant day all round really!

Yeah bitchesss!

So that was pretty amazing really. I got another trip to London to meet the other media people involved with Bauer which was pretty ace, was good to get to know about all the background roles that are available in the industry really. Some weren't as appealing as others but I guess you make a job what it is really! 

I loved all my trips to the big smoke this year. They didn't end in July. 

August was fooking hot, I remember spending most of it with my head in the freezer and going swimming as much as possible. 

September and October was especially busy, like really fudging busy, but my god, I wouldn't change it! 

We had the Freedom Festival in Hull at the beginning of September, I didn't see much of it as I didn't have anyone to go with but me and Mum headed out on the evening to see The 1975 take to the main stage.. and boy was I glad. Such a fabulous band to see live! An amazing night. I always go on about them on Twitter, but their album is genuinely one of my faves ever! It's so catchy and good! Seriously, even if just stream it off spotify, LISTEN

Me and my Mamma. 

I was invited to Blackpool to The Rank Foundation 60th anniversary celebrations which was amazing, but I was also asked to help make a film about the different people who have worked for, with and alongside Rank over the past 60 years. It was really interesting meeting so many people and getting to know faces. I did my own clip, I was so nervous that I'm pretty sure I said shit on camera, hopefully they'll be able to edit that out. 

It's like I said earlier, I didn't realise that some of the interns from my Time 2 Shine intern ship would become people I would call friends for life! 

Anna and Rosie are really friends for life. Had so much fun with them at all our different T2S events. 

I'd only been back from Blackpool like a week when we headed to London for our 'graduation' from The Rank Foundation - I got a certificate and everything. We had to do a presentation, and talk about our experiences from the past year. I'm SO GLAD that Rosie and I decided to do ours together, we get on really well so luckily we naturally bounce off each other so it wasn't awkward. I told everyone I was really nervous so to be kind to me. I hate standing up in front of people to talk - so I was feeling pretty urgh by the time my presentation came up. I spoke more about my experience from before I joined SEARCH, and my boss Roslyn, had a little tear in her eye which made me feel quite sad as it was all coming to an end. I still feel sad about that day now because it was the last time we were together (not everyone could make it, but most of us). 

We stayed here;

And I got one of these! Yeah babies!

Oh yeah, and I might have taken a cheeky trip to Hogwarts too!

I still had a couple of months left, so it wasn't too final for me that day which was really nice actually. 

It was literally like another week and then I was back to London for something else, something totally different. I apply for a lot of GoThinkBig events etc, hoping I will get them. So when the chance to go to a Q&A with Nick Clegg, I literally JUMPED at the chance. It was clear once again that I had travelled the furthest again... oh well, that's commitment for you/ 

I thought, ahh yes, I'll ask my question and that'll be the end of it. But no, I was so so wrong. Having made quite the impression (lol) on the GTB team, I was asked if I wanted to shadow an FHM journalist after the Q&A and I get to sit in on a one to one with the Deputy PM too. I really did jump at this. What a chance eh! The Q&A was interesting, I didn't get to ask my question, but I wasn't too fussed really. 

After, I joined Jordan and sat in the one to one and because I had met his PA in the lift that morning and got talking to her, they found time for me to sit and have a one to one with him on my own which was mint! I gave him a hard time about the state of job centres, especially where young people are concerned, and also told him I was from Hull and he really needed to get Siemens to sign on that dotted line. He seemed really agitated that I said that...but you know, you only get like one shot at these things, so why the fuck not eh!

He deffo didn't know about this cheeky shot... haha.

I know he's made some mistakes (ahem, LOTS) but he's actually a nice guy. Still will never vote for him like. 

Jean Bishop AKA Bee Lady was recognised in Hull for her efforts in raising money for AgeUK by dressing as a BEE every weekend for as long as I could remember. She is an absolute credit to our city and she was recognised by KC with her very own Bumble Bee phonebox - they've said they'll keep it until it looks like it needs repainting, personally, I feel like they should keep it forever. Surely the upkeep wouldn't be THAT much?

I took the afternoon off work as I wanted to see her open this so badly! She is even tinier than ME, and an absolute SWEETIE. 

I took extra money with me so that I could give her a fair wodge of dolla, and luckily others did too! She's passed her £100k mark, what an absolute diamond. 

November was HUGE for Hull. We were awarded with the UK City of Culture for 2017.

I cried I was so proud of my city. 
It is really clear to see that the entire city was behind the bid and wanted it for Hull. The #HullYes tag was used like every 2 seconds on bid day which was unreal! If you look at people in Hull on Twitter, you'll see #HullYes in their Twitter bio.. that's my little idea, for you to show your support always. I doubt that I will ever take mine out. 

Some photos of my city, Hull. 

So Christmas was just around the corner, my job prospects weren't looking great, but it doesn't matter as there as people worse off than myself. I saw something on Facebook about The Rucksack Project, now don't get me wrong, I know this isn't a solution, but surely this itself is raising the issue of homelessness in the city?

I am really lucky in that I had siblings, parents and friends who helped collect donations and then we were able to make up 8 rucksacks - they are hard to get hold of, but we could have made double that at least. We send the rest of our donations too. It was a great way to end the year.

As you can see, I've had a pretty amazing year so forgive me if I wasn't jumping on the 2014 bandwagon. A special thanks to Holly and Andy for putting me up in London every time I was there, which was A LOT! X

I've loved every minute of 2013. 

Tweet me if you want, @DebStevo90 

Stevo xo