With trips to Parliament and the Department of Education, talks with graphic designers and charity registration, it’s safe to say that 2018 has begun well for RAiISE.
Amongst the flurry of ‘New Year, New Me’ posts and already broken resolutions, I’ve found it difficult to reflect on the past year and plan progress for the new one. RAiISE continues to grow at an alarming rate and we really are on the cusp of our products becoming real and beginning to make a difference. New Year is a time of change for many, but for us I hope that it simply means becoming bigger and better than ever and truly improving the day to day lives of young people living with invisible illnesses.
Naturally this growth can be scary. As RAiISE goes from a small idea I had in my bedroom one day, it can often be overwhelming just how exciting things are getting. Now, as an 18 year old student who’s never had a ‘proper’ job, filling out Charity Commission registration forms and writing business plans for funding bodies seems somewhat surreal and I definitely have a case of ‘imposter syndrome’ which can be quite terrifying. But just over two years down the line, the main feeling I still have with every step forward we take is excitement. This was shown most recently when earlier this week myself and Trustees Sammy Ainsworth and Simon Stones attended a meeting at the Department of Education. After discussing the future of RAiISE and receiving incredibly valuable advice from Ayath Ullah, whom we hope to work very closely with in the future, we were almost jumping for joy as we left the building (almost bouncing past the guards and forgetting to give back our security passes!)
Following this meeting was a quick dash across the road to visit the Houses of Parliament. After winning the Student of the Year Award in October, it was lovely to be invited to a celebration which looked at all the amazing work colleges are doing and hearing the success stories of student who had often had to overcome adversity. It was a great event hosted by the Association of Colleges and Peter Kyle MP. It was also lovely to meet Andrew Stephenson MP afterwards who spent time with us as we got to watch a Parliamentary vote.
After such a good first couple of weeks, we are looking forward to keeping this up throughout the year. Already we have been in touch with a graphic design company which means we can finally begin production on our information packs and resources. We’re also going to be introducing a new feature on our blog in which young people with invisible illnesses share their stories and experiences. We’d love to hear from as many people as possible as well as parents to get their perspective. If you have a story to tell, please get in touch!
I hope everyone has had a great start to the New Year and I am beyond excited to see where this one takes us!