“There are always people who don’t like what I’ve got to say, but when you need to tell the truth and get a message across, you have to put yourself out there”

img_1659-1 Case File No.7: Michelle Langan

 

File under: #homelessness #reform #charity #politics #laws #justice

 

You know when there are people in your orbit doing wonderful things, and you’re aware of what they do, but don’t know the detail? Michelle Langan is one such person for me. It won’t have escaped your notice that homelessness is reaching epidemic levels in the UK, but rather than just pitying those dealt a shitty hand, Michelle, 44, has been doing something about it for some time now. I’ve known her since working on teen magazines together over a decade ago. But, although she moved back home to Liverpool in 2006 to get into TV scriptwriting, she’s stayed in my peripheral vision via social media, largely due to the things she’s got involved with on the side. First launching The Paper Cup Project, (a group supporting people living on the streets of Liverpool); she then dipped into politics beating off over a thousand applicants to get a place on the Jo Cox Women in Leadership scheme. Now she has her sights on a local council seat and who knows where that will lead. When I finally got to pin her down to find out more, she described herself as ‘gobby’ and ‘annoying’ but, frankly, these are qualities you’re going to need if you’re planning on influencing homelessness legislation – which she has done. I don’t doubt we’ll be seeing a lot more of the name Michelle Langan on ballot papers in years to come. Continue reading “There are always people who don’t like what I’ve got to say, but when you need to tell the truth and get a message across, you have to put yourself out there”

End of term assessment: 12 things I learned during my daughter’s first year at school

School’s out for the summer! Reports have been read, sports day is over and one final rummage around the lost property box has been done. B has made it through Reception and, by default, so have I. I hadn’t expected her starting school to be such an education for both of us but, hey, there’s lots to get to grips with being the parent of a primary starter. Here are 12 things I’ve been enlightened to over the last 12 months… Continue reading End of term assessment: 12 things I learned during my daughter’s first year at school

“Until we raise our young men — and women — not to hurt one another when we disagree, there will always be a need to raise funds for those exposed to domestic abuse.”

img_1659-1 Case File No.6: The W.I.N Team

File under: #Domesticabuse #Fundraising #Fashion #Charity #Ethicalfashion

There’s a group of women in my neighbourhood who everyone knows. They’re like local celebs these W.I.N ladies. Certainly, for the past couple of years I’ve been living in South Woodford I’ve been aware of Christina Harvey and Nikki Christie requesting and collecting second-hand clothing and parenting paraphernalia to give to a nearby women’s refuge via their popular Women In Need (W.I.N) Facebook group. They do an amazing job. Such items are essential because many residents have fled domestic violence and arrive with nothing. Christina knows this more than anyone because she spent time in a hostel with her own mother as a child. Continue reading “Until we raise our young men — and women — not to hurt one another when we disagree, there will always be a need to raise funds for those exposed to domestic abuse.”

“Blogging about my breakdown helped me recover”

img_1659-1 Case File No.5: Kajal Pankhania

File under: #mentalheath #survivor #breakdown #bravery #blogging

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Even if you didn’t know that, chances are you’ll have heard the conversation about mental health getting louder, in no small part due to the royals, particularly Harry, chipping in to share his own personal demons as part of a campaign with Mind. And with lots of celebs like Fearne Cotton and Cara Delevigne also coming forward to admit their struggles, it has paved the way for bloggers and influencers to open up across social media too. One such voice is that of Kajal Pankhania, 32, from Berkshire. Taking to the blog she’d originally started to report on motherhood, she wrote a raw account of the circumstances that triggered her depression. Hema Marshall, a friend of Kajal’s, was blown away by the revelations. “I thought it was tremendously brave,” says Hema. “On the surface you have a smart, happy, attractive woman, but here she was telling friends, family and strangers how she had hit rock bottom and couldn’t cope. I really admired her honesty. Her courage will have helped countless others seek help.”  Continue reading “Blogging about my breakdown helped me recover”

“When you love what you do, you don’t mind the blood, sweat and tears, the stress – the hours, because the reason for doing it drives you on.”

img_1659 Case File No.3: Jacqueline Fernandez

File under: #charity #events #solidarity #drive #selflessness #feminism

Terrorism, broken society, volatile world leaders: who could blame you for losing faith in humanity right now? Well, if you’re feeling helpless or at a loss as to how you can impact the status quo, meet 29-year-old Jacqueline Fernandez and be inspired. Eight years ago after graduating with a psychology degree, Jacqueline travelled solo around Asia and was so affected by the poverty she saw in cities like Manila, it moved her to the point of action. Believing everyone can make a difference in this world, she started devoting her spare time to helping charitable causes when she returned to London. When she clocked how keen others were to support her efforts, she founded the non-profit organisation What You Do Matters in 2012 (of which she is CEO), which makes volunteering accessible for all. ‘Whether you’ve got time, cash or connections to offer, WYDM makes it simple for everyone to get involved by matching resources to the cause,’ says Loraine Fajutag who nominated Jacqueline for this page. ‘Whether she’s sending food parcels to countries hit by natural disasters or arranging a group bungee jump Jacqueline puts her heart and soul into every project and it makes everyone want to help. I don’t know where she gets the time or the energy to do it on top of her 9-5 job as a manager of a vulnerable young people’s service, and private counselling practice. She never stops!’ Continue reading “When you love what you do, you don’t mind the blood, sweat and tears, the stress – the hours, because the reason for doing it drives you on.”

“It started in the back room of a pub, now we’re selling out nightclubs”

img_1659-1 Case File No.2: Hannah Jago.

File under: #events #graft #drive #passion #festivals #dance #music

What would you do if you moved from London to another part of the country but wanted to take some of the night life with you? Well, if you were 25-year-old Hannah Jago and you noticed a gap in the market, you’d start throwing the kind of parties you wanted to go to, and create a dance scene with such infectious passion that, a couple of years later, you’d be putting on your first festival. ‘With Kitchen Klub, Hannah has developed not only a scene, but a unique and brilliant brand,’ says Stephanie Alexander-Jinks who has watched her friend’s events snowball over the last five years. ‘In 2012 she arrived in North Devon and created something that galvanised like-minded people with something they all love. I’m ever impressed with her achievements – and her modesty – on top of having a full time job. The greatest part is, stress aside, she’s just as excited as the punters before one of her gigs. But she’s so down to earth I don’t think she realises it’s all her doing.” Continue reading “It started in the back room of a pub, now we’re selling out nightclubs”

18 ways to get your happy fix (and not be a prick)

Today, according to the calendar of made up events that have no cultural or historical relevance is International Day of Happiness. But unlike all the ‘Grab a Dirty Burger’ or ‘Give Your Dog a Hug’ type days that seem to be sprouting from the earth at an increasing rate, this one has the Dalai Lama as patron, which gives it extra whack and boom in my book. You can bet your last copper Pharell Williams and his little dungaree-wearing chums are behind it too.  Continue reading 18 ways to get your happy fix (and not be a prick)