Animal Care Volunteering Update: Meet Boyce and Pip

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I have been volunteering at a farm for a few months now; we recently welcomed to new ponies called Boyce and Pip to the farm. They are both brother and sister and it’s been a fantastic to get to know them both and learn about each of their personalities and cheeky traits.

One of the first things I loved about Boyce was his furry moustache. We all find it funny when we take off his rugs because he is all shiny clean from where the rugs been but his legs are just covered in mud we like to say he’s got brown boots on. Boyce doesn’t really like females handling him he much prefers men. We are not too sure why this might be but we think he might have had a bad experience with a female from his past handling him. At the moment we are trying to help Boyce feel more relaxed and safe towards females handling him and stroking him. It is very important we try and build up his confidence and feels more comfortable with females because the farm offers birthday parties and the children who come straight away run up to the ponies and want to stroke them.

To try and help Boyce feel more safe and confident and not so scared around females we have been trying to do small tasks with him daily. For example we will give him his food separate to Pip and whilst he is eating I will just talk to him softly and calmly. We have tried stroking him by just putting our hand out and waiting for him to come to us but sometimes he will come up to us girls and want to bite us. However he is starting to feel more confident around females and we are going to try and do some ground work activities with him in the summer for example going over poles and in and out of cones once he feels safer and he begins to trust us more. Boyce is also in charge as he doesn’t like the little Shetland ponies we have and he has tried to have a fight with one of our pigs Wilbur through the bars of the fence.

Pip is a very sweet, gentle and calm girl who can be very shy at times but once she sees you with a camera she loves posing for you. She is definitely not camera shy! Unlike Boyce Pip prefers females and tends to dislike men. We think Pip had a bad experience with a man in the past. When they first arrived at the farm Pip was definitely more curious. To build up her confidence we did some one on one ground work activities with her. Pip enjoys being groomed so we did this with her a little and often to help build up her confidence.We have done circle work with her too and now in the week she does lunging.

Now that Pip is more relaxed around us we are now getting to know more about her, she is a very adventurous pony who likes to explore. In the summer who hope to take her out on short walks around the woods and do some ground work activities with her like a little obstacle course.

 

Recently it snowed at the farm; here is a video of Pip playing in the puddle after the snow melted.

5 Ways Stagecoach Performing Arts School Has Helped Me In Everyday Life

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I started going to Stagecoach Performing Arts School about 3 years ago. I remember going to just watch some lessons they did with my mum before I had my taster days to see if I liked the environment I also got to meet the teachers. I went to see their Christmas Production so I could see the types of things I would do for a show. This really helped me to lower my anxiety; I would highly recommend doing this if you have anxiety. I enjoyed my taster days so much everyone was so friendly and kind.

Looking back on my journey with being a Stagecoach student I thought I would share with you some ways Stagecoach has helped me on a daily basis.

1. Stagecoach has helped me to not to be as scared about trying something new when you don’t know anyone there. When I joined Stagecoach I didn’t know anyone else but by doing something where I didn’t know others it helped me to be more confident about trying new things.

2. Stagecoach has helped me to socialise with people of all ages as well as helping me to talk to new people. When I first started going to Stagecoach I was very shy but now I have lots of friends and I am now more confident when talking to others.

3. By doing productions in front of quite a big audience I have built up my confidence when talking in front of my class when I had to do a presentation for my course work. At Stagecoach we work on projection and speaking clearly so people can hear us better this has also helped me when doing presentations in front of an audience.

4. By joining Stagecoach I have built up on my team working skills as we do a lot of group work. We are given a task to do then in groups we come up with ideas and who’s playing which roles etc.

5. When we are rehearsing for a production we are doing; we may need to do research for the show. For example I may do some research on the character I am playing or I may research about the time the production is set for example the production maybe set in Victorian London. By doing this I have found it easier to read around a topic I maybe doing for some college coursework .

My Experience Volunteering In A Charity Shop

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I’ve been volunteering at a charity shop for a while now and I thought I would share with you my experience. I first started to volunteer at the charity shop as I wanted to find a work experience placement with college. I wanted to learn new skills and gain more experience in the working environment. I am known as a Retail Volunteer as I volunteer in one of the charities shops.

I volunteer at the shop once a week for a couple of hours. At the shop I do lots of different tasks both with customers and in the stock room. To begin with I might help sort through lots of the donations we have been given; I go through each bag making sure we only price items which are in good condition. The donations we get range from clothes to books, accessories and lots more.

I will then go through all of the clothing items we can sell and put each one on a clothing hanger and put the correct sizing cube on each hanger too. I make sure that each item is priced before putting each item out on the shop floor.

Another job I do is stock rotation this is where we bring stock from the shop floor back into the stock room to create more space for more recent items to be put out.

I sometimes may research the donations the shop gets so that we can tell customers more about the product for example old books or cameras.

To begin with I helped to make the shops window displays. I now create some of the window displays by myself. We base each window display design on a theme for example orange and gold or we might do a window display based around a current event like the World Cup or a season like the Christmas season.

When making the window displays I first try and find a main item or piece of clothing that stands out to me I then work with other items to create the feel and look I want the display to have.

Here I am finding clothes for my window display design I am also dressing the mannequin in the clothing I have chosen.

One of the very first window displays I created was based on the colours orange, cream and gold. This was because I had found a lovely orange dress I wanted to put into the window I then found cream and gold items that worked really well with the orange.

When creating window displays I not only have to find clothing for the mannequins but also accessories to go with the items of clothing. For example jewellery,shoes and belts.

I also make bric a brac window displays. This could be making a window display for a upcoming  sport event like Wimbledon. To create a window display based on this theme I may use tennis balls and tennis rackets with tennis shoes. I may also add some books about the sport into the display.

Here is a window display design I am starting to make based around Wimbledon 2018.

I made a window display based around The World Cup 2018.

Here are some photos of my window display based around The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I steamed a wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses as well as finding bric a brac items for the display too.

Lastly I have just recently started serving customers at the till independently!

I would definitely recommend volunteering at a charity shop if you are interested in working in retail or you want to work in the fashion industry. I also think you would enjoy volunteering in a charity shop enjoy if you like being creative and love fashion.

My 19 Goals for 2019

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Happy New Year to you all, I can’t believe its 2019 already!

As it is the beginning of the year I thought I would share with you 19 goals I have for 2019. Here they are:

1. Surround myself more with the people who make me feel more positive and happy.

( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

 

2. Know that it is ok to say no

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( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

3. Try new recipes

(Photo Source: Free Canva Photos)

 

4. Get better at budgeting

( Photo Source : Free Canva Photo)

 

5. Read or listen to more books, magazines, radio programs and podcasts

( Photo Source Free Canva Photo )

 

6. Post regularly on my defeatingdisability Twitter Page

( Photo Source : Google Images )

 

7. Join a gym and go swimming more

( Photo Source: Pinterest)

 

8. Do my own photography projects

 

9. Experiment and try out new makeup looks

 

10. Create myself a blogging schedule so that I am more organised and can upload more content for you all to read.

( Photo Source: Free Canva Photo)

 

11. Get back into doing different types of journaling for example art journaling

 

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( Photo Source: Free Canva Photo)

12. Do more volunteering

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13. Create myself little reminders of things I could do for my own self love and self-care.

( Photo Source: Instagram- @blessingmanifesting , go check out her page to find other self care ideas. )

 

14. Don’t be afraid to try new things and give things a go.

( Photo Source : Pinterest)

 

15.Build up my body confidence

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16. Embrace my curly hair more

 

17. Learn more about how to care for a range of different animals

 

18. Try not to focus on the past but look towards the future more

( Photo Source : Pinterest )

 

19. Write down my achievements however big or small, so I can look at them when I feel down.

( Photo Source : Pinterest)

I would love to know what your 2019 goals are, you can comment below . Or send me a message on any other defeatingdisability social media pages .

I wish you all a very happy new year full of love, happiness, laughter and adventure!

My 2018 Achievements

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What a year it has been full of its ups and downs, highs and lows and everything in between. To celebrate the year I have had, I thought I would share with you some of my most happiest and proudest achievements of 2018. These achievements have made me have one of the biggest smiles on my face and they have helped me to get through those not so good days.

1. This year I have started volunteering as a Retail Volunteer at a charity shop. I have made quite a few of my own window displays. I have now started to serve customers at the till by myself.

2. This year I have started to volunteer at a farm as an Animal Care Volunteer. I enjoy looking after all the animals as well as learning more about how to care for them all.

3.  This year I have  joined The Theatre Shed as a Youth Theatre Student. This year for Christmas we did a Production of The Snow Queen I played one of the three Gerda’s.

4. At the beginning of this year I did work experience at a theatre as an Evening Theatre Usher for the Stage Production of The Jungle Book.

5. This year was the year I started this blog!

6. I have just started to learn British Sign Language; I can’t wait to keep learning more next year.

7. On the 1st July 2018 I took part in the Stagecoach World Record Attempt. We did this to celebrate Stagecoach’s 30 Years Anniversary. The World Record we are attempting to break is for the largest simultaneous performance of one show. The production we did was Beauty and The Beast. We are still waiting to find out if we have set a new world record.

8. This year at the Riding for the Disabled Group I go to I helped to train a new member of the family a pony called Billy. I absolutely loved doing this because now other RDA riders can have the joy of riding him!

9. I helped my local Recovery College as a Social Media Volunteer for a few months. I found and posted inspirational quotes and some photos of student’s fabulous work.

10. I gave supported living the best go I could even though it did not work out.

Animal Care Volunteer: Down On The Farm

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Through my love of animals which started when I was little as well as  how animals have helped me with my mental health. I decided I wanted to do volunteering with animals.

I now volunteer once a week at a farm as an Animal Care Volunteer. The farm I go to has lots of different types of animals. From Alpacas, Goats and Llamas to Guinea pigs, Hamsters, Rats and Rabbits to name a few. We also sometimes get to look after reptiles such as snakes, geckos and skinks.

Well Hello.

The farm works with children, young people and adults to build up their confidence and self-esteem through working to care for a variety of animals. Children and young people  who come here maybe home educated, have mental health conditions or found mainstream school hard  to name a few.

When I was looking at different places I could volunteer at this place taught my eye as they had worked with other young people with mental health conditions. I thought this place would be fantastic as we get to work with animals in a more therapeutic environment. I felt that I could help give back to other young people  and show them how much joy animals can bring into your life and help you to be more positive. Animals don’t just help   them to forget about difficult things  but sometimes helps them to process things as the animals are making them feel relaxed and safe.

Throughout the day on the farm I do a number of different tasks to care for all the animals on the farm.  Here are some of the tasks I do.

Cleaning out hutches,cages and fields. I put down fresh hay in all the animals hutches, cages and shelters. Giving all the animals fresh water in their water bottles and bowls and topping them up regularly throughout the day.

Mucking out the ponies field.

Refilling the rabbits water bottles.

Sometimes I groom the goats, ponies and the dog. We also take the goats and ponies out of their main field and take them for walks around the farm so that they have new things to explore and they love it !, The goats love to try and eat the leaves too.

I help to prepare all the animals food as well as giving it to them when it is feeding time.

Grating carrots to put into the rabbits food.

Dinner time for the rabbits.

Feeding Obama the Llama.

More Please?

Finally a big thing we try to do is do as much animal handling as possible this is not just because the animals need to have human interaction but sometimes children and young people come to the farm to do animal handling sessions here the children and young people learn all about the animals.

I absolutely love volunteering on the farm and would highly recommend volunteering not only is it good to put on your CV but you get to learn new things about yourself. You get to see if you prefer learning through doing or more sitting down and writing.

If you are aged between 14-25 you can log your hours of volunteering you do on the website : http://www.vinspired.com , by doing this you will get certificates for the number of hours you do . You can show these certificates in any interviews you may have from college course interviews to internships, work experience placements and jobs.

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A Dog Like No Other

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Throughout my childhood I remember always asking my parents if we could get a dog. My family and I would go to local dog shows and ask people all about their dogs breed and what sort of care they needed. I loved stroking and fussing over the dogs watching them do agility competitions to dogs and their owners winning competitions like what owner and dog look most alike ? . We would also speak to the people at the stalls from rescue charities such as the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust.

Back in 2010 my family and I were out walking when these two whippets came up to us to say hello. We spoke to the owners the dogs were so calm. My mum asked the owners what breed the dogs were. When they said whippets, my mum suddenly remembered the breed. We were looking at what breeds we could have because we have two pet cats and because of my disability we needed to get a gentle calm dog. We looked at Greyhounds, Lurches, Staffordshire Bull Terriers. We did so much research talking to dog owners, talking to friends, talking to animal charities, researching on the internet to reading books.

Once my family and I knew that a whippet was what we wanted my mum started to tell a friend who had lots of experience with dogs that we finally came to a decision that we wanted was to adopt a whippet.

We were very lucky because soon after my mum had said we wanted to adopt a whippet our friend said a whippet had just come in to our local RSPCA Rescue Shelter.

My parents went to see the dog first but didn’t tell my sister and I as they didn’t want to get our hopes up. Turns out the day they were going to see the dog my sister was sick and couldn’t go to school so she ended up seeing the dog as well. After school my sister and parents told me all about it and showed me photos. I was jumping around the room with joy !

I remember the first time I saw him looking into this big brown eyes with them staring back at me and his big chocolate button nose. When we took him out for walks people would comment and say how lovely he looked thinking he was a girl, we still often get people thinking he’s a girl now . I remember I got worried as I thought someone else might adopt him but the RSPCA told us we were the only people looking at adopting him.

The day we brought him home was the day after my birthday so I always joke and say he was a birthday present, we decided to call him Ziggy.

I don’t know how I ever lived without him now I know that sounds silly. He’s helped me so much throughout the years. When I was getting bullied at school I’d come back home crying and talk to him about it for ages. He has also helped me through my mental health problems. He knows now when I’m about to have a seizure and he stays by my side till it stops.

He’s just one in a million now I understand the saying a dog is a man’s best friend well a woman’s in my case!

The cats are still in charge and try to steal his food daily

You can follow Ziggy on Instagram @ziggy.the.whippet

My Experience Volunteering With My Local Library

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From May till the end of August 2018, I have been volunteering at my local library once a week. I thought I would write about my experience volunteering there.

I have been going to libraries for years all the way through my childhood. To me there’s something special about finding a book on a bookshelf and every time you go you find something else… bit like treasure hunting I guess.

Before I started volunteering there I was so excited to see what it was like to work there compared to using the service.

By volunteering at the library I got more of an understanding of how the place is run from how the books are organised to finding books people have reserved and making sure that those books go to the right library.

By volunteering once a week I got to develop my design skills. I made posters and book displays for the library. I made a book sale sign and did the book sale display.

I sometimes helped to make posters telling people about upcoming activities the library was having for example Story Time Morning.

By volunteering at the library I used my IT skills quite a bit from designing to putting new books into the libraries computer system.

I priced books the library had for sale I found this very interesting because I got an understanding of how they do fundraising for themselves. They also have cake sales too.

I enjoy talking to parents who came in with their children as I could give book recommendations.

All in all I loved volunteering at the library and I would recommend it to anyone who loves books or talking to children and their parents.

Summer Youth Voice Event 2018

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This weekend I went to my first ever Youth Voice Event, it was fantastic. We had different workshops we could do as well as playing games and doing team building activities.

The first Workshop I did was from a person who works for Fixers. Fixers help young people who want to spread a message about something important to them in a positive way. For example topics could be about mental health, disability and road safety.  Fixers then works with the young person to create content they can use to help spread their message; for example animations, documentaries and music videos.

We were split into groups and we had to put cards that said something about what challenges young people can face into order of importance to us. This was very interesting as we all had different views. Some example of the cards was domestic violence, knife crime and substance abuse.

In our groups we then had to brainstorm ideas of if we made a video what topic would we chose. After this we then made our own personal videos to be put on Twitter.

My Twitter Video.

My next workshop was all about Mental Health. We discussed how when you talk to others your tone and body language can change depending on each other’s emotions. We also discussed statements read to us and we had to decide if we agreed with the statement or not. We then wrote our own pledges on card and put them all over the tree. My pledge was to ask my family and friends how they were feeling and how their days been. This is something the charity Time To Change came up with.

If you would like to do this write your pledge and use the #inyourcorner. Take a photo and post it on your Instagram Account.

The Pledge Tree

In our last workshop we talked about all the different types of services young people could access and if we had heard of these services or even used one.

We did an activity were we had to make a wall out of marshmallows, we then threw sweets at it. No groups marshmallow wall feel down, we did the activity to represent the marshmallows as the services we could use and we were the sweets trying to access the services however it is very hard for young people to access services and it takes a long time.

After the workshops we had burgers, hot dogs and ice cream we also listened to music played by a DJ.

Having ice creams on a lovely sunny evening after doing some great workshops.

The day was absolutely brilliant I learned lots, felt like I could help make a difference, had a great time with friends and made some more lovely new friends too!

Supported Living Diary- First Sleepover

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A few months ago I went for my first sleepover at the supported living place I hope to move into.  Closer to the time I wrote another blog post about this but now I have moved to using word press instead, so I have decided to write it again.

On Tuesday evening I had my first sleepover night at   the supported living place I hope to move into. I was nervous to see what staying the night there would be like.

The Nerves 

Throughout the day I was feeling very anxious, stressed, worried and scared. I wasn’t sure what would happen. I was anxious because I hadn’t seen my care plan, I wasn’t sure if the staff at the place would not know what to do if i had a seizure or if I got my hands on anything I could harm myself with.

Luckily I saw my care coordinator during the day they were very good at helping me to calm down. I was also anxious because I had thoughts buzzing  in my head at 100 miles an hour ” What if they don’t have my living aids I need”.  As well as this not very long before the sleepover I had chosen my bedrooms curtains but I wasn’t sure if they would have arrived on time.

On The Way 

On the way to the house I felt scared and sick.  It felt like I had dozens of butterfly’s in my stomach. I wasn’t sure if i wanted to stay the night because I had felt so stressed about it earlier the same day.

Arriving 

When I arrived at the house I saw my room. My parents and the staff were good at trying to make me feel a bit more relaxed and not so anxious. My parents and I still hadn’t seen the care plan but I enjoyed seeing what I needed to get for my room and thinking about colour themes ideas. I decided to stay the night.

Night Into Morning 

The night was ok it went better than I expected , I had staff come and check on me throughout the night and support me when I had a seizure. My parents said they would collect me if needed but I stayed the whole night.  In the morning I felt alright so had breakfast then went to college.

When I saw my family I told them how it went.

I’m glad I did it despite all the feelings beforehand.