Talking to my MP – An Opportunity of a Lifetime
Economically vulnerable young women are amongst the most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. To ensure their voices are being heard we’ve organised video conferences with MPs so our young women can discuss the difficulties they are currently facing. In this blog, Freya explains the importance of sharing her lockdown experience with Stephen Timms, former government minister who now chairs the Work and Pensions committee, and highlights why it is vital to use real life experiences to speak truth to power.
My name is Freya and I am 19, I have been on the Young Women’s Trust Advisory Panel for nearly two years. I first came across the panel when I was casually scrolling through Facebook, I found myself clicking on the link, one thing led to another and here I am writing a blog about my experience of talking to an MP.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be on the Advisory Panel. Before I was involved I was a very anxious person, I had very few friends and next to no confidence. On my first residential weekend I walked in like a bag of nerves but it didn’t take me long to come out of my shell. I felt like I belonged and I finally had a voice.
Making new connections
Making friends with women used to be difficult but it was easy at the residential because everyone was so welcoming. Although I have an ongoing battle with my mental health - which is still a challenge because it limits me in so many different aspects of life - I don’t let it determine who or what I aspire to be. I have a close connection with the other women on the panel, it is not a typical friendship that I would normally find myself in, but I couldn't be more thankful. I have not only made amazing friends but a family for life, because no matter where you are from or who you are as a person we are all accepted.
Sharing my story
This April, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to take part in a video call with MP Stephen Timms. The conversation was focused on my personal experience of living through the Covid-19 outbreak and persuading him to join our No Young Women Left Behind Campaign. This was an opportunity that I would never have normally come across but being on the panel has given me experiences I never thought were possible.
Just speaking about my real life story was rewarding because it really shows the truth of living through the coronavirus. It has been hard because of the constant worry of whether the Universal Credit payment is going to be enough and the fluctuation of the amount can make me anxious. The pandemic is making life really difficult and most days it is a constant battle in my head as I can't travel to go shopping and living in a small village we only have a Sainsbury’s and a Co-op, both of which are quite expensive. Having the chance to tell Stephen Timms how much the pandemic has affected my daily life was amazing because it’s my story, and I never thought it would be possible for someone to take my story and use it to potentially change the future.
I hope reading this makes you want to reach out and have your voice heard because it is amazing and just think you could be part of the change!
Over a million young women are already struggling to live on low or no pay and will be amongst the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Join our movement and help us make sure no young women is left behind.