Work experience with our Young Ambassador, Maddie

During the week of the 17th-21st July, Maddie, one of our Young Ambassadors joined us for work experience. Throughout her week with us, Maddie had the opportunity to get involved in many aspects of charity life and put new skills into practice including public speaking, journal writing and producing a ‘walk-through’ of the website.

  • Opportunity to write journals for the British Journal of Dermatology Patient Perspectives 

Having met prior to the work experience to determine Maddie’s interests, we had learnt that Maddie enjoyed writing and research-based activities. Therefore, as part of her time with us we gave her the opportunity to write a patient perspective for the British Journal of Dermatology (BJD). At the beginning of the week Maddie received a welcome pack from us, which included a card, notebook, pen and CMN literature – she shared with us how this made her feel “part of the team”; that she was “doing something!”; it felt “professional” and also helped her to get into the flow of writing!

Maddie wrote two articles and as a conclusion to her week, she also wrote a document of recommendations for us to consider.

The subject of her articles were:

  1. The transition to adult services for a young person with CMN
  2. The transition from specialised care at GOSH to local care for a young person with CMN.
  • Attended meeting with Diverse Matters training team

Having launched our first Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Focus Group in January, we are pleased to have secured EDI training as part of our Support Contact Training Day, for our Staff Team, Trustees, Support Contacts and Focus Group members. Maddie joined a meeting with the team from ‘Diverse Matters’ as we agreed on priorities for the training and discussed logistics and she made valuable contributions to the discussion which were acknowledged by our trainers Aubrey and Paula. We are excited that Maddie will be joining us for our training session in November – this will be the first time that a Young Ambassador has attended our Support Contact Training Day!

As we review EDI across our charity initiatives, we are inviting each of our members to complete an anonymous demographic survey which will help us to understand the current demographic of our charity and areas for development, as we aim to meet the needs of all our members. Maddie became the first member to complete our online demographic survey. 

  • Maddie enjoyed being a part of everyday charity operations

Maddie reflected, “I have just turned up at events in the past, but now I see that a lot goes into that one task!”

  • Met with Val, Chair of Trustees to learn about the background and founding of the charity.
  • Meeting with Katy Jackson, Young Adult’s Contact

As a charity, we are continually reviewing how best to engage with our teen members. Maddie shared that teens tend to think “I don’t need this”; “I’m okay on my own”; “I’ll come back later!”, despite the fact that they could benefit from attending support events and becoming part of our CMN community.

Maddie felt that nerves or feeling shy can get in the way of attending events and suggested that a ‘pre-meet online catch up’ may make this easier, as instead of “feeling lost” members could get involved straight away and “feel a part of it!”.

Maddie thought that early September is a good time for teen events, or February if there are no exams/mocks.

During the week, we also discussed social media engagement for teens, and the possibility of posting a “TAP ME!” story which asks our teen members to ‘heart’ a post, influencing algorithms which mean they see more of what we share.  Maddie also suggested that we include teens in our posts and let them know when they will feature!

  • Restructuring of Young Ambassadors Programme

We asked Maddie to review the Young Ambassadors Programme and report back to us if she felt there needed to be any changes made. Prior to Maddie’s work experience week, our tasks were as follows.

Year 8- Participate in media and communication training

Year 9- Hold a fundraising event
Maddie suggested that fundraising offers a confidence building opportunity for Year 8 pupils as it can be planned in a way which suits an individual personally. She also highlighted that Year 8 isn’t a demanding year in school. With this in mind, Maddie proposed swapping the tasks so that the media and communication training is completed in Year 9 when you are more established online and more familiar with online platforms.

  • Walk through of the website

Our website is continually evolving, and we want to be sure that our members know how to access the breadth of resources and information available. As a staff team we had been previously discussing the benefits of posting a ‘walk-through’ of the website to our social media. Maddie rose to the challenge! She was articulate and confident in how she navigated the Online Teens Resource and Frequently Asked Questions sections on our website. We posted the videos as reels to Instagram and to date, the reels are being ‘viewed more times than usual’ with over 500 views so far!

We thoroughly enjoyed having Maddie with us for work experience. She made confident, articulate, and valuable contributions and has made recommendations which we hope to develop further in the future.

Maddie shared that her favourite thing was having conversations with the team at Caring Matters Now. Equally, Maddie made an impression on everybody she met, both in and beyond our team – the Diverse Matters team and the team from British Journal of Dermatology were both so impressed by Maddie and her writing!

Through her work experience, Maddie found job satisfaction and fulfilment. Her personal discovery was that her passion for the charity had increased. She finished the week wanting to be involved more and with “a passion and purpose in life” that she wants to continue to pursue.