Sunday, 30 March 2014

Equality in Hip-Hop Dancing


Last weekend I went to Just Jam International dance off at Dance City Newcastle as part of Juice Festival and it was totally amazing. I never strike people as the hip-hop kind of girl but me and Emily are quite the fans and thus watched 7 hours of dance-offs last week. The event itself isn't what I want to talk about, I want to talk about the concept of dance-offs in hip-hop and what we can learn from them.

In a one on one battle difference is thrown out of the window, it's all about what you can do on the floor. It doesn't matter if you are 6 or 60; male or female; 'disabled' or 'able-bodied' you will battle against each other and as an observer you will be astounded at how close these battles are. This my friends is equality at its best.

I come across so many people who naively think we now live in an equal society but the fact of the matter is, we don't. We live in a society in which it is considered weird for me to buy a man a drink, let alone ask him out. We have a society that has a government so imbalanced in favour of Oxbridge, upperclass graduates and severely lacking in women it is no wonder people spend 90% of the time complaining about them. We live in a society in which, despite the legalisation of gay marriage, gay people are still targeted and particularly within schools so unsupported!

Out society is split and segregated in so many ways but I challenge you to take to the dancefloor and battle because on the floor it doesn't matter where you've came from or what you are, it's about how you move.

Hannah x

n.b. This event was in October 2013 and for some reason has jumped to the beginning of my posts.

Depression: Not Just a Little Bit Sad


So, today's Bus Blogging thoughts are about depression and how most people just don't get it. I'm going to make a tired attempt at clearing up a few misconceptions that I've heard around and about.

Depression conceptual design isolated on white

1. Depression is Just Being a Little Bit Sad
No, depression is not just being a little bit sad. So when people say "I don't feel like going to work and I still get up and go" yes, that is because you aren't depressed. Some people with depression can feel that their mood is so low or flat (no emotion, a bit like cotton wool) that their is no motivation to do anything, yes that includes getting out of bed. So when someone is off work with depression instead of thinking they're weak or skiving, just think: would you like to feel like that?

2. People Choose to be Depressed
Choosing to be ill reallyyyyy annoys me. CHOOSE?! Who on earth would choose to feel so awful? Did you choose that flu you had last year or the asthma that comes back every time you even try to run for the bus. Thought not.

3. Cheer Up
If getting over depression could be done by someone telling you to cheer up there would be no depressed people in the world. That is the problem, they can't cheer up, they would love to but they just can't. That leg you broke last week, just walk on it please, you'll be alright. Not quite right, is it?

4. You Can't Be Depressed, I've Seen You Smile
Contrary to popular belief you can smile if you're suffering with depression, there are moments like that but that doesn't usually change what's going on in someone's head. How many times have you laughed at a joke that wasn't really funny? You smile to keep other people happy.

5. Depression is a Death Sentence
Depression doesn't have to be forever but just because someone has it short term doesn't mean their experiencee hasn't been just as difficult as people who have depression for years. Some people have a cold that lasts for a week, some have a cold which leads to a chest infection which leads to treatment which could lead to hospitalisation. They've both still had a cold.

Also, do not assume that just because someone is depressed it means that they are going to jump off the nearest bridge and don't avoid talking to them for this reason. Asking how someone is is not a scary thing, it is a perfectly normal thing and more often than not you will get a perfectly normal answer.

Next time you find out someone you know is depressed, don't brush it off, depression is serious and any support from you could work wonders.

Have a nice day!

Hannah x

Saturday, 29 March 2014



Today was the last Writing Squad day, woo, I'm a squadie graduate! I'm not usually a big fan of Manchester and I don't really know why but today I really liked Manchester. Today is also the day of the legalisation of same sex marriage in the UK so we went out onto the streets of Manchester to get their views on it.

I don't think I was fully prepared for the outcome of chatting to people about same sex marriage I figured that there would be two types of people:
- The ones who think same sex marriage has been a long time coming.
- The ones who think it is a sin. 
Not once did it cross my mind that a fifty-five year old man would tell me it is a government ploy so they have to pay out less in terms of pensions because married couples get less than single couples. Now that is cynicism for you right there. The same man also told me it just gave gold-diggers an extra opportunity to cash in. Really not what I had expected. 

I always have faith that I am going to meet some street preacher that I get along with but sadly it still hasn't happened. I'm looking for a street preacher that has the same views as me or is willing to have an open conversation with me, not a one that tells me I can't be a Christian because my beliefs differ to theirs. Today I tried to chat to a street preacher about their views on same sex marriage and was sadly met with her telling me it was a sin. I tried to give me usual spiel about loving everyone and being accepting but she wasn't really having it. There was no shifting her views on same sex relationships let alone marriage, however something interesting did come out of this. She told me that "love is an action not an emotion" which if I'm honest is a totally crazy comment. It is apparently wrong to have an intimate relationship with someone of the same sex however saying that love is an action implies that it's not a true emotion it's just sex. What on earth, contradiction much? I left the conversation feeling very sad that people feel so strongly against expressing love and couldn't imagine not being open-minded. 

Coaching Session Three


On Friday (when I started this blog post that time frame was more relevant, in reality it was now weeks ago) I had my third coaching session with Changemakers. I had originally arranged the coaching session to discuss some new ideas I have as I quite often have these 'bright ideas' then never make the time in my life to implement them. Well, that's not what we did, we did something more productive.

If someone asks me to do something I will rarely say no (please don't take advantage of that). Because of this I do a lot of voluntary work that I often don't really want to do or I'd rather be doing something else, this in turn stops me doing the things I want to. Thus none of my 'bright ideas' ever become anything. This is going to change. Hence how this blog post didn't really get written, I am now dedicating time in my life to do the things that I want to do.

I feel like I might finally be having my light bulb moment in my life where I will get somewhere I want to be. I have almost finished a play that I had an idea about in October and never got around to doing it. I'm doing some research into arts therapy projects. I have actually done some yoga again.

I don't really think there is anything else I want to say about this because I should be writing a play not talking about writing one.

Below is my life in post-its...I am that sad...

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Save Rock and Roll


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Fall Out Boy
Save Rock and Roll

Metro Radio Arena Newcastle
Friday 21st March 2014

'Long live the car crash hearts'

I have been waiting the best part of eight years to see Fall Out Boy live and I can only imagine how excited thirteen year old me would have been to be seeing Fall Out Boy for that is the time I was at the peak of my Pete Wentz fangirling. Nothing and everything has changed since I first fell in love with Fall Out Boy and I see this 'review' of their performance being far from a review and more a discussion on the bid to Save Rock and Roll. 

Who's to say we need to Save Rock and Roll, given that this gig was the first time in a a while that I have felt passionately about music, I say we need to Save Rock and Roll.

Rock and roll is 'for all of the boys who the dance floor didn't love and all of the girls whose lips couldn't move fast enough'. The Save Rock and Roll gig reminded me of way back when I first discovered Fall Out Boy when I was that girl looking for life's answers to be fed to her through head phones. Friday night reminded me that music will always have the answers for me and the answers appear ever more clear in a room packed full of sweaty like minded individuals.

There is no relevance in talking about the set list but just in case you are intersted they played Fall Out Boy songs, kinda predictable. The gig gave me a few hours of reminiscing back to how thirteen year old me felt when she was discovering herself, at the same time discovering her love for music and it gave me comofort to discover not all that much has changed in those six years. Fashions change, prime ministers change and futures change but one thing that hasn't changed is how much faith I have in music to be the common denominator in my life. Music remains constant and music gives hope. And in that few hours spent at a gig there is no outside world. There is peace and equality and hope.

Save Rock and Roll guys.

Hannah x

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Queerstion Time


Queerstion Time
Newcastle University LGBT* Society
Thursday 20th March 2014
Newcastle University SU History Room

'We shouldn't place labels on love, that's not cool.' - Lucy, Straight Supporter 

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From left to right: Benjamin Oakes, Alice Summerscales, Alex Guthrie, JohnPaul Melling, Elly Williams, Samuel l. Johnson and Lucy Vella

A twist of BBC One's Question Time, Newcastle University LGBT* Society organised a 'Queerstion Time', a chance for the general public to anonymously ask any questions they'd like about the LGBT* community. No question is a bad question.

A mildly predictable first question from the audience: 'How Do You Know It's Not a Phase?'

'As long as we remember we've had an attraction to the same sex, or both for bi. Any shift is usually about how out you are about it.' - Alex, Gay Man Rep

'Does it matter if it's a phase, it's how you feel at the time that matters to you.' - Elly, Lesbian Rep

I find a lot of straight people questioning that if the LGBT* community want equality so much then why do they segregate themselves to their own bars, one audience member asked just that, perfectly answered by Samuel, 'Well there aren't plenty of fish in the sea. In my home town there are about three people out as gay.'

Equally, there is a lot more acceptance in gay bars, 'There's far more confusion in the straight bars' trans* man Ben tells us. Could you imagine waltzing into a bar and someone saying 'ID mate' and you have to whack out ID with Miss on when you quite clearly look like a boy? Not an easy one to answer, but with gay bars they are far more open and accepting to this.

Not to miss out the fact 'You go to gay bars because they're open later.'

I must admit I had a little giggle to myself when someone asked why gay people rush into long term relationships, clearly people don't remember their first relationship. The guy who you sat next to in year nine maths who HAD to be the love of your life, it's 'the same with everyone's first relationship, they're awful' - Elly

How Much Bi-Phobia Do You Think There is in the Gay Scene?

'Ah, it's not much of a thing. People usually comment calling it an in-between phase. In the gay scene people are open and accepting' - Iqra, Bisexual Panelist

This obviously escalated into the discussion about bisexual people being greedy, well no they don't fancy EVERY man and woman so no they don't automatically fancy you either. I don't understand why people have so little respect for those who are bisexual, if anything it's sounds so accepting to want a relationship with some irrespective of their gender.

Why Do LGBT* People Talk About Their Sexuality All of the Time?

'Why do straight people talk about their sexuality, they talk about it all of the time' - Samuel, LGBT with Faith

My goodness I felt like walking over to Samuel and bowing down to him. Being a straight girl I socialise with a lot of other straight girls and I can tell you I've heard far more about their sexuality than anyone gay I know. Far too much information!

Obviously the evening wasn't going to be complete without the controversial question: 'to what extent is it a choice?'

'I don't choose to be transgender but I can choose to transition.' I think Ben hit the nail on the head there, you can choose to suppress yourself but why should anyone have to act like they're something they're not? We live in a sad world purely on the fact that people feel like they can't act on how they feel. Adding to this, if it was a choice who would decide:

'Oh, I'm gonna be gay and go into a world of homophobia' - Luke Allison, the Society's Social Secretary

I am a Christian and was really hoping there would be a question on being gay is a sin purely because I disagree with it so much and I was not disappointed. The question was perfectly answered by rep with faith, Samuel:

'Of all of the churches I go to no-one has expressed any homophobia. Technically in Leviticus it's bisexuality that's condemmed because I wouldn't lie down with a woman the way I would with a man. You treat everyone equally no matter who they are...who they love, who they don't love.'

The society hopes to make this an annual event, if so, I will definitely be getting myself there again. I thought myself to be quite clued up about the LGBT* community as I am quite intermingled but tonight I learnt things I didn't know. Good work from an intelligent group of young people!

Hannah x

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Watoto Mission 2015


Since the epidemic began, some 1 million Ugandans have died from HIV or AIDS. There are an estimated 2.3 million orphans, mostly due to the disease.

Uganda's health indicators are among the lowest in sub-Saharan African. Preventable diseases including prenatal and maternal illnesses, malaria and diarrhoea take a major toll.

18% of school-aged children are not enrolled in school and the dropout rate averages 66%.

Many families do not have enough food to last between harvests, more than one in four children under age 5 are stunted.

In the north, the search for peace continues amidst poverty, the lack of protection for children, scant food and dismal humanitarian conditions. There are 1.5 million people living in camps for internally displaced persons, of whom 80 percent are women and children with very limited access to land for cultivation, clean water and health and education services.

After witnessing the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS, Gary and Marilyn Skinner set out to make a difference to the millions of orphaned children and vulnerable women in Africa. In 1994 they opened the doors to the first Watoto church in Uganda. Since then the organisation has grown and supports thousands of people internationally. Support exists in the form of 'Children's Villages' which provide education in the form of schools and vocational training, medical support and church in a community setting. Each Watoto family consists of a house mother who cares for up to eight children with support from visiting respectable men from the church to provide a father figure for children.

The Watoto Mission was formed by a group of eleven young adults from the North East, who after seeing the benefits of Watoto wish to travel there and help make a difference. A large proportion of The Watoto Mission team are from Windy Nook Methodist Church with other team members coming from connections within Girls Brigade Northumberland and Durham District.

Our goal is to visit Uganda in 2015 and help out with their annual Summer camp for one week. In the Summer camp we will be using our existing experience of working with children to run games, crafts and support in worship. In our second week we hope to be able to help out in their medical centre, Baby Watoto and spend time with the families in the village. To reach our goal of visiting Uganda, we need to raise £28,000. Keep your eyes peeled for ways in which you can support us in our fundraising journey!

For further information about Watoto visit the Watoto Website or contact:

Hannah Morpeth:
Gemma Lindsley:

Hannah & Gemma

Monday, 10 March 2014

Thank You!


Age 12/13
Hello Internet!

"It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on...” - Markus Zusak,    The Book Thief

I've had a really lovely weekend with my best friend and would like to say a massive thank you to her! I've just felt really rubbish recently and this weekend has made me feel a million times better, hoping it worked out the same way for her too!

Age 15/16

"We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken." - John Green, Looking for Alaska

Thank you for reminding me that there is always laughter to be had even in the worst situations; if you can find a little laugh things seem to feel so much better. Thank you for that when I can't find the laughter you are also there to cry with me and complain about the cards we have been dealt.

Age 18
“He's a wallflower. You see things. You keep 
quiet about them. And you understand.” - 
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This weekend I was mistaken to be her sister and in a way I think this is true, I am her not-so-long-lost, not-so-identical twin. You know how some twins have that thing where they speak at the same time? I think we think at the same time and that is so much better because silence is much more comfortable that way. I am thankful to have someone understand me and to understand somebody.

I am thankful to be taught that no matter what you can find at least an ounce of strength and that ounce can carry you through the mess that you are in.

“If we don't change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going.” 
- Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

Hannah x

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Change Your Mind About Young People - NHS Expo 2014


Changemakers is a leadership development charity aimed at young people which equips young people to be leaders in their own right, built on a foundation of the Changemakers values of: savvy,  brave, maverick, loving and authentic. Funded by the department of health, the latest cohort in the northeast are using their leadership skills to enable more young people to have a voice in health care, working with twenty GP practices in particular. The modelnof leadership puts the Changemaker directly into the GP practice to feed in the information and feedback collected through surveys and focus groups from young people.

This is where the change begins. 

Initial findings show that young people dont want anything earth shattering done to their GP practice, the necessary changes are relatively small compared tothe huge positive change it could have on the ease of the young person accessing care. We've found that young people are unsure about their confidentiality rights; they would like to be spoken to in language that they understand and be supported with knowing how to actually access appointments. Young people we have spoken to hqve informed us that they are having difficulty being referred to other services and  are not being directed to alternate voluntary services; waiting rooms are bland and most importantly the young people don't know how to give this feedback

What are we doing about these problems?

Educating young people in focus groups on their confidentiality rights so that they can inform other young people by means of posters and leaflets using appropriate language. Some practices are sending out letters to young people and their parents/guardians on their 14th birthdays to let them know that they can make an appointment without their parents/guardians present. 

Delivering training designed by young people to staff at GP practices to inform them what young people want out of their services and the best way to deliver this care paying particular attention to the language used. 

Some GP practices are devising a young person's newsletter and page on their website in order to communicate better with young people, particularly to provide advice on how to access appointments and when to see a doctor or nurse.

Changemakers are working with staff and young people to map out local services that can be used as signposts whilst people may be on waiting list or perhaps to a more appropriate service to meet their needs. 

What to do in the waiting room...some practices are looking into the possibility of getting Wi-Fi in their waiting rooms. We are also utilising focus groups to devise posters and leaflets targeted at young people.

This isn't all doom and gloom though, not only do people not know how to complain but neither do they know how to compliment services. We are going to make these more visible in practices. 

I got involved with the Changemakers program to give young people a voice in healthcare and im proud to have achieved and hope that I leave an impact so thatyoung people in the future will have positive health care experiences and feel comfortable accessing their GP practices.

Looking for young people to fill in our survey here with a chance to win £20 retail voucher!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Co-Creating Health Apps in an E-health Eco System - Sarah Amani NHS Expo 2014


Starting a talk with hard hitting statistics is enough to grab anybody's attention and as soon as Amani said that "mental health accounts for 13% of the NHS budget despite 25% of the cause of the health burden" she definitely had mine for the duration.
People are not passive recipients of health care, we should be educating people to "take ownership of their own health with support" through co-creation. Co-creation is a buzz word flying about at the moment but I am starting to wonder why it is so recent; the concept seems obvious so why is it only being pushed now? The digital world is exploding right before our eyes with around 10 billion units of tablets sold compared to the 1 million units of the desktop computer when it originally came out; now more than ever people can access information within an instant, health care should be jumping on board this revolution with enthusiasm. The opinions of the people can be obtained so quickly now, it seems stupid not to utilise it to improve systems. Turn people from passive recipients of health care into active participants in their own health care. To achieve this we must marry up the person with the health condition with the health care professionals and the organisation to ensure what they are providing is what people need. So obvious!

This all costs money in a horrendous economic climate I hear you say, Amani says otherwise "that saying: doing more for less, it's just doing more differently". Co-creating health apps will have benefits across the board from supporting people to manage their own health to helping health practitioners use time more effectively as people are more aware of how and where to access support.

Evidence of Health Apps comes in the form of the Early Intervention in Psychosis team in Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust with the "My Journey App" to support people experiencing psychosis for the first time:

The future of E-health seems to be going in the direction of old science fiction films, with ideas for use in wearable technology to support both those with a learning disability and dementia to orientate them to time and place. The technology will also be able to ask how they are feeling in order to feed this back to practitioners and provide notification reminders to take medication.

The future of e-health is an exciting one which I'm sure we will all catch up with in the coming years.