TFN: Hi Sara tell us a bit about your role
Sara: I coordinate Beat’s young ambassador programme which is made up of 14 to 25 year olds who have a personal experience of an eating disorder. I train and support them to become mentors, raise awareness and challenge stigma, help improve treatments for eating disorders and spread the message that eating disorders will be beaten.
TFN: Is this a new programme or is it up and running already?
Sara: It has been in place before but due to funding from Young Start we are able to grow it more in Scotland. We are developing online support at b-eat.co.uk including live chats for those still struggling. This harnesses that young people are digital natives and is a great way to reach people in remote locations or who are on waiting lists. We’ve been working in partnership with different NHS staff and I will moderate and the young ambassadors will provide peer support.
TFN: You seem really passionate about the programme. How did you end up working for Beat?
Sara: I used to volunteer with Beat and then this role came about in April.
TFN: What’s it like going from being a volunteer to a staff member?
Sara: I remember after doing my first volunteer activity for Beat, thinking: “I need to do this the rest of my life.” I was committed to do as much as I could as a volunteer, saw the benefit firsthand, and had an incredibly rewarding experiences. As a former graduate of the young ambassador scheme, to be in this role, and for this now to be my job, is really a dream. I’m personally and professionally invested. To be able to dedicate and focus my time and efforts to Beat and a cause I am so passionate about, and now be in a position to support and empower young people to find their voice – I value this over everything.
TFN: I understand you are the only Beat member of staff in Scotland?
Sara: Yes, I work remotely from the rest of the team who are based at head-office in Norwich. I share an office in Edinburgh with a number of different organisations.
TFN: Do you feel disconnected from other Beat staff?
Sara: No, not at all. It is challenging not having your team face-to-face but I don’t feel disconnected as I speak to them so regularly. I have two screens on my desk – one remotely connects to head-office where I have access to all the shared files and I use it to Skype. The other I use for just working locally and I always keep the Beat homepage loaded on it as it’s got a wealth of information on it. I visit Norwich quite often. Most recently I saw everyone in London at the House of Commons where we held our volunteer recognition awards to mark our 25th anniversary. I also meet with our volunteers and people from our key partnerships on a regular basis.
TFN: Your desk seems remarkably well organised, what do you think it says about you?
Sara: My surroundings are really important to me. I like to think my desk is quite on point. I like to think it reflects that I’m passionate, invested and value connections and relationships. Also that I like everything to have its place!
To get in touch with Sara email her at [email protected].