• Kim Bailey

Meet blogging sensation & #BeInspired Champion, Pippa Stacey

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

Over the past two years 24-year-old freelance writer, Pippa Stacey has firmly cemented her position in the ‘blogosphere’ with her hugely successful ‘Life of Pippa’ blog which led to her being named a #BeInspired Champion at this year’s Olivier Awards (more on this later).

Not one to rest on her laurels, Pippa is also on a mission to grow her fundraising social enterprise known as Spoonie Survival Kits (‘Spoonie’ being the slang word for someone with a chronic illness).

Previously a pre-professional ballet dancer, Pippa became ill with a debilitating neurological condition during her teenage years, so she understands first-hand how isolating such an illness can be. The aim of the Spoonie Survival Kits – which contain bespoke items for chronically ill people - is to raise money for deserving causes, provide accessible volunteering opportunities, and to bring comfort to others that are struggling with similar conditions.

Here, Pippa tells us more about Spoonie Survival Kits and why her popular blog has not only earnt her an esteemed award, but also praise from comedy legend, Catherine Tate.

Can you tell us more about Spoonie Survival Kits?

Spoonie Survival Kits began in 2015, shortly after I was diagnosed with my chronic illness. I initially made up 20 ‘little bags of happiness’ and sold them online, donating proceeds to charity. However, the response from recipients and the chronic illness community was so positive that the project has since evolved into a social enterprise and is enjoying modest success!

We have a selection of Kits focused on specific symptoms of chronic illness e.g. the Chronic Fatigue Kit and the Chronic Pain Kit. They each contain a range of surprises designed to bring people comfort on tougher days, and remind them that they’re not alone. We also recently began creating a bespoke range of sterling silver jewellery, and our Spoonie Necklaces have proved particularly popular.

Spoonie Survival Kits is entirely charitable in nature: fifty per cent of all our income from sales is donated to charity, and to-date we’ve raised over £5000.00 for a range of deserving charities. The remaining fifty per cent is used to sustain and expand the project, taking care of behind the scenes costs and helping us to provide accessible volunteering opportunities for other chronically ill people.

Founding Spoonie Survival Kits gave me back my sense of purpose at a really difficult time, and to-date we’ve had Kit recipients in 18 different countries around the world, helped raise the profile of specific conditions, and hopefully brought comfort to as many individuals as possible… something that fills me with gratitude every single day.

How can businesses support Spoonie Survival Kits and/or donate items for the Kits?

Due to the nature of our enterprise, we’re not eligible for the majority of grants or funds and have no reliable source of income.

Therefore, we hugely appreciate the input of individuals, businesses and communities. We’re the grateful recipients of item donations for the Kits, and we’re always looking for collaboration and sponsorship opportunities from socially conscious entrepreneurs. I love to work with individual brands and small businesses wherever possible, particularly those with any kind of relation to disability or long-term illness, and I strive to give back and support them in return for their generosity wherever I can.

We’re currently seeking the involvement of local organisations and businesses for quite an ambitious project towards the end of 2019. If you’re interested in hearing more, or getting involved with Spoonie Survival Kits please do drop me an email: spooniesurvivalkits@gmail.com.

In June 2018, we were so proud to release our own charity book, Dear Chronic Illness, to five-star reviews. You can purchase the book on Amazon with all of our share of royalties directly funding Spoonie Survival Kits, and if you would be interested in stocking or promoting the book, please do get in touch.

Can you tell us about Life of Pippa Blog, and the highlights you’ve had so far?

Starting a blog was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’ve always been a writer, and it was engaging with advocacy opportunities from Spoonie Survival Kits that gave me the courage to finally begin blogging in a personal capacity too.

Living with a long-term chronic illness has taught me to find humour in even the most unfortunate situations, giving rise to plenty of what are now well-known among friends as ‘Life Of Pippa’ moments. Therefore, I decided to launch my own blog of the same name, featuring some of my favourite things: theatre and books, as well as posts about lifestyle and fundraising.

From publishing my first post in January 2017, I’ve had more opportunities than I ever thought could come from a personal blog, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Particular highlights of the last two years include the release of our own charity book, being a finalist for the Jane Tomlinson Woman of Courage Award at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards 2017, and more.

My blog even helped me to secure my current job, working for a large UK disability charity, and kickstarted my freelance writing career too.

Most importantly of all, I’m so privileged to have the kindest, most thoughtful online community of support that’s recently surpassed 10,500 people: the fact that others actually take the time to read my posts and engage with them still baffles me every single day, in the very best kind of way.

How did you achieve the #BeInspired Champion accolade at the Oliver Awards?

Every year the prestigious Oliver Awards (which I’ve followed since I was a little girl) names a select few #BeInspiredChampions: people who inspire a love of theatre in everyone they meet.

When I started blogging, my main focus was on musical theatre, a huge love of mine. Us Yorkshire folk are so lucky to live in a region with such brilliant theatres, and I started collating ‘chronic illness-friendly’ reviews of various productions and venues, in the hope of making theatre more accessible and inclusive for chronically ill people like me.

I documented the whole process of filming the promo, walking the red carpet and partying with the stars in this post, and it’s safe to say it was one of the most special and surreal experiences of my life… and that was before the miraculous day Catherine Tate started telling Eamon and Ruth, as well as the entire nation, about my blog on This Morning and I nearly dropped my cup of tea in shock…

What are you most looking forward to about 2019?

It’s recently been announced that I’m an ambassador for the national disability convention Naidex, and I’m looking forward to using this opportunity to promote my work around independent living with disability. I’m also thrilled to be an ambassador for York Fashion Week 2019, and it’s beyond exciting to see everything coming together now ahead of the week itself in March. Be sure to keep an eye on my social media if you’re interested in getting involved!

Most of all, I’m hoping to get involved with more local projects and organisations this year, particularly with regard to Spoonie Survival Kits. That’s why I’m so thrilled to find York Business Buzz, and I look forward to getting to know as many fellow entrepreneurs and creative thinkers as possible.

York, UK

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