Creating A Social Enterprise With A Chronic Illness – The Story Of Spoonie Survival Kits

As I say goodbye to Spoonie Survival Kits, it felt only right to reflect on how the heck we even got here. Indulge me while I tell you the story, will you?

The Background

2014 Pippa really wasn’t thriving. On the outside I was trying to live my best life and enjoy being a student, but inside I was reeling from finally, finally being diagnosed with a chronic illness – a diagnosis that had raised more questions than it had answered. I had absolutely no idea what the future would hold. It was a struggle to get through each day, not only physically from the toll of ME/CFS symptoms, but mentally too. For a long time, I felt completely dispensable. I’d lost my sense of purpose, and I’d definitely lost my sparkle.

I can still remember the exact moment that the concept of Spoonie Survival Kits came to me. A few months after my diagnosis, full of listening and learning, I’d begun mulling over what I could do to raise some much-needed money for ME/CFS charities. I obviously couldn’t do any sponsored walks or runs or anything that involved physical activity beyond the mammoth remit of putting the kettle on, and I wanted to do something a bit different to the usual (albeit incredibly beneficial) care package schemes that are popular in the chronic illness community. I wanted to do something where I could simultaneously raise money for deserving causes, spread a bit of cheer, and ideally not completely destroy myself in the process.

View Post

Accessible York – Encouraging Inclusive Tourism in North Yorkshire

pippa in power-chair, pointing to outdoor sign reading 'speed limit within this yard 15MPH' and laughing

Back in September 2013 when I moved to York for university, it’s safe to say my new friends and I fully made the most of all the city had to offer. As a non-disabled student at the time, there were no barriers holding us back from exploring the tourist attractions and thriving indie businesses that York is increasingly becoming well-known for… besides the pesky student budgets and the occasional hangover, of course.

However, part-way through my degree, chronic illness inconveniently invited itself into my life. And as I’m sure you can imagine, things have never since been the same. Whilst my health has declined over the last 5 years and I’ve become an ambulatory wheelchair user, my eyes have been well and truly opened to the unrelenting and often invisible obstacles that disabled and chronically ill people face in day-to-day life. And the tourism industry here in Yorkshire, wonderful as it is, is no exception to this.

View Post

Chronically Ill Entrepreneurs: Ones To Watch in 2019

I once saw a quote reading “when you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance”, and it really stuck with me. I absolutely love the sentiment of supporting independent creators, all the more so when I know they’re affected by long-term illness too. Employment and disability don’t always go hand in hand, something I’ve discussed many a time, and as I’m sure any of the following people will agree, it’s no small feat trying to earn a living when dealing with your health is a full-time job in itself.

Below is a super quick post that’s been sitting in my drafts for far too long, where I’ve highlighted some of my favourite chronically ill entrepreneurs and their businesses. I’m sure there are dozens more I could mention too, but the following are all organisations I’ve purchased from myself in the past and cannot speak highly enough of. And if you have some favourites of your own, do tell! I’d absolutely love to hear them in the comments below.

View Post