Sunday, May 01, 2005


Originally uploaded by Pip Wilson.


............. twenty years ago today I started work at Romford YMCA which was to my job and mission for 18 years and a home to for four of us -Joan, Joy and Ann.

We had been at the Mayflower Family Centre in East London for ten years. The toughest job I have ever done. I was battered and resilience was low. Still had lots of passion and imagination.
I asked before I started that a cupboard right next to the Y's Diner, which I considered to be the heart of this big YMCA, to be turned into an office so I can be amongst people - at the heart.

This project was an 11 story tower block housing 150 young people and extensive activity, sports and youth programme space on the ground floor. Our Flat was on the second floor. I remember standing with Joan and looking through the window of our Flat Lounge - facing us was a brick wall - the outside wall of the sports hall which went higher than the second floor. If we stood close to the glass and looked left - we could see a patch of green grass and a canal type cutting which was the River Rom. We were delighted to be in such an open environment because we had come from a tough urban environment which was all concrete. We hardly had a tree around to display the changing seasons.

Lots of memories flood ....... I will recall only two at this moment.

I used to work mornings and evenings. Regularly Joan and I used to walk into Romford town centre in the afternoon. We talked about the feeling of liberation.

I soon started a regular Monday night programme. At eleven pm every Monday I set up a corner of the lounge with TV and showed a short 5 minute video with view to starting a discussion. It did. It run and run ......... many fine relationships began and developed there.

I always worked to make this a community with a climate of trust. A place of becoming .....

..... a community like a jar full of marbles.
(If you put your hand in and remove one marble - the rest rattle into place and the removal is hardly noticed).

...... a community like a honeycomb.
( .... if you remove one module of a honeycomb the removal damages at least six others and it hurts.)
That is the sort of community I have had as my mission.
Beautiful but feeling the hurts.
Everyone matters.
All valuable.
Unique ............

hmmm ........ a reflection I did not intend but the feelings are deep but positive .....