Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I reflect about you .....

♥⁰◦°˚°♥are♥ ◦°˚°♥
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♥◦°˚°♥person ♥⁰◦°˚°♥


#RugbyLeague SAINTS top tries by Tommy Makinson

You know I support the SAINTS 
My birth town #RugbyLeague team.
Through ups and downs!

This is our Number 2 - right winger.
Tommy Makinson our top try scorer.
Here he is in action.
exciting stuff

Gilles Peterson, my FAV DJ for many years, at Greenbelt Festival August 2014

Gilles Peterson

Latest 2014 lineup – Gilles Peterson joins the mix

To add to the music names already announced in our recent blog, we are thrilled that Gilles Peterson will be returning to the festival this summer with a brand new DJ set called Sonzeira: An Introduction to Brasil. Or Bam Bam Bam, for short!
Gilles’ new album and his DJ set is the product of his being a fan and a champion of Brazilian music in the clubs and on the radio for the last 25 years. Sonzeira is a true expression of the real soul and authentic sound of Brazil. Recently described by Sunday Times Style as the ‘coolest DJ in the world’, Gilles Peterson can count two million global listeners to his weekly 6 Music radio show, an MBE for services to music and huge international acclaim as a DJ. Bam, Bam, Bam indeed.

Joining Gilles Peterson and our headliners Sinéad O’Connor, Stornowayand Tinariwen will be award-winning folk act Lau, Cuban fusion dance band Wara, US troubadour John Francis, impresario Jason Carter, all-women choir Gaggle, X-Factor sensation Jahmene Douglas, singer-songwriters Samantha Crain, Boo HewerdineBeth Rowley, and Martyn Joseph, contemporary brass band the Hackney Colliery Band, hip hop and jazz funk acts Stanley OddThe Apples and Dizraeli and the Small Gods, agit-punk act Chris TT and the Hoodrats, and the eclectic, other-worldly beauty of Bridie Jackson and the Arbour and Emily and the Woods.

Anne Lamott at Greenbelt Festival a dream come true for me

Anne Lamott

Latest lineup – Anne Lamott will be at Greenbelt 2014

On the other side of the pond, Anne Lamott is a really big deal. Our hunch is that after one visit to Greenbelt Festival, she will soon be big news here too. We know that she already enjoys a cult following among some here in the UK. But her secret is about to become an open one. Greenbelt is about to welcome a writer who we think will touch our nerve perhaps more than other we have enjoyed over the years. And, to be honest, we can’t wait.
So let’s tell you some more.
Anne Lamott is a best-selling American novelist and non-fiction writer. Honoured with a Guggenheim Fellowship, her bi-weekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted ‘The Best of the Web’ by TIME magazine. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock made a documentary on her life entitled Bird by Bird. She has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame and is beloved by Oprah Winfrey.
And here’s just a bit about just two of her books which will give you a flavour …
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
‘I do not know much about God and prayer, but I have come to believe, over the last twenty-five years, that there’s something to be said about keeping prayer simple. Help. Thanks. Wow.’
Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott’s funny and perceptive writing about faith and prayer. And in Help, Thanks, Wow, she has coalesced everything she’s learned about prayer into these simple, transformative truths.
Insightful and honest as only Anne Lamott can be, Help, Thanks, Wow is a book that new Lamott readers will love and longtime Lamott fans will treasure, in a beautiful, slim-line hardback.
In praise of …
“Lamott is a narrator who has relished and soaked up the details of her existence, equally of mirth and devastation, and spilled them onto her pages.”

The New York Times

“[A] prayer manual for people who wouldn’t be caught dead reading prayer manuals…”

Publishers Weekly

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair
A wise and compassionate exploration of how we can make sense of life’s chaos.
What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one other and to what’s sustaining, when evil and catastrophe seem inescapable?

Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin, Lamott says, by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time.
In praise of …
“Lamott is a narrator who has relished and soaked up the details of her existence, equally of mirth and devastation, and spilled them onto her pages.”

The New York Times

“Lamott’s pithiest, most insightful book yet, Stitches offers plenty of her characteristic witty wisdom…this slim, readable volume [is] a lens on life, widening and narrowing,
encouraging each reader to reflect on what it is, after all, that really matters.”


“Anne Lamott, you are amazing”

The Huffington Post

Monday, April 28, 2014

GIRL, SMILE! by Mone Celin Skrede

Girl, smile!

Girl, smile!
Don’t show me your pain.
Give me daisies and the smell of summer air.
I like my illusion.
You are a pebble in someone’s hand
just outside my glass house. 
Your smile will keep my skin
Just be pretty enough 
for them
to want to keep you, collect you.
I’ll hold the corners of your mouth for you,
just smile.
- For you, I won’t!
I’ve gone numb again. 
I smell of rot, daisy leaves, scattered in dusty memory.
I’d rather this someone threw me.
So you would feel
and let me feel.
Why do I always have to smile
to be good enough?
When I should smile
at someone else.

by Mone Celin Skrede


Mone is a friend of mine
we met when I was in Norway
She a journalist
at a Rolling Magazine I was leading

We connected.
Those who know me
know my passion for L5
for the journey within
She writes so beautifully
She connects with me.
What I am all about.
The inner
the hidden
the feelings
we all have

I am privileged she allows me
to publish here.

Mone you are beautiful
(read it again - it's so deep)

NEW #YMCA TOOLBOX BOOK - with flick through demo.


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YMCA 200 PAGES of TOOLS and Ideas of how to use.

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Greenbelt Youth Worker Team - volunteers needed.

GB13 SAT SM Audience SAT02 by Stefan Metzler


The Greenbelt youth programme provides young people (primarily 11-17) with a space to meet other young people, be themselves and experience some exclusive programming. Although 11-17 is our priority audience, we do also welcome young people from the upper age group (18-21).
The youth programme is not just a stream of targeted content; it is also a jumping off point and place from which volunteers can encourage young people to engage with wider festival content and programming.
Here are some of the skills we are looking for in all youth team members:
- experience working or volunteering with young people as a youth leader/youthworker/session leader/facilitator/teacher (or looking to develop these skills)
- happy as part of a team but able to use initiative
- confident to engage young people in conversation
- keen to get involved and help as required
- able to act as a role model for young people
You will be expected to volunteer two shifts of 3.5 hours per day, in the Youth Area/Venue. You will be assigned to a sub-team with a variety of duties and responsibilities to be completed across the shift.
All Youth Team volunteers need to attend a training session on basic youth work issues and child protection on Thursday 21st August. You must be able to arrive at Greenbelt in time for this session.
The whole team will be needed to stay until late Monday evening (for venue clear up and evaluation) so we suggest that you stay until Tuesday 26th August.
Once you have been accepted onto the team, we will be in touch with you again with more details in mid June.
There are a number of opportunities within the youth team to take additional responsibility. As some of the roles are limited, please indicate in your application whether you would be willing to take on another responsibility or be part of the general Youth team.



Sunday, April 27, 2014


My writing this morning on my knees

The following week 
Not as many this week 
As gathered 
On the hill 

2014 just the same 
The action is not over 
As it was on the hill 
The action is different. 

There are dropouts 
from the team 
The rest come together 
They have needs. 
Needs met around a mission 
Going forward 

Century one 
Now 2014.


London Tube stikes these 2 weeks - STRIKE MAP.

It's a bugger when it comes to travel these next two weeks in London.
I support the right for humans to withdraw their labour as a protest - very often there is no alternative for working people to get justice in terms of employment and pay.

It will be a headache for lots of humans - and me included - I'm a human.


Christian Aid and Blob Tree Communication Tools.

All about you .........

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♥⁰◦°˚°♥a♥ ◦°˚°♥
♥◦°˚°♥person ♥⁰◦°˚°♥


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Puzzle question for you - what is this?

The #BlobTree Tools in action at my recent visit to #Finland

The Blob Tree Tools in action at my recent visit to Finland 

My Starbucks boycott (& yours?) worked - they lost £14 million last year - thank you.

I started to boycott Starbucks Coffee a long time ago because of their failure to pay any income tax into the UK economy having made multi million ££ here.

I believe it is a social justice issue.
I firstly blame the UK government for not having policies in place which allow these international companies to redirect 'profit' to Switzerland etc - and avoid paying their dues.

They lost £14m in profits as a result of many people seeing through their mega modern image, and lousy coffee, and refused to stop there - even if inconvenient
because of their ever present coffee shops here and around the world.

People power still works and I thank anyone who uses their individual vote by acting justly with the faith that others will also.

Friday, April 25, 2014

My favourite POEM of all time.

My favourite POEM of all time.


They say you're available
on certain conditions.
Quiet ones.
That if I can find an air of tranquility
it carries that still small voice.

But I don't do quiet,
I am not tranquil except when I am asleep
and then I am not available
as far as I know.

what's the chance of a still big voice
in the noise,
of hearing you in the roaring traffic,
the screaming meal-time,
the crowded train,
the supermarket queue,
the smoky, throbbing bar?

I know that time you weren't
in the fire,
the storm.
But everyone's different.
Maybe Elijah was better at quiet.

You're usually quiet.
I'm usually wired.
If I try for your silence,
perhaps you could try for my noise.

Your place or mine?
I know they say you're in
the country,
but maybe we could
Meet in town?

by Martin Wroe.

‘Brasil Pandeiro' from Gilles' new Brazilian project 'Sonzeira'

Ask questions - don't just talk FACTS and give OPINIONS.

Look around you - 
there are people around you.
Maybe you will remember 
one of them 
all your life 
and later 
eat your heart out 
you didn't make use of 
the opportunity 
to ask them questions.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

If could ask you one question ........



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Such great work by the YMCA with ordinary young people and generous everyday people UNDER THREAT !!

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme for vulnerable teenagers connected him with a couple who offered him warmth and shelter

When Zubairi Sentongo knocked on David and Merrill Nelson's door, he carried his few belongings inside black bin liners. He was 17, and his arrival at the suburban semi in Wolverhampton over a year ago marked a new stage in a perilous journey from an impoverished life in Uganda. Merrill, a retired nurse who was born in Jamaica, would come to love the boy like one of her own, but when she first met him, she could see she had work to do.

"I sat him down and I say to him, black bags are for rubbish, you're not rubbish – don't use them again," she recalls. "And I send David with him to get some suitcases. He wore these shoes that were leaking. I say to him, you need new shoes. I showed him how to hang up his clothes, how to eat well. And I say to him, this is your home for as long as you want. You stay here and when you're ready, you go."

The Nelsons are one of hundreds of families who open the doors of their homes to vulnerable young people caught between childhood and adulthood. Often too old for other kinds of care, yet too young and troubled to survive independently in social or temporary housing such as bedsits, they rely on strangers to provide shelter and emotional support at a critical time in their lives. Many come from broken families, the streets, or brushes with crime or substance abuse.

Dozens of local authorities and charities match hosts with young people under these "supported lodgings" schemes, sometimes for weeks, sometimes months. As a challenging economy makes life especially tough for those breaking into adulthood, leading to rising numbers of young homeless people, demand for families who can help is growing fast. Yet, at the same time, the Government's controversial welfare reforms are creating instability in the system.

Hosts with the most: Merrill and David Nelson with Zubairi Sentongo (Fabio De Paola)Four months after he left his Wolverhampton sanctuary, where he'd lived for almost half a year, a new man, Zubairi, 18, has returned for the first time to tell his story and thank the Nelsons for what they have done. Joining them are Stanley Ifamene and Neville McIntosh, who work on the ground for the YMCA. The charity supports almost 250 young people in its supported-lodging schemes, up from around 150 two years ago, and offers 10,000 beds a night in all types of accommodation, including hostels.

Zubairi was born in Kampala to a poor family and never knew his father. When he was four, his mother emigrated to London and found work in an industrial bakery, sending what little money she could to her son and his older siblings. "My childhood was not perfect, not even close to perfect," Zubairi says. "We could never afford to go to school, the only thing we could do was hang around and try to look for food. And when we found food, we'd go to sleep."

It took years for Zubairi's mother to secure the paperwork for him to join her in London. He arrived in 2011, aged 15. "When I got here, I looked at her and thought, this is the lady that always spoke to me, this is the lady that gave birth to me." The only tear Zubairi sheds while recounting his youth now emerges, prompting
David to go in search of a tissue. "It was very difficult," he explains. "Mum wanted me to go find a job, but I had a dream. I wanted to be an engineer and in England I had the opportunity to go to school."

Not long after Zubairi's arrival, the family moved to Wolverhampton. He was determined to fulfil his ambition, while his mother remained desperate only to pay the bills. He began working part-time but it became impossible to juggle school and employment, and relations at home became strained. "She didn't necessarily kick me out, but I could see where it was heading," Zubairi recalls. "I kept seeing the landlord knocking on the door. She said she was going to find a smaller place and that I wouldn't have a bedroom."

More than 80,000 young people experience homelessness each year, a figure that has risen by 57 per cent since the start of the financial crisis, according to Citizens Advice. The leading cause is family breakdown. "Some parents literally can't afford to keep their children at the moment," Neville McIntosh says. He was born in Wolverhampton and is now a floating support worker for YMCA's Black Country Group. "Welfare reform has a massive amount to do with it," he adds, singling out harsh new penalties for benefits claimants, the bedroom tax and the household benefits cap.

"Sometimes the parents will call back and say, 'how is my daughter or son doing?'" Stanley Ifamene adds. He matches supported-lodgings hosts with young people, providing further support throughout each placement. "They will say, 'it's not that I don't like my child, but it's the circumstances'. They have just told them, 'I can't accommodate you any more'."

Zubairi had no choice but to move out of his mother's flat early last year. A period of "invisible" homelessness followed, on friends' sofas. Then came nights in a Wolverhampton park, where life began to feel cruelly familiar. "I used to try to keep myself busy to get to the end of the day and it was hard to find food again," he says. "I encouraged my friends to stay out late. It was warmer with people around but when they leave, you notice how cold it is."

YMCA support workers Neville McIntosh and Stanley Ifamene (Fabio De Paola)By now, despite his patchy schooling, Zubairi had begun studying for a BTEC diploma in engineering. A referral by the Wolverhampton branch of the Connexions advice centre then led him to the YMCA. First, the charity paired him with a host under the "night stop" scheme, a shorter-term solution that offers thousands of young people safe shelter at night only, often in an emergency. Simonita Campbell, too, welcomed Zubairi as a son, and soon applied to care for him more fully under the supported-lodgings scheme. "She used to trust me and motivate me," he says. "Every day I would look forward to showing her what I'd made at college, and every morning I didn't want her to wake up and find me in bed."

But Simonita, who was in her early 50s, had been experiencing pains in her ribs. One day, she phoned Zubairi from hospital. "She told me 'they're letting me die here'," he says. "Every single day I went down there and saw her losing her strength." Within four weeks, just over six months after Zubairi had arrived in her home, Simonita had died of cancer. Zubairi, who describes her as his best friend, was homeless again – and grief-stricken.

Ifamene had to find a replacement host, something that is becoming increasingly difficult as demand soars. The YMCA's Black Country group has 75 hosts, each of whom must undergo 10 hours of training as well as child protection checks, but says it will need more than 100 hosts in this region alone by the end of the year. Hosts currently receive any benefits due to their young charges, as well as a nominal fee of £22 a week to go towards utilities and food. Welfare reform is making the struggle worse, the charity adds, leading to increases in evictions and homelessness and greater demand, just as cash-strapped local authorities also cut funding to vital projects across the country.

Alongside these struggles, the YMCA has also been campaigning in Westminster for an exemption to a measure, under the new Universal Credit system, that would mean housing benefits would be paid directly to vulnerable young people rather than to their carers. "It could be truly disastrous," McIntosh warns. "A lot of these people haven't got the support to manage their finances. You have to think about people with drug habits."

Young people, including Zubairi, agree, according to the YMCA's own surveys, and while the Government has offered some assurance that an exemption will apply, there remains concern it will not cover those in supported lodgings. "There's also a fear that the new definition has the potential to be interpreted by local authorities in different ways," adds Richard Hughes, policy and research officer at YMCA England.

Care groups are already observing big local variations in the way welfare reform is working. Foster parents who receive housing benefits are exempt from the controversial bedroom tax, for example, but only if they have one foster child. For those with, say, two foster children in two bedrooms (the law requires separate rooms), the additional child is effectively invisible, and the parent is penalised for having that "spare" room. "The answer is to apply continually for discretionary payments with no guarantee," says Dame Anne Begg, the Labour MP and Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. "It does seem ridiculous to put this extra bureaucratic level on people who are able to support vulnerable children."

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions says that Universal Credit "will break down a major barrier that stops people moving into work". It adds: "We know that starting to pay rent will be a cultural change for some people. That is why we have ensured strong protection and support is in place for both tenants and landlords." On the subject of foster care, the Department insists that: "The important work that foster carers do is clearly recognised in the benefits system."

At the Nelson's home, Zubairi found the perfect place to grieve as well as to grow. "I loved him straight away," says Merrill, 63, a retired nurse. "He loves to touch and hug, so he's right up my street. I get permission from
him and say, "can I give you a hug?" because I could see the sadness in him. So we go to the kitchen, we talk about his feelings and I say, listen, I'm here for you. I'll be like your grandma."

"I knew straight away it was a warm household," Zubairi says. "The way that they spoke was calm, and I just needed a calm place." He thrived under the Nelson's firm but loving guidance, as well as that of their own five children. It was when they had grown up and left home that the couple decided that they had to give something back. Seventeen years on, they have fostered and supported almost 30 young people in their home, including those with signs of physical abuse. Liam arrived as a baby with an iron-shaped burn on his stomach. Now six, he is part of the family after Merrill's daughter adopted him.

Perhaps too old for the heavy lifting a toddler requires – David, a retired youth worker, is 70 – the Nelsons now host older children under the supported-lodging schemes. Just before Christmas, Zubairi was ready to take his new suitcases to a shared flat in Wolverhampton, still supported by the YMCA. "I was so sad when he left," Merrill says. He has a stronger relationship with his mother, and continues to excel at college, recently completing a work placement with a motor engineering firm in Germany. He is also an ambassador for YMCA and proudly reveals a YMCA T-shirt for The Independent's photographer.

"I think I'm a motivated young individual and I've been inspired by so many people that I wish to inspire a few other people," he says. "David has told me stories about how you can be a young man in England. He told me that people expect different things out of us and when you show them the best they're surprised. That's the same way I've got these opportunities – the most important thing for everyone is to be nice to other people."

For information about becoming a supported lodgings host, go to

Gangs, Young People in groups - and about LOVE.

This article is the nearest I have read which describes my Pipology of working with young offenders and more.
Anthony Goulet believes that to facilitate healing with at-risk youth, 
what you need is the only thing that can penetrate the street-armor 
without harming anyone…
The wounds within gang life are small compared to the wounds that cause our young people to choose a life within gangs. 
Yes, there are some things worse than death in this life. 
All healthy relationships begin with the ability to open our hearts without fear of being hurt. 

And healthy relationships end when we can no longer open our hearts with someone due to the anticipation of pain. 
Gang affiliation is one of many cloaks some young people turn to after their hearts close due to pain. 
After the light that our young people brought to contribute to this life is rejected one too many times by those who are supposed to support it, some youth hide it under gang affiliation. 
Gang affiliation is not the problem, but a symptom of many problems. And when we identify any young person as a gang member, what is really being identified is great pain.

I was once asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of working with gang members?” 
I responded, “If that’s how I saw them I probably would.” 

The irony of facilitating successful gang intervention is this: 
First, don’t see the youth as gang members, even if that’s what they present, and continue to represent. 
See them as what they are, Wakanyeja (Sacred Beings), gifts, miracles. Remember that the gang clothing, and hand signs are just there to throw you off, and perhaps test you to see if you will fall for the thin disguise they picked up to mask the pain they endured. 
Will you continue to see the light within them, or focus on the “street-armor” many young people wear due to not wanting to be hurt again?

For twenty-one years now I’ve been blessed to work with what some label “high risk” youth. 
High risk youth are equally at high certainty of a great healing & transformation. 
Miracles are not beyond anyone, they’re within everyone. I’ve been to more gang conferences than I can remember. In many gang conferences and workshops I’ve attended most of the people adorned the title of “gang expert” is due to being able to tell you everything there is to know about gang identification in terms of clothing, hand signs, graffiti, etc. 

This may be useful in law enforcement practice, but if your calling is to facilitate healing with our young people, what you need is the only thing that can penetrate the street-armor without harming anyone…Love. 

Yes, I said it, love, and I’ve been criticized countless times by law enforcement minded individuals and groups for it. I’ve heard all the clichés such as, 
“Oh here comes the hug-a-thug approach guy.” 
Trust me, I think nothing of these critiques, our calling is too great, 
and the lives of our youth are on the line, so there’s no time for ego-stench. 
Gang affiliated youth are constantly thrown into the categories of unreachable and un-teachable 
by many people in our society. 
No one is unreachable or un-teachable as long as the heart doing the reaching and teaching is full of love, 
honor, and respect.
Facilitating healing with the youth has nothing to do with blame, 
it’s about walking them back to where pain and blame took them from, their hearts. 
Unfortunately, a not so uncommon mantra from unskilled, unseasoned, or uncalled youth workers is, 
“Those kids are going to have to earn my respect!”

Let me break this down:
1. If you have to demand respect, it’s not respect.
2. If you see our youth as Sacred, what’s there not to respect?
3. Correcting unacceptable behavior is effectively done with respect.
4. Recognizing the pain behind the behavior is only seen with eyes of love and respect.
5. If it’s not unconditional love and respect, then it’s not love and respect.
6. If love and respect are not the foundation of the work with our youth, it’s not youth work.
7. Put that ego away before you hurt someone.

Regardless of the choice of curricula and approaches utilized to facilitate gang intervention, the level of effectiveness always stems from the intention from which it’s delivered. 
Facilitate everything with love and respect in order for our youth to remember they’re Sacred 
by being treating as such. 
Our youth are not lost, their greatness just got lost in the pain. 
As we facilitate healing with love and respect, we remember our own sacredness as well, 
which in turn makes the youth our teachers. When we’re willing to learn from our young people, 
they’re willing to learn from us.