Archive for February 2012

2012 is going to be MAJOR!

Eeer Yeah Hi!

Say hi to one of the new Global Poverty Ambassadors for 2012 for the Global Poverty Project

If anyone in the West mid would like to book a presentation on the 1.4 billion reasons to fight Poverty...

Hit me up!

On a serious note! I'm really excited about this up coming adventure, the people I'm going  to be doing this 'alongside' and the people I'll be presenting to! I think my first port of call is going to be my old school! Miss Evans was my Economics and business Studies teacher and I'm sure she'd love to subject her students to a lunch time presentation. Plus KE has an insanely active amnesty international chapter functioning there.

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St Basils

So the past month has been pretty busy, especially this past week. I saw Brand New live, had a few interviews, slept in a car park....or more avoided sleep in a car park, and then the NME tour with Azaelia Banks, Tribes, Metronomy and Two Door Cinema Club....WHAT A WEEK!

What I actually want to speak / write about was sleeping in a car park!

I finally joined in with the St Basils Sleep out!

The opportunity came about trough The Challenge and links I have there. The St Basils sleep out and St Basils aim as a Charity is to increase awareness about youth homelessness. the night before I'd stood outside the academy for two hours trying to get someone to buy Jonny's brand New ticket as he couldn't make it; it wasn't until after the show that I truly thought how cold it was going to be. Lets just say four  tops a hat and three pairs of tights under my jeans did me proud.

During our brief we feasted on pizza and spoke to the youth board, two of my challengers from Summer had apparently made it onto the board which I was CRAZY happy about. Jess and Sunjay (the Asian/Irish Kanye doppleganger) you see why my Summer was SO good. They quickly went over their presentation and in our 'pairs' we discussed our duties for the night. The Youth board were amazing and it was refreshing to see how much they'd put into this event especially when some of them had been so reserved when organising their Summer activities!

We prepared the site .....moved the cardboard, started heating the water for hot drinks, chopping up wood, starting a fire, blocking off the river ... the normal stuff. Gradually the young people started to arrive.....and they continued.....and continued......there was a steady stream of young people; Challenge Alumni and Guests arriving for nearly an hour. In total there were nearly 130 young people there; the biggest Challenge Society event nation wide! We were all excited to be a part of it. The mentors were all starting to question how we were going to cope with the cold and doing our duties....the challengers.....grabbed their cardboard box and sheet of plastic, found a group and started making their home for the night! They knew what they'd signed up for.

As mentors all we really did was neck cans or red bull that the red bull fairy had given us as a promotional thing, and encourage them to build structures that they could sleep in, the last thing we wanted was for them to moan, or structures that fell down....most mentors had no intention of staying up and helping Challengers re-build their homes for the night!.....yeah not too sure what we as mentors thought we were going to do!

I had the opportunity to speak to some young people ...(I say young they were the same age/older than me )....that had been involved with St Basils when they were younger and are now on the advisory board.  It was interesting to hear their different stories of how they'd ended up being homeless, how they coped, how they got out, what they're doing now and how that experience changed their outlook on life. I still cant imagine what it must be like to have been in that situation...YES I slept in a car park for a night but I was prepared, I was surrounded by my friends, I dressed for it, we'd checked the weather forecast first, I had hot drinks on tap, a fire, a near endless supply of cardboard, I was on a secure site all be it still in the midst of rats (it was still a carpark in Digbeth), we even had a band playing for half an hour.

We complain about so much and take little time if any at all to truly appreciate all that we have been given. There are so many people in situations much worse than ourselves. Whilst sat about in the car park with my hot chocolate I contemplated on just how much harder the predicament could have been but alas, I had chosen to be there..... it situations became intolerable I could have taken a bus home and slept in a bed, I had a job to go to in the morning. Since that day I have been full of appreciation for everything; down to the smallest of things. I am honoured to be in the situation that I am, with the opportunities I have available, the friends that surround me, the bed I sleep in. Every doorway I go past, every NCP I park in or bridge I go over I'm mindful that come night time that could be where an innocent member of society may be resting their head.

St Basils have 400 beds available in Birmingham for  homeless young people across Birmingham and hopefully soon they'll have some more as every night, those 400 bed are full...St Basils are currently turning people away each night as they have not got enough space.

St Basils

The Challenge

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"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best night and day to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting"

- e. e. Cummings
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