See you in September

The blog (and me) are taking August as some time out. We both look forward to your company again in September. You can bump into me in the non-virtual world at Soul Survivor on 18th August, or at Greenbelt over the Bank Holiday weekend (I’m on team at the Canopy stage (formerly known as the Performance Cafe). Every blessing


We’re doing a Eurocamp in France so I’ve temporarily abandoned my 25 year expedition through the optimistically named “German in Three Months” and am plunging into French.
It’s surprising how much French I’ve somehow retained from school but this tends to be random bits, so I am listening to Michel Thomas in the car and joining in with the lessons. Frustratingly though Disc 2 is missing! I have no idea what was on disc 2 and therefore don’t know what I don’t know *laughing!* I’ve also picked up some great vocabulary from Eddie Izzard, should anyone wish to know where the Monkey is or the plot of ‘Speed.’
My mission is to speak French without defaulting to German or Makaton sign language.

Of every thirty

The comprehensive ‘Class of 2011 Yearbook’ report by Relate3 revealed an interesting portrait of the average sixteen year old growing up in the UK today. Of every thirty
sixteen year olds:
• ten will have witnessed their parents separate
• three will have suffered from mental health problems
• eight will have experienced severe physical violence
• three will be living in a step family
• one will have experienced the death of a parent
• and seven will report having been bullied

Life moves pretty fast

I was chatting to a fourteen year old this week who listed “Ferris Buellers Day off” as one of her favourite films! Great to be exchanging favourite lines from the film ….. and to know that the 80’s are still alive 🙂
Cameron: Ferris, my father loves this car more than life itself.
Ferris: A man with priorities so far out of whack doesn’t deserve such a fine automobile.
[Ferris caresses the car in admiration]

Oxfordshire Churches and vulnerable young people

For the churches in Oxfordshire, Viva would love your help in getting a fuller picture of engagement with vulnerable families, children and young people. You can help them with this here. This research will also be a part of a conference in Oxford on 27th September called ‘Doorsteps’
More details are downloadable here: Doorsteps Conference Research.pdf

Trying to explain the JNC era to young workers

JNC Knights of old.jpg
Luke: What is it?
Ben: ‘Informal Education’. [He hands a copy of “Jeffs and Smith” definitive work on the subject to Luke, who begins to leaf through it while Ben continues.] This is the weapon of a JNC Knight. Not as clumsy or random as ‘School’ or ‘Needs based referrals.’ An elegant tool, for a more civilized age. For over fifty years, the JNC Knights were guardians of community, and facilitators of opportunity for young people …. in the United Kingdom, and beyond. Before the dark times. Before the austerity wars.
Luke: [Closes book] How did Youth work die?
Ben: An entire political agenda that protected the rich but demanded cuts for the poor. Youth work was betrayed and murdered by; massive funding cuts, removal of funding for training, and a limited hub based approach more akin to targeted social work. A systematic failure to recognize the needs and aspirations of young people, a failure to see the importance of working in community, and not understanding the role played by the JNC Knights. These all contributed to ‘informal education’ being virtually purged from the galaxy. We were betrayed!