Thursday, 19 November 2015

Epic Fails and Epic Successes with Care Kids

Paul E was the editor of the 8 page email-based newsletter "Red Griffin" which was a magazine that was circulated to about 70 members of the current and former fostered and Children's Home kids in the Barry, Cadoxton, Penarth and Cardiff area of South Wales. Initially it received at least informal support from the "powers that be" but this support was withdrawn when it was decided that the magazine was both anarchic and subversive. So from issue #4 onwards it was produced entirely by the young people themselves. The circulation expanded from about 25 at issue #4 to around 70 at issue #16 which we believe was the last edition to be distributed. For sure #16 was the only issue that Ella and I ever saw and the editorial certainly read like a goodbye message.

For most of this time Paul E was the only editor with just occasional help from Tina. And this was the whole problem. It seems that Paul E had explained in issues #14 and #15 that he needed help if the magazine was to continue and when nobody volunteered that was it - gone! People that have never been involved in the production of a newsletter cannot begin to appreciate the work involved. Basically the newsletter is on your mind at least part of almost every day and while it is lovely that people appreciate what you have written offers of help are what you really need!

But despite this disappointment Paul E didn't lose his enthusiasm and he kept running the "Barry Boxing Day Bash". It hasn't always been held in Barry, although it usually has been and it hasn't always been held on Boxing Day, although again it usually has been. Didi has attended at least twice and she hopes to go again this year (2015) presumably with MagdaElla and I have never been to BBDB for exactly the same reason that Paul E has never attended our Christmas Open House - the two events are too close together. The BBDB has always been both successful and well-organised and those who attend always seem to enjoy it.

Didi has a very high opinion of Paul E, calling him the "Eve and Ella of South Wales"! So it is surprising that we have so little contact with him. We have met him only twice, once at his house (we got lost and so we arrived 15 minutes late) and once at a motorway service station (the traffic was heavy and we arrived late, again).

There have been other short-lived attempts to start (the easy bit) and then keep writing (the hard bit) newsletters for Care Kids. We know of "Between The Piers" that ran for about six months and eight issues in the Blackpool/Preston area and "Care Activists" that circulated in the Newcastle area. Both ran out of energy and enthusiasm.

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