Friday, 28 October 2016

Just a girl I used to know - part 4 (lke a yo-yo)

There have been a few people who have been in and out of my life several times. They would become part of my circle of close friends - then something would happen and we would drift apart - but then months or even years later we would get back into contact and the whole cycle would start again.

Caroline was the vicar at a church I used to visit (fairly irregularly). When I first joined her congregation she made me feel welcome, partly because I was by far the youngest adult member of her "flock" and partly because, just as I was,  she was married with a pre-school child. Gradually though I noticed a certain "chill" developing between us - I was slowly but certainly marginalised in those aspects of church life that I most enjoyed. I tried hard to stay friendly and co-operative but it wasn't to be. I came to dread seeing her and so I stopped going to "her" church and all contact between us stopped. Then quite suddenly there was a community project and she and I attended the first meeting. She made a point of sitting next to me and she chattered away as if there had never been any tension between us. We ended up in the same sub-group and we worked quite well together as part of a team of 4. But then I noticed she had started allocating all the more important or interesting jobs to anybody but me and the sense of here we go again was spookily strong. This is "an on-going situation" as they say. 

Another Caroline was a lady in her 40s who had moved to a rented house a few doors away from where I live. Her husband had moved to the town when he took up a promoted post locally and she was feeling quite lonely. We used to meet up for coffee and a chat on a Saturday (her husband used to work Saturdays) but then she started making excuses that gradually got stranger and less believable. I took the hint and regular contact lapsed. Then her friend from another rented house moved away at short notice and Caroline made contact with me. This is "an on-going situation".

Friday, 14 October 2016

Remember that proposed magazine for Care Kids?

Do you remember that proposed magazine for Care Kids? I do, Ella does but I bet that most of you don't! Well the idea has been dropped, I imagine for good. In three months "almost nobody" signed up for 12 issues and issue 1 didn't, so I'm told, get past the proof copy stage.

It was back in May 2016 that I received a flyer seeking my support for the publication of this monthly electronic magazine targeted at care-leavers. Enthusiasm there was in plenty but not much relevant experience nor much financial or commercial realism that we could see.

Strangely this was going to a subscription based business model - £12.00 per year for 12 issues. This, of course, made the already slim chance of success even more emaciated. None of the many ideas for regular content were particularly original and it wasn't obvious who was going to write the 16 pages required each month. Any subscriber is going to expect around 200 pages of content (16 pages x 12 issues) for their money and creating that was never going to be either quick or easy.

The business model I saw predicted an income of £3000 per year in the first year. Income not profit. Not nearly enough I hear you saying and you would be dead right! Who in their right mind if they have the skills to write 200 pages of content would do so at little more than the minimum wage. So having ruled out paid for content the only other option is a volunteer or volunteers and that would have been an organisational nightmare.

Theo, the #2 in the organisation, is as honest a person as you could ever hope to meet so there isn't any suggestion of a scam. The other names on the flyer were unknown to me but that isn't surprising given how fragmented the world of care-leavers is. Many people  have wondered if there are many semi-organised groups of care-leavers scattered around the country totally ignorant of the existence of other similar groups? Nobody I know believes that with all the thousands of care leavers in a place like London there isn't somebody with the drive to set up a self-help group. Yet of my circle of "inside the M25" friends none have ever seen proof that such a group exists.