Power to the People

So on Saturday I got up at 4.30am to get a bus to take me to London for the Put it to the People march. Considering my Saturday’s normally consist of getting some jobs done and then relaxing on the sofa listening to my team get beat this was no small effort. I finally got home just after 10.30pm!

But the UK remaining in the EU is important to me. I hate what’s happened to the country over the last 3 years or so with the levels of hate crime rising and people from other countries treated with more suspicion and made to feel less welcome. We’re not this big country that can get by on it’s own. We’re stronger when we work in partnership with other countries. I want my children to be able to freely travel, work and study in other European countries. I know people who have already lost their jobs as a result of Brexit and I know people who’s vital supplies of medication have already been affected.

Saturday was a reminder of just how brilliant this country can be. I don’t know how many people were there but a million is probably an under estimate. There was people of all ages, all faiths, from all parts of the country. We didn’t come close to seeing any sign of trouble. Strangers came together and sang, dance made new friendships looked out for one another. It made me proud to be British again and that is not a feeling I have had in a very long time.

So what did it achieve? Only time will tell I suppose. Whilst that many people taking to the streets cannot be ignored I’m not naive enough to think that our PM is suddenly going to change her mind or her so called deal!

What I do know is that if things do go badly wrong I want to be able to look my children, friends, family, colleges in the eye and say “i tried to stop it”.

Mental Health at Work

Last Thursday there was a massive step forward in recognising that mental health should have parity with physical health in the workplace.

Thanks to the excellent #wheresyourheadat campaign, led by the brilliant Natasha Devon a petition was launched which collected over 200,000 signatures. This was more than enough signatures to trigger a debate in parliament which took place last week. See – that’s how democracy and parliamentary sovereignty can work, we’ve always had it! Ok – no more Brexit talk this week! The outcome of the debate was that MP’s from all sides agreed to back a motion to introduce legislation which would put mental and physical health on an equal footing through first aid regulation.

Still some way to go but this is a big step forward, it now seems a case of when not if this will happen. The campaign has been backed by major businesses, mp’s from across the board and members of the public. I know that progress is being made and that a lot of employers are taking mental health at work seriously. But imagine if this became enshrined in law so that nobody got left behind.

Hopefully it would mean phrases like, “pull yourself together” “man-up” “get over it” become phrases of the past Every employer has to have a physical first aider, under the legislation employers will also have to have a mental health first aider. Somebody trained to spot the signs for when someone maybe struggling and for people to go to when they’re feeling unwell. Makes sense doesn’t it! From an employers point of view it should help reduce sickness, increase productivity and all that guff! More importantly it will hopefully give more employees more confidence to admit that they’re struggling knowing that they’re going to receive help instead of suspicion.

MHFA England were also behind the #wheresyourheadat campaign. They are a fantastic organisation who deliver training to staff on how to be a mental health first aider among many other things. MHFAEngland

I attended the 2 day course at the end of 2017 and can highly recommend it. I was at a stage in my own mental health journey where this course helped me immensely and gave me some tools and the confidence to be able to help others.

After the course I wanted to give something back and so I wrote a blog for MHFA explaining how the course had helped me and to encourage others to attend if given the opportunity.

Somethings a chat is all it takes.

What are things like in your workplace? Could your employer be doing more or is there good practice taking place that deserves to be shared?

Final word, if you are struggling please get help. I know it takes strength and courage to ask for help at a time when you’re not feeling particularly strong or courageous but help is always there. I’m more than happy to help point you in the right direction. Feel free to message me or get in touch.

Take care x

Now for some Good News

Last week 2 news stories caught my attention, that were just…sickening. I’m struggling to truly put into words the emotions that were stirred by the events.

I’m not going to share any pictures or links to the events, I don’t want to give the perpetrators any notoriety.

So very briefly, on Monday a video was share which showed people burning an effigy of the Grenfell Tower with cut outs of people trapped inside their flats. Then on Friday I watched a news report which showed how a school for people with learning disabilities had been vandalised. The criminals had destroyed toys, the minibuses, graffitied offensive language across the playground – you get the picture.

Your moral compass is seriously off point if you carried out these crimes or thought them funny, especially to target a place where vulnerable children feel safe, secure and happy.

The world is struggling, hate crime is on the rise – especially towards disabled people, racists are more bold and confident to spread their disgusting ideologies, our democracy is under threat from foreign interference and in Britain it looks like we’re are about to voluntarily distance ourselves from our neighbours and make ourselves poorer.

It’s more important than ever to remind ourselves that the world is actually an amazing place and that we are amazing. The two stories I mentioned, 99.999% of people will have found it sickening (no scientific evidence to back this up so don’t quote me)! People were asking, “what can I do to help the school and the children”?As it turned out, a group of volunteers had already come together to repair the damage. When tragedies like Grenfell occur or terrorists attack our way of life people come together, people support each other, the vast majority of us turn to love and compassion not hate or ignorance. We are reminded just how heroic our emergency services are.

It’s so easy to find bad news, we are conditioned to live in fear. Fear sells newspapers, fear sells full stop. If we live in fear we are more likely to spend money on things that we don’t necessarily need but will make us feel a bit better about ourselves and the world.

Good news is harder to find, but it’s there, all around us. Every day millions of people will do something kind. Communities will come together, people will give up their time to help others, a stranger will have done something today to save somebody’s life – and they might not even realise it. You are amazing, always remember that. Never let fear or hate win. Share good news, carry out random acts of kindness, make somebody smile.

As I started with bad news stories, it’s only fair that I redress that and share some stories of kindness and positivity. But first, I want to share a clip that always make me smile and cheers me up!

Guy Goma Interview

Now for the good news;

Acts of Kindness

and some more!

Let’s keep this going. Feel free to share your good news stories, your random acts of kindness.

Spread the love! x

My Country is Broke

Just over 6 years ago London hosted the Olympics. My country welcomed the world with open arms. The games makers were volunteers who came together from all walks of life to help visitors feel welcome and showed the best of Britain. In the opening ceremony we celebrated the NHS and the Windrush Generation. During the games we cheered for the winner and we commiserated the loser. In the Paralympics we were truly inspired by some outstanding feats of human endeavour and bravery. People with disabilities were seen as equals. I have never felt prouder to be British and that summer of 2012 felt like a game changer.

6 years later the NHS passed the point of being on it’s knees a long time ago. This amazing institution which should be our country’s proudest achievement is in danger of being sold off to the highest bidder. It’s staff who are angels and heroes walking amongst us are demoralised, deflated and defeated. They finally got a pay rise again this year after 6(?) years but it was immediately swallowed up by the NHS pension scheme. We have nurses having to use foodbanks to feed their families Just think about the NHS for a minute. Free at the point of delivery, regardless of wealth. Think about the times when you or loved ones have had to use it. Now imagine it not being there and instead we have private healthcare ran by the rich for the rich. Not great.

The Windrush Generation – a group of people who answered a call from the UK to make a life here and help rebuild the country after the devastation of the Second World War. A generation now caught up in a “hostile environment” policy which means they may have to provide documentation to prove they have a right to live and work here. Not just one document but enough paperwork to prove where they were each year they have lived here! People who have made a life here, raised families, contributed to society, paid taxes no longer made to feel welcome.

Instead of supporting disabled people and people with mental and physical health conditions we call them in for assessments so somebody with no understanding or knowledge of what it’s like to live with their condition on a day to day basis can make an arbitrary decision on how disabled they are and whether they are fit for work. A quick google search reveals countless examples of people who have taken their life after having to go through this process and having their support suddenly stopped.

Then we have Brexit – don’t get me f**”@^g started! One of the worst decisions a country has ever made. I could write many a blog on how we got here. Yes  – we made a democratic decision, but it was a bad decision, very bad. It was a decision made on the back of lies, false promises, bad advice. The Leave campaign is under investigation and should face criminal charges for over spending. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the process was interfered with by Russia, except the government isn’t interested in exploring it.

Carole Cadwalldr – Brexit

We have made a decision to isolate ourselves and to make ourselves poorer, well I say we, the rich won’t be poorer, they’re already making contingencies to protect themselves whilst telling everyone else that we have to leave. The thing is, we were never dictated to, we are soverign and always were soverign. Any new PM has to go and bow before the Queen and get permission to form a government!! We had a say in any law and decision passed by the EU. I’ve yet to see or hear one valid benefit that we will get from leaving and nobody can seem to name any law that has a negative impact on them.

Aswell as making ourselves poorer the decision to leave has given rise to a lot more hate crime. We are not a united country, we’re well and truly divided. The far right feel confident to take to the streets to make their opinions known leading to clashes with police and we get some horrifying images. We get a known racist Stephen Yaxley Lennon hailed as a hero.

I’ve also taken to the streets (things are that bad) and joined in peaceful and friendly protests to try and stop Brexit. I’ve met some inspiring and beautiful people who give me hope that we can turn things round and bring about a second referendum or a people’s vote, I don’t care what you call it. Everybody I meet just wants our country to go back to that spirit of 2012 where we were equal and we welcomed everybody. We know how good our country can be and at the moment we are a long way from it. Whether we succeed or not at least we will be able to look the next generation in the eye and say “we tried”.

Keep smiling x