Monday, 8 January 2018

Walking the walk...Alex's Night-time Adventures!

Alex Murray recently completed the ultimate challenge – he slept rough to raise awareness of homelessness for the New Hope Trust! 

I caught up with him recently to find out about it…

So Alex, what was it like?!
Alex: Cold lol!
Of course, so what made you want to do it?
Alex: I wanted to support people, but also saw it as an opportunity to raise money.
What time did you get there?
Alex: We got there at about 9pm, watched a film, chatted…not much sleep! I think I slept for about two hours on and off.
Was it the cold or was there something else that made it hard to sleep?
Alex: Being uncomfortable. Uncomfy, plus being cold equals a nightmare! I basically made myself into a cardboard sausage roll to cope. Luckily it wasn’t too noisy, but I did have to count sheep to get myself to drift off.
I can only imagine! What must it be like for Watford’s rough sleepers, who do this every day?
Alex: Exactly…not easy. It takes some resilience; real survival.

Tell me about the after effects…
Alex: I felt dreadful. It was like having a hangover but no booze! I needed a duvet day to recovery, food…kip…etc.
If you were to do it again…what would you do differently.
Alex: Well, definitely bring some alcohol…something to sip to keep you warm on the inside. Another pillow and more layers…I thought I’d prepared for this but no, I needed more layers.
That’s interesting…so the alcohol thing…some people complain about giving to rough sleepers ‘they’ll only spend it on drink’.
Alex: It gives you a real insight into alcohol abuse – you need something to help you get to sleep but also to take your mind off it. The NHS spends a lot of money on alcohol abuse treatment.

I think I would want to drink, it sounds like a nightmare.


Alex: It was hard. I would do it again though as it is for a really good cause.

Alex - respect to you! It's easy to say the right things, but to take that step to make a difference takes courage. 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Random cafe going from Strength to Strength...

It seems only 5 minutes ago that I caught up with Jane Johnson the 'huge energy' behind the Random Cafe initiative that is making a real difference in the Watford area.

The Random Cafe launched only back in September 16th but progress has been nothing short of amazing.

Over 1 ton of food has already been saved from the bins and reintroduced back into the community. Jane is quick to add that this has been a team effort and she is immensely grateful to a rock solid core team that has formed around the project that has enabled the remarkable success so far.

The events for 2018 have already been published as you can see to the right... 4 venues now up and running each month in different parts of Watford enabling a wider range of people to join in and be part of the project.

Jane cited 3 main reasons why she believes the Random Cafe project is working so well...

  1. Built on a really supportive network of people created through the Reason coffee and book shop, and the legacy from the fabulous work and ideas of Neal Emery. These people form a real core of supporters who attend, participate and promote the Random Cafe... plus provide regular, valuable financial contributions each week. On average 35+ people visit the cafe each week it runs.
  2. The desire to create a community space that brings together different community groups and provide a real contribution to community life. This is already happening with groups wanting to assemble on days the Random Cafe is open... but the potential when a permanent full time venue becomes available is immense.
  3. The ability to provide for those that are in real need in these difficult times we live in. Food banks, homelessness and people in dire financial straights has unfortunately become common place and initiatives like the Random Cafe are making a real difference to people's lives.

Below we caught up with Jane, who was pleased to share what has happened since the inception of the Random Cafe back in September 2017...




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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Are you disillusioned by Brexit or being "Wedded" to the state?

Are you a tad more than a little bit mesmerised by events over the past few years?

Do you feel that your relationship with the 'State' no longer serves you?

It might surprise you to learn that you aren't alone. Amit Lahav started off by being quite angry about current events but then decided to channel that anger into a creative and positive idea for facilitating change.

Amit Lahav is the owner of Gecko Theatre productions. He is also the creator of 'The Wedding' which is the result of his inspiration. "The Wedding" is played out from the perspective that we are all "wedded" to the state in some shape or form. It also helps us to consider whether that marriage is working for us, and challenges us to ponder whether a divorce might be a more satisfactory course of action!

Lyn Gardner ( @ LynGardner) wrote for the Guardian back in April 2017 - Gecko - The theatre company divorcing post-brexit britain it is a great read if you would like to learn more about what to expect from the show.

We are absolutely delighted to have the show coming to the Watford Palace Theatre on the 23rd through 25th January 2018... additional to the performance for those that are interested in "Taking Action" locally there is a Workshop on Saturday 27th Jan from 1-4pm (venue to be confirmed) where the intention is to bring "change makers" together, and take the energy forward into real local projects to effect change.

Take a look at the Gecko Theatre website here... take a look at the Trailer, and book your tickets!

Below a video interview with Amit Lahav talking to Chris Ogle about "the wedding" and the inspiration behind it...