Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Link4Business launches in Bushey

Par 3 Cafe & Lounge, Bushey Country Club
On the 5th September Link4Business launched in Bushey

During July / August the Par 3 cafe was brought to our attention as a potential venue for Link4Business. The cafe has been a fairly recent refurbishment of what was the Bushey Golf Club, that Audrey Mitchell (HertsPrems) mentioned to us.

Having been down to visit with Hazel Ovington, Desi Stefanova, and Silpi Babu it was agreed that rather than the cafe itself, the lounge area at the back would be more suitable.

The date was set and everyone went to work to encourage as many people as possible to attend. With 40 booked in and many new visitors, it was definitely expected to be a busy evening.

Hazel Ovington had spent the whole month inviting people along to this event and coupled with the support team above on the night the event went like clockwork...

As there were so many present and with many new people we restricted the introductions to 30 seconds (some went over) and just the one main talk which was about the history of Link4Growth and the past 8 years... just a short summary I promise you...

The regular team of Hazel and Desi are now building for the next event at the beginning of October. The venue is incredibly supportive and will also join Link4Business in the near future... Now to grow the other events in the area...

Next up is Link4Business at the Southern Cross, Watford. A brand new venue and 2nd Launch for SWHerts this month... building for that one now!

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Cooking skills and Healthy home cooked food

You can't beat home cooked food. Not only prepared with fresh ingredients but infused with the love of the person doing the cooking too.

With things being financially tight these days it makes more and more sense to learn how to cook the basics and a great opportunity at the same time to experiment with 'in season' vegetables and pulses.

Caroline Byrne has been working with husbands, young adults going to university, and people undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Life Skill awards to teach basic cooking skills. It is amazing what can be conjured up with low cost ingredients like tomatoes, onion, courgettes, pasta and a bit of cheese for example.

Cooking at home can make big savings in the weekly budget, and can be just as tasty, and way more healthy than ready meals.

The pictures show how one class of young cookery students have created some amazing chinese food on one of Caroline's sessions.

The thing about cooking is that you not only get to create a work of art... you can eat it too!

If you'd like to talk about food and Nutrition or enquire about courses 

Caroline's Cookery

If you are interested in introducing more veg into your diet then click the link below

More Veg In Your Life

Aligning company culture with values

In a world beginning to prize people who are "principled with values" it is no wonder that Integrity is becoming a much sought after quality.

As Brene Brown quotes "Integrity is putting courage before comfort, doing what is right rather than what is fun, easy or fast, and practising your principles and values rather than just professing them".

This month Victoria Hart blogs about aligning businesses with core principles and values; often these are installed (at least initially) by the owner or the team that began the business.

Often, through the pressure of work, the vagaries of the business, profit motives, or people changes, the business can get misaligned. This can lead to loss of business, staff issues, problems with clients and / or suppliers.

In her recent blog post Victoria shares how business owners / managers can take an in-depth look at themselves providing fresh insights and perspectives on the business environment and the people in the business.

Read Victoria's blog post here...

One year on

Norah McLoughlin
We can learn a tremendous amount from grief.

Below Norah McLoughlin shares how grief can expose us to the rawness of extreme emotions that we can't run away from...

"This is a very personal post as it is a year today since my dad left the planet. He took his last breath at ten to six in the evening and slipped away from us in the way that he had lived, quietly and without much fuss but leaving a profound impact.
When you are in your fifties, a lot of your group have lost one, or both, parents or have parents who are ill. You are certainly not unique in your loss but, at first, you feel like you are the only one. To paraphrase the great teacher, Juliet Vorster, grief is a dance. Sometimes it is a raging, angry pogo and, at other times, a gentle waltz."

Friday, 28 June 2019

The PHS (People's Health Service) Launches...

The 24th June 2019 saw the launch of the PHS - the People's Health Service in North Watford at the Feel Hot Yoga and Wellbeing cafe on the Imperial Trading Estate.

The PHS is an idea based on observations about Health in the UK...

  • The NHS is highly stressed as it is, but with an ageing population the NHS is likely to experience much higher demand in the coming years.
  • How could we reduce the numbers of people that need to access the NHS?
  • What if we could leap on the huge trend of people taking better care of themselves?

"Apple and Samsung (to name two companies) are investing $ billions in devices that support people in taking more responsibility for their own health"

In a recent survey, over 50% of people claimed that it was their doctor that was responsible for their health. With only 7-8 minutes per GP appointment at the GP and financial constraints too it is no wonder all the signs are that the population is becoming more and more unhealthy.

With so much pressure on the NHS and growing numbers of people with obesity, diabetes and debilitating conditions there is clearly a need for something to happen.

The invisible health team

Through Networking over the past 10 years it is clear that there is a wide and diverse range of people that offer complementary health and wellness services and products. Health is a topic that always features in conversations and there is huge interest in preventative care.

The challenge for both people at large, and these complementary therapists and practitioners is how do they find each other?  ... and... how can we find out what is available in our locality?

For individual practitioners working alone, to get traction can be both time consuming and tedious with no promise of any results at the end of it.

So what if there was a way of

  1. Bringing a diverse range of Health Practitioners together
  2. Offering important, invaluable, and unbiased information not available easily elsewhere
  3. Providing access to complementary services and products 
"all aimed at keeping people well"

  • Reducing the burden (potentially) on the NHS
  • Keep people on their feet, living longer, more fulfilling and happier lives

How would you do that?

The PHS is an Umbrella idea that provides a simple framework at a national level. This is just a way of bringing all local initiatives together under a national brand / label. This is not a business, a charity or government initiative. It is simply a way of bringing people keen on this idea together so that we are able to share how things are developing across the country.

The SWHertsPHS is a local implementation of the PHS initiative. So there is already a core team of 7 practitioners / supporters who are growing and developing the SWHertsPHS.

  • No fees to join in and participate
  • Self perpetuating... people led and people driven... inclusive anyone in wellness can be part of it, from growing vegetables, nutrition, reflexology, crystal healing through to meditation, mindfulness, fitness and mental health and everything in between
  • Can be implemented anywhere
The plan is to host PHS Sessions to bring together practitioners and those seeking information, products, services and conversations during the day and evening in different locations throughout South West Herts. All sessions will be free to attend for the public.

As the idea grows and spreads then the expectation is to broaden the venues available and the number of events being run.

For Health & Wellness Practitioners

This provides the following benefits :

  • Gain more visibility and traction by working as a collaborative team
  • Opportunity to provide information, signposting and refer to others
  • Provide access to a diverse range of products and services to maintain / improve health and wellness
  • Support and complement the NHS out in the community

For people in the community

This offers the following advantages :

  • Access to information from single location that is not easily available elsewhere
  • A chance to meet a diverse range of Health & Wellness specialists without obligation
  • Try out different products and services aimed at keeping us healthy, well and happy

Final words

This is an amazing opportunity for us to build something really rather special just like the NHS all those years ago. As more knowledge becomes available about how our bodies work, and we accept that we're all unique,  the PHS will provide an important service in finding what works for each of us on our own Health and Wellness journey.

Let's make it happen!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Camping in style with the Outdoor Group

A while back in February 2019 Tony Joyce tabled the Link4Camp idea. This then developed and was made available to the Link4Growth community; the date then fixed for the 14th-16th June... which was last weekend.

The setting just outside Watlington in Oxfordshire on a delightful camp site boasting fabulous (clean) amenities with plenty of space to easily accommodate.

This wasn't the rustic survival style camping I was used to from my cubs and scouts days though. We were just required to bring ourselves, tents if we wanted to (otherwise Tony provided all of those),  sleeping bags (covers, mattresses, pillows), ablutions kit and appropriate clothing for 48 hour period... oh and drinks as you wanted.

Basically this was... a hotel in tents. Tony and his company (the Outdoor Group) provided a cooked breakfast (fruit and cereals too), all the ingredients to make your own packed lunch, and a cooked evening meal (roast beef on Saturday evening). It has to be said Tony makes camping a pleasurable experience without the "lugging water", working out the menu, buying the ingredients, cooking (on a tiny burner) and struggling to even get a decent cup of tea and coffee (available throughout the day).

Tony also accommodates for all different types of food preferences, vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, gluten free etc. at all meals.

Plenty to do around the Camping area too. Walking, Canoeing, different places to visit and plenty of space to make your own entertainment. We assembled around the Fire Pit in the evenings to chat and drink, laugh and tell stories... on Friday all in the company of a beautiful huge moon, clear skies, great sunset and the fresh air of nature.

Myself, Silpi and Elena went on a 4 hour walk Saturday, taking in some of the scenery on country trails, and then Sunday a shorter walk that began just a stones throw from the site itself.

At £30 all in 'per night' this is incredibly good value and Tony set this up so that he could provide individuals and families with a holiday option even if they were strapped for cash. Tony also provides camps for groups (such as Mind and New Hope - homeless) as his contribution back into the community.

So much did we enjoy this experience... I think it was a first for everyone except myself... we have asked Tony if he could organise another for us? ... maybe in the latter half of September.

This is an ideal opportunity to bring people together in a totally different setting and really get to know others that we wouldn't normally meet or spend time with.

Hopefully if we manage another other Link4Camp... Link4Growth members from around the country will also join in the fun!

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

SWHerts PHS launch date agreed...

If you haven't heard of the SWHerts-PHS (People's Health Service) you may do soon!

The 1st PHS public Drop-in will be on the 24th June at 10:30am. The SWHerts-PHS has partnered with the Feel Wellbeing cafe in north Watford as the first venue to host these events!

The PHS is an initiative to complement the NHS and assist people in taking more responsibility for their own Health & Wellness. The PHS seeks to achieve this by bringing together a wide range of local Alternative and Complementary therapists, that will open up access to a diverse variety of services and products aimed at staying healthy and well.

It is intended that regular (weekly, or maybe more often) Health & Wellness Drop-ins will enable people wanting to take more care of their own health to obtain valuable and useful information. These Drop-ins give people the chance to meet practitioners and explore alternative products and services that may help to maintain health and subvert more serious intervention.

Peter Taylor the Mayor of Watford has confirmed his attendance at this inaugural event as have many local therapists.

If you are reading this and offer any kind of wellness service or product then please do visit the website "for Practitioners" here for more information.

The drop-in events are also a great opportunity for practitioners to learn about other complementary Health & Wellness services / products in the area, so please do come along and join in.

Email : silpibabut@gmail.com
Contact us form : [Enter details here]

Monday, 3 June 2019

L4G 5 Question Challenge

Back in April the seed was sown for a special series of videos. These videos would help people to learn the wide variety of reasons why people come along to Link4Growth events in the first place, and then subsequently, what they discover having peered inside.

In our midst is the multi-talented Victoria Hart, who runs her own media agency called Hart-In-Media. Please follow the links for more information.

Victoria engaged her brother Andy and together (with the stars being interviewed), in very tight circumstances it has to be said, the first two videos rolled off the production line.  There are more planned for the 12th June, and an evening 'shooting' will come next for those who work in the daytime.

Many thanks to Victoria, Andy, Ruth and Silpi for all of their contributions without which neither of these video, or any others for that matter, would have been possible.

If you are curious about Link4Growth, it's mission and goals, or interested in how you might get involved then please check out the website... and or if you live locally then visit our own SWHerts Facebook page...

Link4Growth is all about conversations and connection, talking is really important and with 9 million people in the UK being identified as lonely, the importance of conversation and connection cannot be underestimated.

Enjoy the videos below :-

If you'd like to know more then contact us via the Community Hub Contact Us form

email : sme7.chrisogle@gmail.com

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Link4Growth... your support network...

We only have to look around us these days to see that there are a lot of people struggling in today's society. 

Whether it be money, food, a roof over our heads, work, anxiety, stress, trying to make ends meet, running a small business, the list is exhaustive... no one is exempt either... our children are stressing at school with huge pressure and expectation, young men are committing suicide in increasing numbers, benefits and welfare being cut back to the bone.

Although we human beings are now (today) the most connected generation(s) ever, loneliness is at epidemic levels, and disconnection higher that at any time in our previous history...

What can we do about this?

Where can someone go to talk to others? ... maybe share some of what is happening for them? ... get signposted? ... Where people won't judge? ... where there are no criterion for participation?

There are places out there where people can connect. Getting together community groups (run by the council), churches, activity led groups (camera, art, writing, book club, sport) and I am sure plenty of others that I haven't mentioned covering all manner of hobbies. Let's also not forget there are many Meetup Groups available covering a wide range of Topics.

But what if you are not looking for any of the above... Instead just looking to go along to meet a few people, something with no pressure, no expectation, where you can dip in and out as you please? Or perhaps where you can just be yourself and meet other local people and just simply have a conversation about anything. Everything starts with a conversation... where it might lead none of us know!

Real examples:

A business failed, leaving uncomfortable levels of debt, the business premises doubled up as home, so now homeless too. No chance for support and benefits. In need of new connections, new opportunities and a positive outlook with real support to get back on two feet.

Exiting from serious depression, unhappy in work, and away from family and friends. Trapped in a cycle of feeling alone and inability to trust others. In need of reliable connections and friends and a solid foundation to upgrade social skills and grow.

Looking for a new group of people that could represent an extended family. A chance to go out and improve the colour of life, have fun, enjoy different experiences and make new connections to grow a fledgling business.

What made the difference?

Link4Growth [link is to FB Page] provides some 15 opportunities locally in SWHerts to meet each month. These range from Community coffees, walks in nature, business events, learning and education sessions, and signposting to the wide variety of other community organisations / events going on locally.

Link4Growth [link is to Website] provides a rich foundation and Access-Point through deep local connections, and experience, that acts as a springboard empowering people to "discover their own path" and "what works for them" ... we could all do with that in a world where less and less is now certain.

More information : Visit FB Page for SWHerts
Email : chris.ogle@uk.link4growth.org 

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Shooting videos to share hidden Gem in SWHerts

Victoria Hart - Hart in Media
9th May saw the shooting of two new videos in what will be a series of experiential stories from the Link4Growth community.

Link4Growth was set up back in April 2011 and settled quickly into an organisation focused on 'rebuilding community' through bringing people together and having conversations. No cost to attend events, no agenda, just a space where people could meet others that live close by, free from any requirement to satisfy the needs or expectations of others... in other words just come along and be ourselves, with no judgement.

8 years on and with a lot of water under the bridge, what has changed? In what has been said above? ... nothing. But the organisation has developed to become an Association that is owned by those in the Link4Growth community with a loose structure that enables anyone that support the values,  principles and behavioural guidelines to take responsibility and implement the ideas where they are. [... blog post with more info here]

Why these videos then?

  1. Even though Link4Growth has existed for 8 years already it is still one of the best kept secrets in our communities. These videos will help to spread the message to more people who might benefit from what Link4Growth has to offer
  2. Who can benefit from the Link4Growth Association? This selection of videos will share how people have discovered Link4Growth, what initially appealed to them, and what they have subsequently enjoyed from their participation
  3. Share the diversity of people that are engaged with Link4Growth and for those viewing to recognise that in Link4Growth they would be amongst like minds

What other benefits?

  • Those that have decided to talk on video have an opportunity to do something that they might not have been exposed to before.
  • To open our minds to what is involved with video making and the potential for our own endeavours.
  • To encourage others around the country to join in and create these insights into how Link4Growth is changing lives.

Final words

For many Link4Growth is an unexpected treasure they stumble upon. Often people hear something a bit different, and decide to just give it a try. Whatever the reason, people are warmly welcomed with a big smile, compassion, kindness and a genuine desire to help... [... what will be your reason?]

Link4Growth has been described as a space where you begin the "Journey to Yourself"... a process of finding your own way in a challenging world amongst a supportive, nurturing and accepting community... the rest is up to you!

Credits : Victoria Hart of Hart in Media for making these videos possible

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

SWHertsSkills ramps up for more practical workshops

Over the past months you will have perhaps read about (or seen, or even attended) some of the practical workshops that we have been hosting as part of SWHertsSkills. Let me first say that these aren't the only workshops going on... there is an excellent "arty evening" at the Kitchen Croxley and many others too...

However... we are ramping up. Under the excellent supervision of Ruth Lee we are expanding into some new areas...

Liquid Soap is going to make its Debut

You may have seen the various soaps (cold moulded) that we have been making... different colours, different scents and different moulds too (not shown). These are excellent soaps, make great gifts and are incredibly moisturising too.

However, lots of people prefer Liquid Soaps... you know... the ones that come in those plastic dispensing bottles. Liquid soap comes in lots of options... hand soap, shower gel / soap, shampoo even...

Debi King (enormously talented local lady) has already trail blazed with Liquid soaps making some over the past weekend... we look forward to integrating her learning into the sessions being put together.

Bottle Crafting

We have now obtained two bottle cutters. This is an exciting extension to the activities we are already hosting through SWHertsSkills

The cut bottles can be used for all manner of things from storing kitchen utensils on a work surface to a desk tidy... plant holders... or even making candles in...

No need to throw those bottles out now... let's reuse them and upcycle to make wonderful gifts, or for use around the home... no need to buy more new things when we have the raw ingredients already...

On the left hand side you can see bottles can be used as containers for smaller candles or... we can actually make the candle in the bottle itself...

Lots more ideas though... excited to explore the possibilities and putting together an album of what can be achieved...

WhatsApp Groups

We have already started a WhatsApp group for "CandleMaking" if you would like to keep up to date with events and what's happening with candle making locally then search for the "CandleMaking" group and ask to join!

We are running 3 candle making sessions in April... but there may well be 4 per month going forward.

SWHerts Link4Growth Team working hard

Having been away for the first 3 weeks of March it was plans had been put in place for people to take on new roles and assist with events...

So Link4Growth SWHerts was not only taken care of during March but we now have a rock solid team of people all supporting what we are doing with their own special talents.

OMG's : Harsha Moore is now into the 4th month of the current OMG group. Harsha is a local Kundalini Yoga instructor (and a discrimination solicitor)... and brings such a depth of awareness to all she does... such a pillar of strength for all of us

Link4Business : Silpi Babu is now working on developing our Business Development Network with our group on LinkedIn, supported by Steve Z. You can connect with both of them over there... and please if you are on LinkedIn join our SWHerts Group.

SWHertsSkills : Ruth Lee has arrived! ... Ruth has so many skills it is overwhelming... however she is building her own virtual craftmaking school... watch this space as it evolves into a multi faceted service with different people sharing their knowledge and expertise operating from multiple locations.

Community Building : This is being shared by all of us... Myself, all of the above plus David SawyerVictoria Hart, Nicola Hainsworth, Donna Charles and many others sharing events and supporting what is being created.

TalkTV : Watch this space as Victoria Hart (Hart in Media) and myself begin to share stories and exciting new ideas we can all be involved in locally...

Growth Programmes : I will be focusing on developing Study Groups both online and offline to support those who are passionate about becoming the best version of themselves, great human beings and working with their passions to achieve the holy grail of happiness... so looking forward to these!


We have a number of other activities during the month of April, May and beyond including Discussion groups, Walk & Talk in Cassiobury Park on Sunday afternoons... Sunday Breakfast and evening drinks... so please do come along and join us...

Many hands make light work... 

If you'd like to join us and be part of Team SWHerts then just come along to the events and get invovled... Link4Growth is a supportive and nurturing organisation that is changing lives...

Monday, 8 April 2019

Celestine Prophecy - Workshops

The Celestine Prophecy unleashed

We are now preparing for the physical study  groups for the Celestine Prophecy experiential guide. These will be run on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, and on the 5th Sunday where there is one from 7:00-9:30pm

Pre-requisites for acceptance on to the programme is that you must have read the Celestine Prophecy.  Plus confirmation that you can attend at least 12 of the dates below.

These study groups are for those who are passionate about their own growth and working on themselves. During these weeks we will be taking a hard look at our-self and facing some real internal challenges, so not for the faint hearted. There will be a maximum of 7 people plus the facilitator who is there to participate fully as part of the group and undertake the housekeeping.

Please do not attend this workshop if you cannot make the dates, are short on self discipline, or feel you will be unable to commit fully to working on yourself. This group will be there to support one another through some real challenges, so each participant is there for each other as well as themselves. Expect some amazing outcomes.

There will be homework for each session to prepare for the next, so please ensure you can put an additional 2.5 hours of work above and beyond the sessions below every 2 weeks.

We will have a secret facebook group to keep us all connected during the programme.

The location where it will be hosted will be : 11 Dellfield Court, 94 Hempstead Road, Watford, Herts. WD17 4JY

The cost will be £5 per week ... £70 in total

The weeks are as follows :-

1. May 12th   Session 1 - 1st Insight - Getting to know one another
2. May 26th  Session 2 - 1st Insight - Expplore the flow of coincidences in our lives
3. June 9th  Session 3 - 2nd Insight - Historial roots and personal preoccupations
4. June 23rd  Session 4 - 2nd Insight - Constructing your personal timeline of events
5. July 14th  Session 5 - 2nd Insight - Discuss events on your personal timeline
6. July 28th  Session 6 - 3rd Insight - Understanding the 3rd insight & working with energy
7. August 11th  Session 7 - 4th Insight - Competing for energy
8. August 23rd  Session 8 - 4th Insight - Practicing awareness of the competition for energy
9. Sept 8th  Session 9 - 5th Insight - Exchange ideas about the 5th Insight & building energy
10. Sept 22nd  Session 10 - 6th Insight - Parental reviews and your control drama discussion
11. Sept 29th  Session 11 - 7th Insight - Discuss the 7th Insight - engaging the flow & practice
12. October 13tth  Session 12 - 8th Insight - Discuss themes of 8th Insight and conscious groups
13. October 27th  Session 13 - 9th Insight - To discuss the 9th Insight
14. Bonus session November 10th - Review / Recap... How have you changed since May 12th?

This will be a fascinating journey... I do hope you can join us...

email : ipsl.chrisogle@gmail.com  to reserve your place...

A Link4Growth Yoga story

Back in early 2017, I finally nailed my Yoga curiosity. Uma Patil a, local to Watford, Hatha Yoga instructor came along to Link4Growth. Uma explained her passion for Yoga and wanted to begin teaching but was unsure where to start.

We got talking and it wasn't long before the idea of Yoga Curious came to Uma. This was aimed at reaching out to people who were curious about Yoga but who had never actually done it.

So we agreed that I would attend Uma's class on a Saturday, help to promote it and then work with Uma on her strategy, social media, website content, blogging and connecting her through my network.

Uma was extremely patient and not only introduced the poses but also corrected us with slight adjustments as necessary. A tip I learned a long time ago is that when learning something new, try and learn so that you can show someone else how to do it too. This helps us to learn more deeply because you'll find out if you know something or not when you go to teach another what you have learnt.

2 years on I am approaching 200 Yoga sessions, partly because I have been able to put into practice what Uma has taught me over the 18 months or so I attended the classes and is now part of my daily ritual.

I feel very privileged and blessed to have had the opportunity to learn Yoga through Uma's dedication and passion and now really feel what she said right at the start of my Yoga journey. Yoga can benefit everyone... for some... a gentle exercise, others for increasing flexibility and improving balance... and for others still part of that bringing together mind, body and spirit in a flowing meditation.

Unfortunately (for us) Uma takes her special presence back with her to India at the end of this month... but... partly in recognition of Uma's vision of spreading Yoga to as many folk as possible and partly because I now have a good repertoire of poses and some experience. In the summer I will be going through my Yoga practice (sequence) in Cassiobury Park most week days.

Anyone who would like to come along and join me to continue the legacy that has been left by Uma is welcome to do so... donate as you feel. This is a chance to do some Yoga with others in natural surroundings and enjoy the practice. I am not a Yoga teacher, nor do I choose to be one. This is just sharing what Uma has passed on through me.

I will create a WhatsApp group for those that would like to be kept up to date about the sessions, and a mini website for those that would like more information. I will also make a Video with Victoria Hart so that others can use the routine at home if not near to Watford.

Thank you Uma for your time here, and for what you have created... the Yoga will go on!

Last point... there is nothing stopping us doing what we want. We can give ourselves permission, we can start with little or no money, and very often we just need to be enthusiastic and love what we're doing. What we do need is passion, a desire to share knowledge and skills and then take action.

This is the basis of the Link4Skills platform within Link4Growth ... we can all learn and we can all 'pass on'  what we know...

If you are interested  to know more contact me : ipsl.chrisogle@gmail.com

Friday, 5 April 2019

Skyla helping us take responsibility for our own health

As part of the PHS (People's Health Service) initiative in SWHerts a new device is set to change the way we can check and monitor our own health.

The aims of the PHS are to enable people to be able to access information about keeping well, and make it easier to connect with those offering alternative and complementary therapies. Rather than just treat people when they fall sick, the aim is to provide a service that helps us to make minor adjustments to stay Healthy and lead longer, happier and more fulfilling lives.

Part of this wellness is to be able to monitor easily and effectively the key functions of the body. Two that appear to cause most anxiety are diabetes and cholesterol; linked to a range of more serious conditions if not regularly checked.

Advances in "point of care diagnostic equipment" has been nothing short of miraculous of recent times. HBA1C which is a difficult test to perfect was until fairly recently the domain of Laboratories within hospitals, with days or even weeks passing before results were confirmed.

One such diagnostic machine is the new Skyla Hi machine shown below... this provides a simple methodology to obtain reliable health checks in the community without the need to book appointments with the GP or hospitals.

The NHS has a huge shortage of capacity as you will know and the underfunding means that regular monitoring of Diabetes (HBA1C) and Cholesterol levels is unavailable.

For those wishing to take personal responsibility for their health, access to these "Point of care" diagnostic devices along with the huge variety of health and wellness services offered through the PHS will be a huge leap forward.

For more information and to register your interest in the PHS please visit this website...

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Team L4G SWHerts growing nicely

Many in SWHerts have heard of Link4Growth either through attending one of the many free events each month or through word of mouth. No surprise really as Link4Growth has been around in these parts since 2011.

Link4Growth has been through a few changes in those 8 years... in fact many would say it is hardly recognisable from those early years... in a good way I might add. Some have been surprised at the resilience of an organisation that isn't for profit... has never asked for funding, grants or sponsorship, and has made it thus far purely on the continued support of its members; those that think the Association's objectives are much needed in today's world.

If you haven't checked out some of the details about Link4Growth of late then please do take a look at the blog on the website... you can find that here.

Directly or indirectly Link4Growth SWHerts District now supports some 20+ events every month. These range from community coffees (anyone can attend - no cost) through diverse events such as discussion evenings, candle making, soap making, business events, peer support mentoring groups, men's sharing circles... and even Walk and Talk events in Cassiobury Park.

As you can imagine this now requires a team of people to deliver each month, where we all contribute and play our part... although to be honest it is no trouble as they are always fun and connecting with other local people provides a rich vein of support and nurturance to us all.

This month I am away for the first 3 weeks pretty much so the team has stepped up massively in the first quarter to learn more about how the organisation works and it is with deep gratitude that I am able to dart off to Budapest for a 7 day, 70 hour meditation marathon knowing that the team is more than capable of delivering this wide range of activities for the people in SWHerts.

Special mention to a few people... Harsha Moore, Ruth Lee, Victoria Hart, Steve Z., Silpi, Nicola Hainsworth and David Sawyer... the magnificent 7... for direct support of events... and many thanks also to Nish Thenuwara for keeping all the technology behind the scenes going too!

For an extensive list of events do check the Link4Growth District - SWHerts Facebook events page where most of what is happening is listed... Why not try an event out this month... you'll avoid bumping into me as well!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Learning from each other...

During the last couple of years in SWHerts we have been 'trialling' (I suppose you would call it) a new way for people to obtain the knowledge that they require without it costing them a stack of money.

Of course in reality with the skill and time you can pretty much find out everything you want to know these days on the Internet but it's just not the same as being in an interactive environment where you can 'experience' things, ask questions and move forward more rapidly.

The idea was based on sharing the knowledge that I have acquired which might be valuable to others where people can pay according to the value they believe they received.

I have been a life long learner and have been around the block a few times about a wide variety of things from business setup and growth, to using social media the way you need to use it, through to networking and many aspects of personal growth... you can see the extensive list of things here on a mini website to manage all these different 'Learning Sessions'.

The philosophy was... the knowledge is better off being shared with others than being stuck in my head where it is of no real value to others... and people can pick and choose which bits they wanted. There wasn't any price put on the training which meant that literally anyone could come, opening up the ability to learn to everyone not just those that could afford training...

What have we discovered from the experience?

This idea is a bit one dimensional. It relies on Chris Ogle doing the sessions... and in reality what would be great is to meet the other criteria listed below. Also, as it was "pay according to the value you received" it was often treated as "Free" and as many people stated this could have been seen as abuse of the 'real value' that was being received and of course the trainer. So...

  1. Continue the ability for people to pay if they want, using money as the medium of value exchange at a fixed price
  2. Open the concept up for people to offer a 'service or product' for the training that is agreed 'fair' exchange with the trainer
  3. Enables people with no hard cash to still get the knowledge they need
  4. Get people starting to think about what they have to offer, what skills they have themselves
  5. Begin to build self esteem and self value as people begin to witness the fact they have skills that people need AND VALUE!
  6. Encourage conversation about what we've done in the past, to unveil what we can offer, and the knowledge we have acquired
  7. Stimulate community and connecting, as we know begin to learn more about each other and who might need the skills we possess
  8. Look beyond money and develop different ways to give and receive value; reducing our dependency on money 
  9. Encourage more people to run sessions about what they know and join in with this 'knowledge sharing' idea
  10. Scaleable... engage more people to offer "learning sessions" if they are being VALUED for their knowledge

Simple example

  • A learning session for Painting and Drawing is being offered
  • Somebody would like to come but hasn't got the money £15
  • A discussion with the trainer ensues
  • The trainee is happy to cook a tin of lasagne, loves and is good at cooking, as an exchange for the learning session
  • The trainer is very busy, not much time for cooking and knows this lady cooks well
  • The exchange of VALUE is accepted
  • Win / Win


We're always looking to improve and develop what we are doing and the above which was suggested by Ruth Lee (an ex-school teacher who well understands the abuse of value and hidden work contribution) is now taking a more active role to flesh out the next stage for this exciting local community "knowledge sharing" initiative.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Kundalini Yoga - a first experience

Having been working on my Hatha Yoga for approximately 2 years, and becoming more aware, you pick up that there are many forms of Yoga.

Kundalini Yoga I had heard of from a networking group I belong to, but as a novice you believe it's probably not a lot different really, how many forms of Yoga can there be?

Harsha (my connection) was considering beginning a Kundalini class in North Watford and after a few months she did just that. The classes have been running for a good few months now, each Wednesday with the exception of the 1st Wednesday.

So what was it like?

Well... it is a lot different. My first thoughts from the one experience is that Kundalini Yoga is about invoking and releasing an energy that resides coiled up at the base of the spine and by doing so taking that energy through the various chakras. The result of doing this is to achieve, through a variety of different sequences, positions, and breathing techniques a range of specific outcomes. Each sequence (set) of positions (and there are many many called Kriyas) cover things like Love, Anxiety, and creativity... but there are hundreds of them.

It was quite hard work

Harsha took us through an active Kundalinu Kriya to awaken the 10 bodies (correct me if I am wrong about this Harsha... there is a lot to Kriyas).

Basically we went through a series of positions with breathing being an integral part of the position or movement in the position. "Breath of fire" was indelibly imprinted on my memory last night... 

There are a lot of things I recognised in the Kundalini practice of course, after all both Kundalini and Hatha are both Yoga practices... Yoga positions apply to both types but there are huge variations on how Yoga is delivered these days... 

Hot Yoga, Yoga for fitness (more like Pilates), chair Yoga and many more.

Opening up your awareness

I think last night I got a new vision of Yoga in that it can be applied in a variety of different ways on our own journey and is a vast subject. You only have to take a look at this Wikipedia Article to get a sense of where this has all come from over the centuries, and the wisdom and enlightenment that has both created it, and been created through it.

Final words...

As a very curious person which lead me to 'try out' Hatha Yoga... and a wide network of people that give us the opportunity to be curious in a wide variety of ways... Harsha has opened up a vast next step space in discovering more of the mysteries of spirituality through Yoga... as they say... the more we know the more we realise we don't know... 

My journey continues unabated...


If you would like to know more about Kundalini Yoga then use the details below to contact Harsha

Harsha's phone number : 07930 968788
Harsha's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/harsha.moore

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The dichotomy of community work...

I have spent the last 7 years working in the local Watford and South West Herts community.

Most of this has been gathering information and sharing stories about all the good things that go on in our communities, often by very humble people, who shy away from taking credit for the work they do.

Most of us applaud the work these people undertake... many people give generously when asked and take a keen interest on developments, often telling others how amazing they are and constantly cheering them on.

The success that ensues, often fuelled by the passion, enthusiasm and industriousness leads to things escalating quite quickly... before long what we have is a full time endeavour... enough for perhaps 2 or 3 people.

And here is where the dichotomy begins to raise its head...

  • Everyone agrees that the cause is a good one, even essential
  • Everyone agrees that the outcomes are good for the recipients
  • Many people feel privileged that they are presented with an opportunity to make a difference in some small way... whatever works for them


Some people are not always best pleased at the new 'project' on the block... why so?
  • Some feel that this new thing is in competition with their project and dilutes their activity
  • Some believe that this new project will work better if assimilated into their activity and seek to merge / take control
  • Others see it as a bit rebellious and therefore actively diss the project
  • Surreptitious closure or control... Sometimes money in the form of grants or support is offered as a subtle means to take financial control. At a later date when the organisation begins to depend on this money its is withdrawn, or even the threat of a reduction can amount to a financial coup

Local Authorities provide less and less services...

As our communities evolve there is less and less money available through local authorities to handle many of the activities that historically have been funded in this way. Looking at the local council finances (Publicly available) a lot of spending is on providing temporary accommodation for those in need, in a housing market that has got out of control. Low paid work, temporary jobs and zero contract hours further exacerbate issues but it is unlikely to improve going forward.

The community has responded

More and more local initiatives have sprung up such as Food Banks, Time banking, People collecting or trying to provide services for the homeless, the vulnerable, those without work and can't make ends meet, and the disabled... actually the list goes on... these are people in our community doing amazing work that used to be handled by the council. Food banks (which are provided via community donations) are now ironically seen as part of the welfare state and yet little if any money is provided via the state. 

One of the biggest headaches is...  

It is still not easy to empower people to volunteer. Legislation, rules, regulations, protection for those being 'served' and those undertaking projects makes it nigh on impossible to build a team. All people often want to do is provide a willing pair of hands, maybe help out in a way that works for them, but the bureaucracy is like wading through treacle... quite simply it becomes too difficult. 

So the work that is needed is often distributed amongst a hugely overworked small group of passionate people. These 'community angels' struggle on, often financially detrimental to themselves as this is  altruistic work.

And herein lies our greatest challenge. How can these people be supported? In any other organisation they would be considered as the cornerstone or backbone as they deliver highly vocational roles... 
  1. Doing difficult work
  2. Pouring their heart and soul into it
  3. Working unsocial and often on call 24/7
  4. Selfless 
  5. Empathetic and heart centred delivery 
But in our society... we welcome what they do, and apart from the applause from the sidelines and cheering on, they are often left forgotten... the recipients receiving the vast majority of the attention.

Rewarding those taking on real Human challenges

Many doing such work are persuaded to take up charity status... that makes it easier to raise money! ... and once more we are slowly dragged towards the rules, regulations and control of the charity sector.

Where we raise money (simplest way to guilt trip people into making a social contribution) to pay for a good cause... and yet... much of the money is siphoned off not to provide for the much needed service but to pay salaries and other overheads... effectively legalised begging to pay for the "business like" charity sector... surely there is a better way?

Consider this... how many jobs are now provided in the charity sector that are funded purely by contributions from private individuals or private companies in some shape or form?

Is there another way?

These community angels are not people looking to make a fortune and look good. Often they are humble people who derive real satisfaction from helping others less fortunate than themselves.

What they 'need' is "enough" to carry on doing the great work they are doing and lets face it most of us don't want to do what they are doing and are more than grateful that they are doing it!

No empires, no massive salaries, not out to prove they are better or more clever than anyone else... just passionate to do their bit to ease the suffering of people who are on the edge of society.

You would think that there might be a fund set up to encourage people with this kind of thinking; which is desperately required in today's society.  Such a fund might empower those that want to answer their calling to do so without the threat of financial devastation...  How many human issues might we alleviate with this or a similar approach.

Final Words

The reality is we can do what we like. We can set up community organisations outside the remit of Companies or Charities. There are 10's of thousands of associations out there doing "one thing or another" to solve a human need or bring people together. These "people led initiatives" get people talking, boost self worth and increase the feeling of belonging... delivering so much more to the community than just the problem which is being solved.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Learning Sessions to bring people together

Back in 2017 in South West Herts we began to develop the idea of Learning new things in a fun and interactive environment on the basis of "pay according to the value that you received".

Some 16 months later on the "Learning Sessions" have evolved. During this time we have enhanced the range of Learning Sessions, Opened up the sessions so that others can begin delivering them and towards the end of 2018 introduced more practical based sessions with Candle making taking the lead.

In 2019 we are going to further extend the practical craft sessions with Soap making, Art and also Colouring-in initially. January will see 2 sessions of each being offered one in the daytime and one in the evening (for those at work in the daytime). Practical sessions will mainly be hosted on Tuesdays... both for daytime and evening.

Other practical sessions coming up will be Breathing strategies (don't stop!), an introduction to Energy Healing, Mindfulness and NLP for everyday use. In the pipeline are also SEO (search engine optimisation) and CV / LinkedIn profile tips and tricks.

Ruth Lee has agreed to help develop the Education side of what we are doing in SWHerts and with Link4Skills, bringing her teaching and creative skills to the party! Ruth believes as I do that learning should be (1) Fun, (2) Engaging, and (3) Develop our creativity and problem solving skills.

We also have coming up a brand new newsletter for SWHertsSkills which will be once per month. So if you would like to be involved in Learning sessions either as a Venue, hosting a session on your area of expertise or as someone keen to grow your knowledge then please click this link to be added to the newsletter list...

Candle Making

We have now run some 6 of these sessions covering all different elements of candle making. We've never had so much fun... everyone goes away with a candle or two.

Dipping candles, moulds, home made moulds and a full explanation of the different types of wax, fragrances and dyes.

Soap Making

In this Learning Session we will be making cold fragranced soap. After we have made the soap it needs to rest for 12 hours or so when it will be ready to cut. We will be sharing how you can create your own soap recipes, where to get supplies of the ingredients and equipment needed (not much). All participants will receive Soap once cured.

Colouring In

"Colouring in" is known for it's meditative qualities and calming the mind. We will be providing a range of different designs to use on the "Learning Session" and of course books, should you want to buy and take home with you. Please bring your own pencils for colouring. If you would like to make your own outlines that can be done on the workshop too.


For many of us Art, painting, sketching is something we left behind a very long time ago. But with a little guidance and some inspiration you might just enjoy getting back in touch with your creativity.

Simple painting materials provided but if you have your own canvas, and / or paints them bring them along.

Final words...

We are never too old or too wise to learn new things... make 2019 the year you pick us some new skills... or if you have skills help others enjoy what you can already do!