Young people, breakfasts and hobos

May 20, 2010

A very early start this morning for a breakfast meeting (along with about 60 others!) with the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and Andy Hawthorn of the Message Trust in Manchester Town Hall.

There is no doubt that the Message Trust do some fantastic work around Manchester (and they are expanding into other areas of the country) with their Eden Projects, partnerships and buses and their latest project “Shine Your Light” provides a real opportunity for young people to change the way they are perceived by, and in, the local community.

The stories that young people have of how their lives have been changed for the better by engaging with the Message Trust projects in Manchester are inspiring, I just wish that the Message Trust would work more openly with the mainstream denominations. But, a free breakfast is a free breakfast, especially as it turned out to be a full English breakfast – something I usually only get when I’m staying in a hotel!

Walking to the meeting at 07:30 (that’s how committed I am to free food) I passed a number of street sleepers. It had been a warm night in Manchester but I still wouldn’t have wanted to be in that position. I was, perhaps, a little more aware of them than I would normally have been because, when I usually go in to Manchester, it is at a time by which they have normally disappeared off the streets or, at least, are not still asleep in their sleeping bags/cardboard boxes – they are, for the most part, invisible, and, for the last 2 days, I’ve been looking after a homeless young person.

Now, let me tell you straight away that this has been ‘virtually’ looking after a homeless young person. I downloaded an application for my iPod called “iHobo“. It’s an application written by a charity called Depaul UK and your task is to look after a homeless young person for 3 days.

For want of a better analogy, it’s a little like having a virtual pet (remember Tamagochi?) and can be really intrusive at times. It also doesn’t help when your ‘iHobo’ tells you he needs money for a warm drink and then promptly spends it on drugs (I was quite surprised by this aspect as it seems to reinforce the view that all young homeless people are on drugs and I quickly lost sympathy with my hobo as he threw away the food and sleeping bag that I offerred him because he wanted drugs instead)

But it is a reminder that there are young people out on our streets who need looking after by charities like Depaul and Centrepoint … if you have the technology, download iHobo and give it a go. If nothing else, it will make street sleepers more visible to you.


Not a blog at all

May 8, 2010

Well, I did say in the title that this wasn’t a blog. I’m just trying out the WordPress app on the iPod Touch; seeing how easy it is to write something! The outcome is that while this would do in an emergency, I wouldn’t want to write any more than a quick comment! And from this point on I’m using the WordPress app from Android Marketplace on the HTC Desire. Still wouldn’t want to write a long piece, but it seems quicker to type on the phone than the iPod..

Imagine a future …

May 7, 2010

Imagine a future in which many of the Roman Catholics in the world decide that they want to show how annoyed they are with the Pope (and, let’s face it, there’s much to be disappointed with).

How do they register their dissatisfaction? Well, in my future scenario, they all leave the Catholic Church and convert to Islam.  “Hold on a minute,” I hear you say, “That would never happen .. surely they would join a denomination that holds many of the same principles of Catholicism but is different enough to be, well, different?”  Maybe the United Reformed Church or one of the other nonconformist denominations, perhaps … but no, they all convert to Islam.

Too far fetched, d’you reckon? Apparently not. When the people of this green and septic, I mean, sceptered, Isle wished to show their displeasure with the current government they didn’t change their allegiance to a party that holds some of the same basic principles as the incumbent government, no, they went to the party that was diametrically opposite!

I mean, it’s not as if the Conservative Party haven’t made a mess of things before, is it? Isn’t their record one of the primary reasons that the Labour Party got elected in ’97?

So, we are stuck, it would seem, with 2 party politics. Maybe, in my future world, people will start to see sense and electoral reform which gives us a government more representative of the will of the people will become a reality. I hope it will …. God willing.

or, as my erstwhile Catholic friends will say : Insh’Allah