I was delighted to attended the first Rock Trust annual lecture this evening with professor Mike Stein (who, somewhat bizarrely despite his north of England accent, is Jock Stein's second cousin!).
The Rock Trust runs Underground which one of the best projects I have ever come across. It provides support for young people on the edge of homelessness in ways =that no other project gets close to. Its hugely successful but because it is not "sexy" nor easily is its success definable, (how do you count the number of young people not homeless because of its work..), its on a constant financial knife edge.
It provides in spades what Mike Stein was talking about tonight, the need for young people to have a well balanced and effect social network (parents/carers, friends, colleagues, fellow members of clubs, supportive school etc) to survive what the world throws at them. Its what he called resilience and I would call self reliance; the ability to cope. I liked what he said a great deal. The quality of our human experience is directly related to the depth of our human relationships at lots of levels.
I reflected on the difficult public meeting I chaired last night where a bunch of teenagers turned up demanding "something to do". Trouble is, they don't really want "something to do". What they want is someone to care, to help them rebuild that resilience, real human relationships so that they can deal with the fact that they feel lost, left and unloved. Sadly we spend to long setting targets, accounting for cash and sitting in meetings to deal with what is really needed but is so difficult to deliver; love on the state..because that's to difficult and you can't capture it in a strategy or a number. Fortunately for some, Underground does it instead and for that we should be forever grateful.
Keith Simpson's Christmas Reading List
16 hours ago