Friday, 1 August 2014

On Philanthropy

I am constantly delighted by how many ordinary people commit themselves to good works, so this week in a private capacity I had an evening meeting with two people wanting to set up a social enterprise to nurture and develop the ability of young people to determine career pathways and to present themselves effectively at interview. Then I had a brilliant meeting yesterday afternoon (on leave) with a Christian Aid organiser who was inspirational in his life story and his vision…building links to business through linked projects in the UK and overseas. Today I read the superb Surrey Interfaith News produced by Guildford Diocese that describes so many positive activities. The word “Philanthropy” comes from the Greek – Philos Anthropos..lover of humanity, and at a time of so much troubling news internationally it is good to see and hear such positive stories.

We had good news this week that our Pqasso Desktop submission has passed its review stage and so the external assessor is indeed coming along on 26 August to make her site visit, which is encouraging.

Much of the week has been take up with preparing comments on Surrey CC’s RE-commissioning paperCreating opportunities for young people”. There has been a highly commendable, open and inclusive process of developing this paper and the associated commissions.

However, we have reservations about the focus on Employability as the strategic aim of the commissions – do parents say their hope for their children is that they should be “employable”? Do young people say that? Or do they say they want to be happy and healthy ..have positive relationships with a partner, with friends and in community? There is no denying the importance of employability but there are surely a host of personal attitudes, behaviours and skills that take precedence? The potential to be employable follows on from the acquisition of various personal characteristics.

So the young teenagers I met years ago in Stanwell who said they had nothing to do, but would not go to Staines (too far) and had never been to Central London had a self-limiting horizon that had to be addressed before thinking about skills and training.   I know that other organisations have made similar points. Our comments will be up on the website next week for all to see.

August is my “get fit/lose weight month”; I need only lose another 2lbs (1 kilo  for modernists) before hitting my target weight, so that should be OK. Little 4 hour speed walk on the South Downs tomorrow the rain I think and with the weight of full “Spanish rucksack”. I’m now applying  surgical spirit on my feet everyday now to dry them out and harden them..hmm..maybe too much information! Enjoy! 

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