Volunteering Matters

The Network of National Volunteer-Involving Agencies (NNVIA) was formed in 2003.  It brings together more than 100 national charities that recognise the critical importance of volunteers in achieving their mission. NNVIA charities collectively involve millions of volunteers.
NNVIA is coordinated by Volunteering Matters and chaired by Chief Executive, Oonagh Aitken

August 3rd 2017, I am at The British Red Cross building in London for a meeting hosted by NNVIA with people who run Volunteering projects

We had the opportunity to feed directly into crucial discussions about volunteering, young people, communities and local government.

We heard from Steve Holliday, former CEO of National Grid, who has been asked by the Government to Chair a Review into Full Time Youth Social Action. It will investigate the legal and regulatory barriers to full-time volunteering and consider whether the Government should take action to encourage more young people to undertake voluntary service opportunities. His report will help set the tone, direction and ambition for volunteering across government, and is likely to have an impact far beyond full-time volunteering for young people.

Colin Brown, the UK Director for Independent Living and Crisis Response, British Red Cross, updated the group on the response to the Grenfell Tower disaster.

We had a presentation from Dr Jenna Ward from De Montford University on a work intended to build emotional resilience into volunteer management.

Rosalind Duignan-Pearson shared information about the EU Aid Volunteers Programme – how to be involved, and the support available.

Volunteering Matters, with support from NCVO, has been asked to take the lead on drawing together a response to the recent House of Lords report on the future of charities.

Great to meet Ruth from Macmillan cancer support, this is a great opportunity for me to network and learn.

CCTV play song

In 2012, my musician friends wrote a song titled: ‘CCTV.’

At that time, I was delivering training to young people who were experiencing bullying and peer pressure, a line in the CCTV song that resonated then is 🎶Bystanders are as guilty as the ones who did the deed🎶


Listen to the lyrics ♫♥♪¨¯`♥

Last Thursday: 29th June 2017,  I took this picture in Eastbourne and thought about the CCTV song.

note the (wink) Smile! You’re on CCTV (ˆ◡ˆ)

Today, 2nd July 2017,  I find myself posting in Wraysbury News, my village Facebook group, about fly tipping; which sadly happens repeatedly in our village car park, behind the Old School, where I live.

CCTV is a potential solution.

I find myself again thinking about the CCTV song applying this line from the song lyrics to the fly tippers: 🎶 you spend your life in the shadows, where you think we don’t see 🎶

Our community will now need to consider the pros and cons of CCTV.  I say to myself ‘take action, do NOT be a bystander!’

Listen to the messages of the song ♫♥♪¨¯`♥
🎶 I live my life with Love, make my decisions with Love, I made that choice so hear my voice 🎶

What happened to the gift of choice
🎶…………..and CCTV.

Nacro Speaker’s House event

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On 19th April I had the privilege of attending the final event of Nacro’s 50th anniversary year celebrations at Speaker’s House in the House of Commons.

Hosted by Rt Hon John Bercow MP, we welcomed politicians, funders, former CEOs and Chairs and many other senior stakeholders to celebrate with Nacro staff and service users.

Alongside speeches from Nacro Chair, Nigel Chapman, and the Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, our service users Shauna and Lee gave moving and inspiring accounts of how Nacro had changed their lives – there were definitely a few tears in the room!

I am so proud of all the service users and staff I work with.

Jacob Tas our CEO gave a big thank you to all the Nacro service users and staff and a special mention for Mike, Chair of our Community Voice Council, who was Master of Ceremonies for the evening – introducing the speakers and keeping everyone on track.

The event was a huge success and the support in the room, which was jam-packed, was a real testament to the incredible work that all of Nacro’s staff and volunteers do and have done over the last 50 years.

Originally formed as a criminal justice advocacy organisation, Nacro soon expanded to deliver direct help to people at difficult times in their lives, as well as campaigning for improved policy. We have adapted to the changing needs of people who come to us for help through the introduction of education centres, health support, housing and criminal justice services as well as our policy and influencing work.

Mr Speaker, John Bercow said:

“Nacro should be proud of the lives they have transformed through their pioneering work. Through this work, they are saving, rescuing and transforming the lives of victims, those who have committed crimes, and people who fall into both groups. It is easy to give sound bites about criminal justice but it is difficult to put energy in to making it work like Nacro does. They give people a second or third chance.”

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Wednesday 29th March 2017, I am in Westminster, London at the House of Lords for the launch of  report listening to inspirational young people 

Youth in Focus (YIF) is a Big Lottery Fund initiative which supported Beyond Youth Custody (BYC) and 15 voluntary sector projects across the country supporting young people leaving custody.

The event celebrated the work of these projects and the young people they have supported to succeed and achieve and highlighted the unique and important role that voluntary sector organisations play in transforming young people’s lives.

Guests heard from Lord Dholakia – Nacro’s president, Pippa Goodfellow – BYC Programme Manager

The Minister with responsibility for youth justice, Dr Phillip Lee, was at the event with over 150 of our partners, including young people, practitioners, Peers, MPs, and other representatives from across the youth justice sector.

Dr Phillip Lee said: “Over the past 5 years, Nacro and its partners have established an extraordinary foundation of evidence and learning for the effectiveness of resettlement practice in youth justice – a resource that will, no doubt, be invaluable in efforts to improve outcomes for young people leaving custody.”

Suraj and Noel – young men who have turned their lives around through hard work and the support of resettlement projects, with valedictory remarks from Lord McNally – former Chair of the Youth Justice Board.

My colleagues Sarah and Pippa just before the event, #excited

BYC research finds that effective resettlement is a process that supports a shift in a young person’s personal narrative, which starts with an acceptance of offending behaviour and moves towards an eventual point where offending has ceased and the young person has a more future-oriented and positive sense of self. Evidence has identified the key characteristics that enable this process – that it should have engagement and participation as a primary focus, and that it should be individually-tailored, continuous and coordinated.

To read the full report click:
BYC Lessons from Youth in Focus

Laughter boosts the immune system

Laughter is good for your health. Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

A smile is happiness you‘ll find right under your nose.” – Tom Wilson

♥ Lighten your mood with laughter (ˆ◡ˆ)

Best moments from Dalai Lama’s press conf. at Council of Europe

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the preservation of Tibet’s Buddhist culture, a culture of peace and non-violence.

Love & Smiles Rose x ☆¨¯`♥ ¸.☆¨¯`♥ ¸.☆¨¯`♥

Laughter, the best medicine

Comic Relief was excellent last night

Love Actually made me cry, so did Billy Connolly and Ed Sheeran who got so emotional while filming in the slums of Liberia during Comic Relief that he decided to help them out of his own pocket.
👏#RedNoseDay 👍😃
#comicrelief #makeyourlaughmatter

Love Actually dominated the box office when it was released in November 2003. Love Actually creator Richard Curtis’ wife, Emma Freud, was script editor, she was replying to Tweets during the premier and revealed  Alan Rickman’s character DID have a full-blown affair!
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Billy Connolly, who is sometimes known, especially in his native Scotland, by the nickname The Big Yin, meaning The Big One, has been married to his second wife, comedian and psychologist Pamela Stephenson, since 1989.
His observational comedy is “idiosyncratic” and often “off-the-cuff“. Looking more frail as he read from autocue, the silver-haired star did not appear to have lost his sense of humour as he joked about his appearance.

” Hello, Billy Connolly here asking for your cash. Not for me obviously. I’ve got cancer and Parkinson’s and I definitely need a haircut, but no.”

Billy then told viewers why it was so important to donate to Comic Relief by introducing Bob, Jo and Margaret, who had all been affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia in different ways.
He concluded his plea by introducing himself once more to those who may not be familiar with his work, laughing:

“For those who don’t know me, I’m the hilarious comedian with a weird beard who once took all of his clothes off for comic relief.”

Billy Connolly first appeared on Red Nose Day in 1986

The Scotsman first appeared on Red Nose Day in 1986

👏#RedNoseDay 👍😃

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Laughter defuses nerves
I am reminded of my old boss who, when we were visiting a prospective client for the first time, would turn to me in earshot of the receptionist and say ‘I am a very important man’
Sometimes the most inappropriate things can lighten the mood!


Job searching over the festive period


This article is by
Hays’ Specialist Recruitment business, founded as the Career Care Group in 1969 by former CEO Denis Waxman. This business was acquired by Hays plc in 1986, the Specialist Recruitment business forming part of the diversified larger Hays group.

The festive season is upon us and most of us are looking forward to spending a well-earned break with friends, family, and even some time to ourselves.  There is a tendency to see this period as “downtime” and so it should be, you have worked hard for it all year after all.

However, if you are already dreading going back to work before the holidays have even started, 2017 could be time for a change – and it’s important you use this free time strategically.

Despite all the distractions of the festive period, if you really are committed to finding yourself the perfect job in 2017, you must take a proactive approach to job searching during at least some of your time off.  There are probably various myths you may have heard about the effectiveness of job searching over the festive period. Many believe that job searching over the holidays is a pointless exercise. However, don’t let these perceptions deter you. In this blog, I want to dispel these myths in favour of the reality.

Myth #1: I should switch off my work brain

As I mentioned in the introduction, this is the end of a long year. A lot of people want to completely switch off their brain from anything work related and just relax.

The reality: Turn it down, don’t switch it off

Yes, the festive period is a time to wind-down mentally – this is important and everyone needs a break. However you also deserve to enjoy your job in 2017. Therefore you should turn down your business brain, but don’t switch it off completely.

This is the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by. What have you enjoyed? What have you disliked? Which goals did you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, and have they been achieved? Use these answers to guide you towards your next adventure.

Myth #2: Job searching will get in the way of my plans

In a similar vein to the above, you will have planned to relax during this period by catching up with friends, family, even TV shows! You won’t be the only one who intends to spend the festive period eating, drinking and being merry.

The reality: You can do both

Set some time aside to search for jobs, even if it’s just a couple of hours for your first few days off.  Do this right at the beginning so it’s out of the way early and you can relax for the rest of the time. You can get a lot done in two hours, even if it is from the comfort of your sofa whilst eating mince pies. You’re still getting a good end of year break, but whilst investing your time in the year ahead.

Myth #3: Lots of other people will be job searching – there will be too much competition

Even if you are sold on the idea of job searching over the festive period, surely every other job seeker is using their time off to do the same?

The reality: You will actually have a head start

In actual fact, many job seekers will put off job searching over the festive period. Others will postpone job searching until the New Year, typically associating it with “new year’s resolutions” as opposed to festive activity. Therefore, you can get a head start on the competition by updating and sending out your CV as soon as you start your Christmas break.

Myth #4: No one will look at my CV over the festive period

As recruiters and their clients wind down towards the Christmas break, job seekers make the assumption that there is no point updating their CV applying for roles, because no one will read it.

The reality: Your CV will stand out more

Whilst many departments will be starting to slow down, senior stakeholders, including hiring managers, will still be checking their emails.  What’s more, these stakeholders will be feeling less busy, and therefore more receptive to the applications that are sent through. Therefore this is your chance to grab their attention during their quietest period.

Myth #5: No one hires in the New Year

Following the festive break, many companies hit the ground running in January.  They often get caught up in other elements of the business, such as reassessing sales targets, looking at new marketing strategies plus other workplace needs. Some take this to mean that expanding the workforce is lower down on the priority list; therefore your application that you worked so hard on over Christmas may get ignored.

The reality: Yes they do!

January can also be peak time for hiring the people to implement these new workforce needs, especially if companies have just been given their annual hiring budget. In addition, hiring decisions won’t get made if certain people aren’t in the office. January is when key decision makers to return from their Christmas break; ready to lead the business into the New Year.

In summary, the festive period is the perfect time to job search. Everybody is less busy – including yourself. You have a head start on the competition plus your CV will stand out more. Remember it’s all about balance – so make sure you still wind down and take a well-earned break – with a view of achieving career success in 2017.

What’s next?

Now you are ready to begin your festive job search, follow the below steps

  1. Ask yourself what it is you want from your new job. What kind of role do you want to do in 2017? Is it the same or different to your current role? What type of employer do you want to work for?
  2. Use these answers to steer you search, and start looking on your local Hays website, job boards and LinkedIn
  3. Tailor your CV to the keywords listed on the desired job adverts that come up, and make sure it is up to scratch with the latest CV standards.
  4. Strategically reach out and network with relevant contacts both online (e.g.- connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn)  and offline (e.g.- festive social activities, networking events happening either now or in the new year).
  5. Brush up on your interview skills, so that when you get that call from a client or recruiter asking you to come in and discuss the role further-you are ready to wow them!

Job search

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
☆¨¯`♥ ¸.☆¨¯`♥ ¸.☆¨¯`♥☆¨¯`♥ ¸.☆¨¯`♥ ¸.☆¨¯`♥

Leadership Training from Robbins-Madanes

Learn world class intervention and communication skills from the masters.

Leadership in times of crisis

I have viewed this incredible film many times and it has an effect every time. We can change the world and it starts with me.

More videos

Robbins-Madanes Training provides Strategic Intervention Life Coach Certification Programs. You can learn more about becoming a student at Our students are helping people around the world to lead happier and more fulfilled lives. Founders of RMTCenter are Tony Robbins, Cloe Madanes, Mark Peysha, and Magali Peysha.

“Strive for balance rather than perfection. Most people live in a black-and-white world where they think that they’re either a volunteer with no life of their own, or just a materialistic, achievement-oriented person who doesn’t care to make a difference. Don’t fall into this trap. Life is a balance between giving and receiving, between taking care of yourself and taking care of others.”

Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within, p. 509

Anthony Robbins is an American businessman, author, and philanthropist, he writes about subjects such as health and energy, overcoming fears, building wealth, persuasive communication, and enhancing relationships.

– Find out more about Anthony Robbins here:


Open Road recovery service

I attended Clinks service user involvement event on Friday 21st October 2016

The event included a presentation from Open Road (drugs, alcohol service) led by Anna Trudgian, Operations Manager at Open Road, a charity providing individual care and practical help across East Anglia, to empower individuals, families and communities in their journey of recovery from the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and other addictions.

Open Road service users also attended and they played a moving video describing the difference the service they received made to them.

The service users created the video independently and it was a wonderful testimonial to the services Open Road offer.

Open Road drop in events are FREE to service users to support their own recovery.

There is a list below of events in Loughton, Harlow and Waltham Abbey

Services include Mindfulness and Auricular Acupuncture.



*¨*•.¸¸• ♪ ☆✿⁀⋱‿❀

Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.


Auriculotherapy, or auricular therapy, or ear acupuncture, or auriculoacupuncture is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem which reflects the entire body, represented on the auricle, the outer portion of the ear.
Conditions affecting the physical, mental or emotional health of the patient are assumed to be treatable by stimulation of the surface of the ear exclusively.
Similar mappings are used in many areas of the body, including the practices of reflexology and iridology. These mappings were not originally based on or supported by any medical or scientific evidence.

Auricular Acupuncture



I have a new role at Nacro, social justice charity.

Being the voice for our service users in Nacro Housing, Justice and Health and Education across England & Wales. I am very excited about the community voice role; it is right up my street 😃👍🏻 — feeling happy.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone and deeply listening to their suggestions, complaints, compliments, concerns and needs.

This post is about active listening.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”— Ralph Nichols

In fact the biggest compliment you can pay to another person is to LISTEN to them

To be PRESENT in the moment and really hear the other person

Not always easy to do as the mind wanders and most people listen with the intent to reply; which means they are formulating their response in their heads and may miss the essence of what is being said or they are listening through their own filters (the unique way they see the world) and making assumptions.
The danger of assumptions, they make an ass of you and me! ass/u/me

“Really effective communication requires dealing with what is being said versus what is added to what is being said by our view of life,” says David Cunningham, a communications expert and program leader for Landmark Education 

“Silence is a source of great strength.”— Lao Tzu

My Landmark training taught me that it is in the moments of silence in conversation, in the pause, that understanding and a true connection is made.

“Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.”— Phillip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield

So how can we change our way of listening so that we genuinely hear what others are telling? Landmark David Cunningham offers a few tips:

Understand the relationship between language, emotions and our interpretations of events.

 what is being said from your interpretations. This is why in order to truly recover from traumas such as childhood sexual abuse; people must learn to separate what happened to them from feelings of shame, self-criticism and worthlessness.

Know yourself.  The way other people treat you does not determine the quality of your life. Distinguish who you are at the core of your being from your experiences, and live in that “domain of being.”

Discover unrealised potential. Consider that language can be used not just to discuss the world around us, but to create new possibilities and relationships.

To make a change

Listen to this 6 minute clip:

  1. Practice mindfulness: Be aware and attentive to reduce reactivity and stress.
  2. Figure out what you are committed to that has you complain.
  3. Then make an invitation or request – to turn the complaint into new action.
  • Notice you are complaining / gossiping.
  • Notice what the complaint is (what it means to you) – be really clear.
  • See what you are committed to that has you complain in the first place.
  • Share your commitment with a request for new action.