Archives for category: charity

The reasonably fit and the super fit (not only those well prepared physically and mentally who train all year long as amateurs but also the obvious sports industry professionals) can be spotted a mile away as they just glide effortless through the entire event. These are the ones who cross the finish line fresh as daisies and recover fairly quickly too.

Women running on road in early morning

As for the others, most of them don’t perform so brilliantly as you can perfectly see at the very end their strained faces contorted with the agonizing pain of the compounded effort. In fact, everything about them tells you they got more than they bargained for. I can only imagine they actually left respective homes wearing a t-shirt and trainers thinking that alone would qualify them as fit for purpose.

This scenario seems unbelievable and surreal if you consider this country has sports bodies and authorities for everything and special grants programmes to create Olympic champions!

Feeling too much of the burn

That brings me to this following question: why is there nobody responsible for ensuring these participants at least check the level of fitness or wellbeing before the events takes place? Whys is there no one responsible to ensure these participants do a check up with their respective GPs?

In the recent years how many people have injured themselves or died while playing bravado, just dragging their exhausted feet towards the finish line? Where does the liability for their welfare lie? Is it the charities they are meant to be supporting? Is it the organizers? Is it the participants themselves?

Track Cycling Scene Stock Photo

In case it is the latter, then unfortunately the scenario is quite bleak…as the ignorance displayed, lack of discernment and pointless bravado are a toxic combination present in most participants who sadly can’t even identify the body signs of danger.

It is about time something is done to stop or prevent more tragedies from happening in the future.

 

Everybody loves a good charity event. On a regular basis they are regarded as a wonderful experience, they get a lot of press coverage as they represent something worth supporting and being involved with.

You also see people of all ages, nationalities, ethnicities and socio- economic backgrounds participating happily.

Marathon, street runners  in spring day

At each event there are many parties are involved at different levels: there is the effort of the organizers and sponsors in materializing the whole operation from scratch, there is the effort of the charities that are desperate to fundraise in order to finance their good causes, the actual participants also contribute by gracing the event with their presence and paying a fee and finally you get to see their respective families and friends offering their deepest warmth and love to encourage the endurance, strength or speed prowess.

From this angle absolutely everything seems set in place for success and things fit together to complement each other’s role perfectly.

cancer awareness  cycling race or competition. ride for a good cause and charity

Therefore I wonder (after witnessing so many of those charity sports events) how is it possible that all too often I see people exerting themselves whilst displaying a complete lack of knowledge about sports technique, nutrition and hydration?

Easily one can tell the wise from the fool! Some can’t even breathe correctly or position their own bodies in an optimal way to reduce physical effort and maximize overall performance. These people basically don’t have a clue about what they are doing! They are nothing but sad, tragic characters! All too often they endanger themselves and others by injuring themselves, tripping and falling their way into the emergency services when that could easily have been prevented in the first place.

painful running injury

Since the beginning of the recession massive jobs cuts took place in every sector and the economy gradually sank into deep trouble.

People turned towards self employment, volunteering, work placements and internships as potential constructive alternatives.

Now with the Brexit uncertainty is back looming in the air and people fear the worst before things may eventually get better.

Recession Recovery signpost

As everybody knows by now, both work placements and internships have been notoriously in the media for the wrong reasons.

Many have voiced openly for both to be scrapped completely as they only seem accessible for the wealthy offspring of well connected families.

In addition, many companies sign up for work placement programmes only so they can get the government’s grants. Unfortunately a significant proportion of BME and migrant population are systematically exploited, abused and rejected under such programmes… as many union bodies have already exposed the dark scenario openly.

With volunteering, a risk has been taken to drive it to almost form a substitute for the State social responsibilities (remember the big society concept?), instead of providing a simple complement to its primary role.

Diverse Hands Holding The Word Volunteer

The idea alone of relying on volunteers to take over the State’s responsibilities in terms of providing vital services to society’s vulnerable members just to cut back on expenses is like threading on dangerous ground.

People volunteer out of the goodness of their hearts for a certain period of time but they simply cannot volunteer forever! They have their own personal lives and other obligations too.

Anyway, since the beginning of the recession as the jobs became scarce, more and more people fell into desperate situations and start to regard volunteering as a way to step into paid employment again.

Unfortunately many were simply taken for granted, pressured, deceived, exploited and abused, so much so they would not recommend it to anybody they know. I have learned of several horror stories about people volunteering for more than a year and still not being offered a role in the organization!?

Large foot about to tramp a row of people

Ultimately this is exactly where volunteering goes wrong as it abuses the good will of people who just end up being regarded as basically quick, disposable, cheap labour.

Volunteering does not have to be like this! Done correctly it contributes towards enhancing one’s life and society as well.

There is a valid need to re-habilitate the true meaning of volunteering and regain the trust of people in a constructive and appropriate manner. The sooner this happens the better for all those involved.

 

Last year London was granted the honour of being the European Capital of Europe. Consequently several events and activities took place throughout the year to mark the auspicious occasion.

Volunteering has had a massive impact in the UK for many generations and the charity sector has through the years stepped in to complement the role of the State working in tandem.

In general, the public, private and charity sectors staff have always been encouraged to volunteer and many do so with great joy.

Volunteering word cloud, heart concept

According to experts, volunteering contributes towards social cohesion, psychological and physical wellbeing, developing more knowledge, skills and experience. It also boosts one’s self esteem, independence and personal confidence.

Altogether this wonderful combination of elements should equip and assist the volunteer in stepping up to a new or better job in the near future.

I have come across some people in well paid full time jobs, performing demanding roles whilst facing hostile working environments who take great pleasure in volunteering as they find it extremely rewarding and healing.

Chalkboard writing: volunteer at work

For them it becomes a way of maintaining their own sanity, bringing a balance to their own personal life and nurture meaningful rapports with people outside their usual social  circles they would not meet otherwise in a healthy and constructive way.

I guess this could be regarded as a positive way of detoxing after leaving a hostile office culture behind.

Hand design vector.
It has been proven that doing good is actually wonderful for both the provider of the good deed as well as the recipient.

It actually releases endorphins, providing you with a sense of pride and self-fulfilment just for helping someone else in need

Like the famous Waitrose Xmas ad there are many people who journeyed high and low to reach home safe and sound just in time for Xmas.

Robin in the Snow

Some have indeed rejoined happy functional families while others feel so miserable at the prospect of seeing those familiar faces that they countdown for things to be over with great delight. The level of stress, tension and bickering and feuds involved in family reunions is simply not worth it.

In the UK, shortly after Xmas, a huge deluge in divorce proceedings takes place regularly and many people also decide to quit their jobs just to re-freshen their lives.

Others however are alone for Xmas because of old age, illness, disability or homelessness. In such cases, thankfully the charities take over in order to provide a relief for their needs.

However the fact remains that, in general London is a lonely place all year long. So much so that, in fact being lonely has become a chosen lifestyle form for many.

Alone in a Crowd

Usually all year long there are so many things happening in one single day all over town that it almost overwhelms you.

This leads me to the following question: is one supposed to stay at home and miss all the fun because of the lack of good company or a formal invitation?…Of course not!!! You just get up and go!! That is part of the British bulldog spirit!

There are also people in vulnerable situations who gather in community centres and celebrate the festivities together.

Sadly some migrants however are basically driven to spend Xmas alone.

Christmas Lady Lying With Puppy Stock Photo

Let me expand: on one side they are expected in their home nations by financially struggling families that only crave the money they bring back and a luggage full of goodies bought at someone else’s expense.

On the other side, the migrants face constant hostility, rejection, abuse, degradation and exploitation at the hands of the general population (specially employers) in the host country that chose to move into.

Lucky are those who arrived in the UK having a strong family structure and a good social support network. For others however, Xmas and New Year are the worst time of the year for it can cause an excruciating and agonizing period of extreme loneliness that they are simply lead to accept.

Do spare a minute of silence for all those less fortunate than yourself.