Everyone is gearing up, the media are reaching a frenzy and the nation is ready……………...
This Friday sees the advent of one of (in my humble opinion) the less welcome US imports into the UK, Black Friday and of course it is followed closely behind at the start of next week by its online sibling, Cyber Monday.
The search for that special bargain you didn’t know you even wanted has become almost an Olympic sport for many Brits over the last couple of years since the #BlackFriday phenomenon reached our shores, shopping centres and tablets.
We have all seen TV coverage of people literally fighting over that “greatly reduced” widescreen telly or new games console, gladiator-like prowess on display with people running, jumping and grabbing items to buy that discounted gadget - at the expense of their humility, and dare I say it, humanity. A Hunger Games for the tech consumer with the winner taking the spoils – well, once they have flashed the cash or credit card at least!
The big brand marketing departments are very skilled at making us want what we really don’t need – especially if we perceive it as a bargain, but what is the true cost of the spike in consumerism we see in November every year, to us as people, communities and humans.
As some of you may know, I am a big fan of “Action for Happiness” www.facebook.com/actionforhappiness and their photo sums up the way I feel about all this.....
Saturday saw the launch of BYHP's Christmas campaign with the team's attendance at the Banbury Town Mayor's Christmas Charity Bazaar at the Town Hall.
Since joining BYHP a few weeks ago I have seen the amazing work the team have been doing over the last 25 years and continue to do with local young people who maybe haven't had the easiest start in life.
On a daily basis they are helping families resolve their problems to avoid young people becoming homeless, providing counselling to some young people with chaotic lives and providing advice and support to them in finding the most appropriate and cost effective accommodation to help keep them safe.
In addition, the team does not just deal with "homelessness"; via our employability skills training programme "Unlocking Potential" we help groups of young people build confidence, acquire skills and develop aspirations to move on in their lives by accessing education and training or by obtaining work experience, undertaking volunteering, learning money management and ultimately finding jobs.
We also provide a food bank service for young people, offer opportunities for them to help each other via peer support and we challenge them to develop interests and skills in art, music, cooking and IT via various projects.
In short, BYHP provides a nurturing "family" support network which many of the young people have not been fortunate enough to experience before coming to see us.
The BYHP Big Lunch was a big success thanks to all our supporters and organisers Visit Banbury, Banbury Community, Banbury CAG, Castle Quay Banbury, Banbury Town Council and Hook Norton Brewery. It was a great team effort, thanks to everyone who helped!
It was a real community day; the sun shone, people arrived with their dish for the lunch and our stall holders were there with lots of therapies and fun activities to share. We had a wide range of food from hot dogs and burgers cooked by our young people to samosas and salads and everything was eaten!
We had some fabulous raffle prizes donated by many of our local businesses and there were a lot of happy winners!
The bake off was not dissimilar to the Great British Bake Off and we had our very own Mary Berry type judging panel with Smillies Cakes Pops leading the tasting with Colin and Fran! A very worthy winner was chosen for the generous raffle prize from Castle Quay, Tricia Davis with a delicious gluten free lime and coconut cake. Well done!
Are we going to do it again next year? Mmm, watch this space . . . .
We are very lucky to have Emily firstname.lastname@example.org raising funds for us, training for the half marathon. This is why Emily is pounding the streets on our behalf:-
"I am passionate about supporting local charities and community projects, and the best way for me to do this is to get moving! After a couple of Triathlons I decided this time to concentrate my efforts onto running only - why not!?
I am really excited about raising funds for two great Banbury based projects - BYHP, supporting Banbury's Young Homeless, and VisitBanbury, a community project promoting Banbury, hopefully making it a happier and more appealing place to live, work and visit."
Good luck Emily with your training; Not long to go until 11th October!
To sponsor Emily please follow this link:
Here at BYHP we're hosting a Big Lunch and would love for you to come along! Our Big Lunch is a huge picnic held to support young, vulnerable and homeless people across the town. We're looking to get the whole community involved to raise awareness of BYHP and its work with young people.
The lunch is free to attend, all we ask is that you come along with some food and non-alcoholic drink to share and enjoy the chance to meet some of your neighbors that you didn't know before. There will be a range of food for all dietary requirements, live music, creative arts, games, activities, a big raffle and more!
With support from Visit Banbury, the Banbury Community Action Group, Hook Norton Brewery and Kris Reeder, the lunch is set to be a special occasion.
We hope to see you on September 6th (12 noon until 5pm) in Chandos Close!
Looking for a fun way to get fit or stay in shape? Join us here at BYHP for weekly fun runs in a social and easy going environment open to all ages and every skill of runner! Even you, the couch potato! Above is our CEO Deb Parker and some of the other participants of the first session just after their initial run and on their way to a fitter future, come join them!
Runs will take place at 5:30 every Wednesday
After a fun filled 8 weeks the art project has come to an end! Involvement and creativity were at a high with lots of young people getting involved. To mark the end BYHP had another day at Stowe, this time creating wax rubbings. These rubbings were then given to Luke (the projects artist) to create t-shirts and have them displayed within the house! We would like to thank Luke and all of the
Stowe staff and volunteers who joined in and made this project a success.
I remember when I first had contact with BYHP. My occupational therapist from the community mental health team had phoned BYHP and asked them to make contact with me. I was too anxious to answer the phone and even more anxious to return their call. I eventually managed to make contact with them and was offered counselling. At the time anorexia, depression and avoidant personality disorder were crushing me, I felt like the ant being squashed under someone’s shoe. I was far from okay, I hardly wanted to be alive.
I missed my first counselling session. I had got up and dressed and walked to the bus stop in plenty of time but I was too anxious to put my hand out and stop the bus and it drove past me. I walked back home and cried into my pillow.
The next counselling session I managed to get the bus but got totally lost on the way to BYHP. I was crying and about to turn back home when Deb, my counsellor at BYHP, offered to meet me and walk me to the building.
I went into treatment and had to stop going to BYHP but nearly a year later I was in a worse place. I had made a very serious attempt on my life and had rarely left the house since my discharge from the psychiatric ward. I was in a horrible place. I would cry so loudly at night that it would wake my family up.
Deb began to visit me at home and I would be so anxious I could hardly speak to her. I remember having all this stuff flying around my head but the words wouldn’t form into sentences and I’d get so frustrated and angry with myself.
I began to email Deb. As a child I loved writing, I would spend my summer holidays writing stories but my illness took that enjoyment away. My illness stole everything and I forgot who I really was. Emailing Deb gave me a release, it enabled me to tell someone in this world what was actually going on, it became my form of communication but Deb also picked up on my talent for writing.
Slowly I began to leave the house. It was difficult, I couldn’t get the guts to ring the doorbell at BYHP and there were times where I would stand outside freezing cold with the rain pouring down wishing for someone to walk past the door and spot me. I attended the peer support group and it felt like a novelty to be outside of the four walls of my home. I did the unlocking potential programme as well as art and music sessions. BYHP didn’t make me feel like a poorly young woman nor a sad story, BYHP became my family and empowered me through noticing my talents and boosting my confidence and self-esteem.
My family moved away to Wales and I was deeply upset to leave BYHP but BYHP is a family and you can never truly leave. BYHP will always be a huge part of my life because they really did help me turn my life around. I have never met such lovely, caring individuals. There is no place like BYHP.
My life now is so incredibly different to how it was two years ago. I regularly appear on TV and radio as well as in magazines and newspapers. I run a successful blog and write for The Huffington Post. I visited BYHP the other day and walked to the door with a huge smile on my face and pressed that doorbell without hesitation. Without BYHP I would probably still be stuck within the four walls of my home but because of their love, kindness and helping hand I have gone the opposite way and flown into the spotlight in order to make a difference to the lives of those with mental health problems.
Thank you BYHP for all you have done.
BYHP goes to Stowe! The Unlocking Potential group recently took a trip to Stowe to learn about the house and do some hands on art work, in preparation for the new 'From Where I Stand' art project here at BYHP.
The project will be run with the help of fashion designer Luke Brookes who has recently designed items for Lady Gaga. The young people enjoyed a session led by Stowe worker Kelly and came up with some pretty creative art ideas! We're looking forward to inviting Luke to BYHP from next week and seeing the ideas he and the young people come up with.
Our blog is a great way to stay up to date with current events and projects, stories from our young people and the general goings on at BYHP.