August 2012 Update


AUGUST SCHOOL HOLIDAYS


We normally spend August running residential courses and holidays for the youngsters. For many of the youngsters itís the time they wander the streets and get into trouble, for others they just sit around at home and get bored. So... we try to use a double edged sword, occupy them and teach them something of value. It seems to work!


Normally we would have fitted 5 weeks of residentials into August (I know the maths doesnít quite work, but you know what I mean!). This year however the recession and the Olympics have prevented us from running our normal plan. Usually we would use the cottage in Finland for most or all of the activities for this month, but as I mentioned in the last bulletin the Olympics had the effect of almost trebling the cost of flying and the recession meant we had less money than ever to fulfil our aims, so we stuck to just three weeks (which is why you are reading this a day before the end of August... the rest is very welcome!).


Two of those weeks were at the cottage and one was at our farm and nature reserve.


Each week took on a different characteristic. The Dads and Lads week was completely different; we took a combination of volunteer dads with their child and dads of our clients. The mixture worked well and we were tremendously pleased with the work we did. Thanks too to Lochy who was my right hand man that week.


The week at our rural centre was interesting with trips out to go deep sea fishing on a charter boat. A (very) quick trip to the Isle of Wight on a fast rib after a quick exploration it was back to the mainland again. The youngsters all present their own problems and we expect that, we did have a first for us however... one of the youngsters fell out with another and decided it was time to go home, so walked off, found a house not too far away and asked to use the phone, he called the police and asked them to take him home!! So there is a lesson there should you ever find yourself in need of a taxi and no money!!! Actually the police did respond but brought him back to us for him to complete the rest of the week. Weíve been doing this a long time but they always seem capable of thinking something fresh up. Raft building, egg collecting (chickens that is) and swimming filled lots of other small gaps.


These weeks away teach the children a huge amount about themselves but also how to interact with their peers and responsible adults. For many itís a revelation, that you get more by co-operating and doing as you are asked, than by demanding and shouting. Matters of personal hygiene and diet are addressed, health issues about smoking and drinking Ė itís amazing what you can fit into a week away with good role models to back it up. We are very grateful for the financial support that made our efforts possible this year. Thank you.


We may have time for one or two more before autumn is over that depends on the finances.


I have assembled a few photos here to illustrate those times I hope you have time to click on them and have a look they do paint a lovely picture of the personal journey the youngster make and in this the fathers too.


PROJECT TRANSFORMATION!


The news you have all been waiting for is getting close. The solicitors are talking to each other, the contract is being drawn up as we speak and we expect to take control of the Solent Nurseries site very soon now. We have parted with £50,000 into our solicitors holding account as a gesture of our imminent intention. We do have a problem however, especially if we need to exchange the contracts tomorrow. Our initial appeal for funds raised donations or promises to £109,000. We need £100,000 to exchange contracts (you will recall this is refundable if we donít actually complete). For one reason or another a number of people have found it not possible to advance us their promised sums just now. The promises are still firm but we find we are short of £20,000 to exchange contracts right now. If there is anyone reading this that could help with a donation or even a loan this would be very gratefully received and would enable us to start work with the young people on the site before the end of the summer and the winter weather sets in. No offer is too small!!


We live in exciting times. I am so pleased you are taking the journey with us!


Kindest regards


Doug Hulme
Chief Executive