House of Commons Talk 2004

Personal Message From Doug Hulme

Transcript of message delivered by Doug Hulme on the occasion of the 20th anniversary celebrations at the House of Commons March 2004

I don’t normally say much from a personal perspective especially if it involves either my family or my owns commitment to the charity. This special year marking our 20 th Anniversary would seem to be an occasion however to deviate from that.

It doesn’t seem very long at all that we started the work, until that is, I look at my own children and some of the early youngsters.

Warren my oldest son was 4 when it started and here he is now working for the charity, married and taking quite a bit of responsibility from me. The other two are similarly grown up and the youngest wasn’t even born when it all started. Paul Stevens was probably 10 when I first met him. It’s a long story but the three foot midget nearly laid me out with a blow to the bodies regions that should never have such rough treatment!! Paul is now in his thirties a trustee of the charity, married with a child of his own. Shane Cobb was a similar age and now a house owning, married man with a delightful daughter and such a great help to me as a great volunteer, he has done so much for us in return for a small investment from me. Yaseer Masri and his wife Erica were truly surprise (to me) guests when they walked into our dinner at the House of Commons, but he was in the very first group of children we took on a weeks residential 20 years ago when he was just 13 years of age, most of these guys are now the same age I was when they first met me. They say children are supposed to keep you young but I am of the opinion they are actually the yard stick that tells you how old you are getting!

I guess this is what its all been about – Changed Lives. I spent a very emotional few minutes at our dinner in March when the three mentioned above said a thankyou for the charities and my intervention in their lives. Its moments like that that make it all worthwhile.

We started in West London with just 12 youngsters for a weeks camping and fishing. We rapidly realised that, as nice as it was, just taking the kids away wasn’t good enough, in fact probably did more harm than good. Thus our proven system of volunteer family Advocates was born and a 52 weeks of the year support package in whatever area of their lives needed it, was born. It proved to an answer to a Need Of Our Time

There was and still to a large extent is, no one else for these kids. In view of the strong interest in angling you will excuse the pun when we say these youngsters have ‘slipped through the net’.

A Few Thanks are in order for some of the people that have helped us get to this milestone.

My Family must take the first round of apreciation. Long hours have been spent, often at unsociable times while my own children were growing up. They have missed out on many things. Years without a salary have meant austere times. Times without dad when all they wanted was his support. One of them, when very young, once asked my wife why daddy couldn’t have a proper job like other dads? Mention of which brings me to my wife – not many wives would allow you to sell the house and then spend the money (even on a worthy cause such as Second Chance!) so a thank you to Jill at this point is something of an understatement.

But to the whole family for their sacrifice is not.

When celebrating an anniversary the best place to look to is the future.

Its tough out here and Getting Tougher!! 30 years of teaching and I’ve never seen anything like it. Breakdown in family life and over hyped media publicity of a misleading nature means most Child Carers (teachers, social workers even the Police) are (with some justification) frightened of the kids and don’t therefore fulfil their duty of care.

As I have often said we have moved from a child centred approach to child driven approach. This is no good at all. Kids need guidelines/parameters/discipline to function and enjoy life – we are not giving them these today.

Government figures claim that 25% of all teenagers are now criminals – If we do the maths and imagine the future – it wont be long before 25% of the population will be those very same people. If we are not careful and if we don’t address the problem with common sense we end up with a right wing government spending a fortune on an enlarged police force – riots in the streets. The whole scenario that follows from a chunk of the population having no respect for the elderly, property, authority and society in general.

I’d like to think we at Second Chance are doing something about it and that we have at least some of the answers – we need your support however (now more than ever) to achieve this.

I had a personal anniversary this year too, one of those milestone birthdays!! I’m not getting any younger and we need to do something now. Will you join me? With Second Chances expertise, the vehicle of angling for delivery and your resources we can make a difference.

The charity has two mottos, displayed elsewhere in this news letter.

The first is ‘You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him’. The second is the assertion that we are ‘changing the world… one child at a time’.

I invite you to not only make it possible for us to teach these values to our children but more importantly to make them come true for yourself by supporting us in our endeavours with all your resolve.

Doug Hulme
Chief Executive and Founder of Second Chance
April 04