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The Big Issue Foundation's core ethos is self help. We offer support to homeless and socially excluded people who seek to gain control of their lives and help them move off the streets and into a home and a job.We work with over 2000 vendors across the UK, supporting them with a diverse program of opportunities either delivered through our own services or in partnership with specialist agencies. Each new vendor has a Needs Assessment, and from this an individual action plan is set, which is monitored in supervision sessions with support staff.

Be Tolerant

You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.

It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.

And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.

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May 2007
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May 13 2007

Hard Times DonInLondon ‘Day In the Life’

Sometimes when we listen to others and their experience strength and hope about life, we can be overwhelmed and wonder how some of us ever cope with life at all.

I guess part of continuing to get on with a life with so much anguish, torment and absolutely ghastly horror, to be alive at all is some form of testament to resilience. And also when we have faced dire consequences for actions which happened under the influence of alcohol or drugs, well we might wonder if we would ever get close to being sane again.

If my consequences had been as described tonight I realise it would have taken me as long if not longer to find some form of recovery. Not because I less than or more than another, just simply I can see it would take a lifetime understanding and find a way to forgiveness for everything. And that is something I need do for me and anyone I have wronged or been wronged by in some way or other. And its is simply a day at a time..

My last twenty four hours has been difficult again because sometimes I know I can say yes to helping when in fact I need to say no. And today, this morning I did email someone to share the no. No is small and significant word we all need use selectively and carefully. As Ghandi suggested

"A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble."

The magnitude of times past is as bad as it may be for me, and has taken the best part of a decade to make sense of these days. The truth for me and my living is as it may be. Being in harms way and under the influence of drink in my case was a form of hiding and denial of reality for many a year. To realise this and admit it is just one part of the recovery process.

Recovery is not a one way Street

And I mean this is more than one sense. We don’t just let go old stuff, it takes time and a lot iterations to get stuff we harbour out in the open where we can deal with it. And sharing the worst of our experiences and the best of our experiences helps us get some measure of balance. This iterative process is a constant feature of our fellowship as we share what we were like back then "in the day" and how we are today. This form of therapy does work because the more we share it, the morel likely we get honest. And tonight it was obvious to me that our chair had been through the absolute horrors anyone faces with the knowledge of life lived and consequences as dire as they can be. And of course we contend with our denial of reality daily!

Life Changing Moments

We all life defining moments, I turned my back on one partner many years back and had no forgiveness for her or me as things had turned out. I realise I had been deluded and left to suffer at my own hand. I smile somewhat as I write because when we are hurt to the core, we look not only to blame ourselves in some way, for failing to spot the signs, we heap blame elsewhere too if we don’t know any better. And it took me a long time to realise we can be loved and unlovable as we strive for perfection and not simply progress. And of course failing to see the truth as soon as we may. Another lesson in denials for yours truly. Me.

Life defining moments where we don’t see love or loving from either ourselves or others leads us into very sad and often dangerous behaviour.

Values and Principles of Living

We all think we have a code which we believe is right, and often we have formed our opinions on what we know and how others behave towards us and how we behave to them.

And the trouble is as we distort our truth to fit our purpose we can make others the scapegoats as much as ourselves.

Human Beings are as they Develop

If I had been born into other circumstances or another country, I might have perished long ago. This applies in the times we live where we have help and support. One of my ailments was nicknamed the silent killer, as it is not really apparent and if untreated or badly managed will finish me off in quick time. One mistake and the game can be over for me. So I do tend to be more careful these days.

I have a friend or rather an acquaintance who sees my recovery as easier than theirs because the consequences for me if I were to relapse and resort to drink would be more life threatening than their situation.

The truth is actually the reverse, because a person feels they can afford to go out drinking when they know their dependence on drink is there, leads to serious and life threatening consequences simply because they put themselves in harms way and believe its ok to be out of control.

I have heard on numerous occasions what people have done in blackouts. Those times when we cannot recollect what we have done. Sometimes these blackouts are to the good and humorous as anecdotes, but talk to someone who has been harmed or harmed themselves in blackout and we become truly aware of life consequences and in fact death. From driving cars to falling in front of them. From meeting and being overly intimate with someone and recognising the lack of safety, for we are likely to meet more hazards drunk than when we are sober!

I am not a moralist or killjoy these days

But I do know the consequences of some behaviour I had in the past before the world became more dangerous with diseases. Well I have no moral leg to stand on. And would only encourage safety even when merry with company and drink.

People are as they can be, driven by natural forces and often out of control with a little help of drink. Always my failing? Nearly. And the consequences well for me not really that bad in this context. Yet for others its as dire as can be. And for me now I have the knowledge and can be a work in progress these days and face my consequences.

My consequences?

Well I know my background and living led me all over the UK and other countries too. And along the way, in a career, to good living and to outward glances it all looked very OK. Inside though I probably never found what I wanted or needed. Until recently. And much of my time these days is simply keeping going as my health allows.

There have been interesting and odd conversations all day long today. With a friend over a coffee, to discussions in markets. To a meeting tonight which helped me see the full impact of where drink can take a person and deprive them of so many years of living and fulfilling whatever their potential might have been. At least with recovery time allows better choices and understandings of living. We serve as examples as much as we live our lives as we may and to the good.

Finding our path

Well for me tonight I am heartened that I am just learning each and every day what is possible and not possible. The outcome is not the issue, the journey in recovery is all important.


More so tonight when we hear the hardest of stories ever, and consequences, I am firmly of the opinion that anyone and everyone can find redemption. And at the same time it can take decades to find peace and harmony in living. This is why I am so keen to suggest it takes what it takes, and somewhere we can find a glimmer of light to find our way.

I am learning over and over, that to carry burdens forever is not the key to making life work. We need to let go and find a process to change ourselves and the outlook of others as they encounter changes and different living.

This view has nothing much to do with my fellowship of AA, it has to do with my values and principles. Some of us have taken years to develop our outlook and work with what we have learned through decades of experience.

Young Life Lost

Indeed with reflection of how my early days left me with many fears of life, I realise much of my living was always about how it looked rather than how it was. Somewhere I got lost along the way, and never quite found the key. Much fun and sadness in my life journey or life story. Much love and love lost too.

I am grateful for every encounter I have experienced and accepted outcomes and consequences as they are today.

In some way or other I hope the same place of peace is found each day with some practical and simple steps. And you may guess those are the steps of AA.

For others there are journey’s which will take time and much application to find some level of peace from their torments. This is something fellowship enables as time passes and we work hard at living in the moment and understanding our living today.

We do not forget our life experience, we utilise and gain wisdom which we share and in so doing offer hope and practical measures to help anyone on the road of recovery. Not easy, for we must live it and experience to make it work.

There is no fixing or short cut to our spiritual path. We need work it a day at a time, for the journey shared is certainly worth it.

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Guardian Unlimited OnLine May 13 2007

Poll surge as Brown unveils policy blitz May 13 2007

Chancellor plans five new 'eco-towns' - MPs given power over war decisions

Nicholas Watt, Jo Revill and Mary Riddell

Gordon Brown is to set out a wide-ranging blueprint for a new Britain as he attempts to prove that he will be a Prime Minister for the whole country rather than sectional interests.

As a new poll shows Labour has gained a bounce in the polls, the Chancellor is set to unveil a host of new policies on the environment, the treatment the public can expect from doctors and fundamental changes to the constitution designed to show the broadness of his political vision and that he can outmanoeuvre David Cameron on the key issues.

A Brown-led government would:

· Build 100,000 new eco-homes in specially designed 'green towns' so the public can buy affordable homes that have a low impact on the environment.

· Have doctors' surgeries open at the weekend and GPs on call in the evenings so that patients to not have to wait for appointments during working hours. Doctors were given the right of opting out of out-of-hours care two years ago, under a controversial pay deal, signed by the then Health Secretary, John Reid, that awarded them a 22 per cent pay rise last year.

· Strip Number 10 of some of the powers conferred on it by 'royal prerogative' - particularly the ability to declare war should only be done with the approval of Parliament. William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, will push the issue in a debate in the Commons on Tuesday.

Read The Guardian OnLine

Times OnLine May 13 2007

Brown to build five eco towns May 13 2007 2007

David Cracknell, Political Editor

GORDON BROWN will attempt to trump David Cameron on green issues by announcing that he will create five new environmentally friendly towns when he becomes prime minister.

The chancellor, now certain to succeed Tony Blair and enter No 10 on June 27, will tomorrow set out his plan to build 100,000 houses in the five eco-towns, likely to be dubbed “Brown towns”.

The idea, his first detailed policy announcement since declaring his candidacy for the Labour leadership on Friday, is crucial to putting increased home ownership at the heart of his premiership.

The new towns — with up to 20,000 homes in each — are modelled on the “green” developments pioneered by Prince Charles. They will be built on brownfield sites, the first of which will be at the abandoned Oakington Barracks in Cambridgeshire.

Each of the new homes in the five towns will be built to zero-rated carbon standards and will be exempt from stamp duty. All their energy supplies will be generated locally from sustainable sources, such as solar and wind power. The towns will have new road and rail links and will include zero-carbon schools and health centres.

The detailed plans have been drafted by Yvette Cooper, the housing minister and a key Brown ally tipped for promotion to the cabinet this summer.

Speaking to Labour activists in Kent yesterday, Brown gave a hint of his plans and dismissed suggestions by potential “Nimby” opponents that he would be “concreting over the countryside”.

“If we are to meet the aspirations of every young couple to do the best for themselves and their children, then we need to build new homes and we need to deliver well-planned, green and prosperous communities where they will want to live.

“And I say to those who always say ‘yes, but not here’, you are denying people their rightful aspirations and you are condemning our children never to put a foot on the housing ladder.”

Labour sources said that Cameron, who has made green policies a central tenet of his leadership, will now be faced with the political choice of backing Brown’s plans or siding with Conservative councils opposed to house-building in their area.

Brown believes that increasing home ownership can become one of the central themes of his premiership. With 1.8m more homeowners than in 1997, he is on track to achieve his target of 2m under a Labour government.

Yesterday Brown unveiled other elements of his leadership manifesto, which he will launch after nominations close on Thursday. He will be uncontested if two left-wing MPs — Michael Meacher and John McDonnell — cannot agree on who should challenge him.

Read The Times OnLine

Independent OnLine 'Indy' News May 13 2007 2007

Mrs Blair speaks out against pregnant women sent to jail May 13 2007

Cherie's parting shot

By Marie Woolf, Political Editor

Cherie Blair last night made her first foray into British politics since her husband announced he was standing down as Prime Minister by attacking the Government for sending pregnant women to jail.

In what will be interpreted as Mrs Blair's first attempt to stake out her own political credo even before the couple leave Downing Street, the human-rights lawyer has warned that sending mothers to prison increases the risk of their children turning to criminality later in life.

As new government figures showed that about 100 babies a year are born to mothers behind bars, Mrs Blair called for "alternative sentences" for all except the most serious women criminals. Speaking exclusively to The Independent on Sunday, Mrs Blair warned that society will pay the price of removing children from their mothers' care while they are in jail.

Stating that action should be taken so "today's sons and daughters of prisoners don't end up tomorrow's offenders", Mrs Blair's intervention is a sign that, liberated from the restrictions of office, she will become increasingly vocal on issues that concern her when she leaves Downing Street.

Her comments also offer a fascinating glimpse into what friends say are her own deeply rooted political views, and throw into stark relief the expected contrast between Mrs Blair's role in Downing Street and that of her successor, Sarah Brown.

Signalling that the country will be governed "in a different way from now on", Mr Brown yesterday set out his own vision for his premiership, stating that there will be an end to the politics of celebrity.

But Mrs Blair, criticised for her influence over her husband during his 10 years' in office, made clear yesterday that she was now prepared to campaign vigorously on policy issues.

In a direct attack on the Home Office, Mrs Blair stated that it is right that "we consider using alternative sentences for mothers. It is not a soft option to make an offender face up to what she has done, to repay directly to her victim or do enforced community work. Nor is it a soft option to be tagged electronically".

Read The Independent OnLine

BBC OnLine News May 13 2007

Brown to make eco housing pledge May 13 2007

Gordon Brown is due to pledge five new "eco towns" in a bid to help thousands of people onto the property ladder, as he continues his leadership campaign.

The chancellor is expected to announce the construction of up to 100,000 sustainable homes across the country.

On Saturday, Mr Brown said education and healthcare were his top domestic priorities, saying he wanted "fairness and opportunity for all" in the UK.

He is so far unchallenged in his bid to succeed Tony Blair as Labour leader.

The chancellor is expected to pledge thousands of homes powered by locally generated energy from sustainable sources.

The proposed five "eco towns" could each contain up to 20,000 homes, funded with a mixture of public and private finance.

The move could see a major expansion in housebuilding if Mr Brown is successful in his bid to succeed Tony Blair.

It reflects concern over the growing demand for homes, which has driven up housing prices, making it more difficult for young couples attempting to get on the property ladder.

BBC OnLine Full Story

BBC OnLine History May 13 2007

May 13 1981: Thousands see Pope shot in Rome

The Pope has been shot four times as he blessed the crowds in St Peter's Square in Rome.

Surgeons have performed a five-hour operation and say they hope he will make a full recovery.

At about 1715 local time, the Pope was being driven in his Popemobile through a crowd of about 20,000 worshippers when he was hit by four bullets fired from a 9mm pistol some 15 feet away.

Two struck him in the stomach, one in his right arm and the fourth hit his little finger.

Police arrested a 23-year-old man who said he was a Turkish citizen and gave his name as Mehmet Ali Hagca.

He kept repeating: "I couldn't care less about life."

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There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.

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