See The Difference!

07/07/2010 - One Response

Just like us, you can be a pioneer…. We’re always looking for great new ways to shout about the work we do, and that’s why when we got a call from the team over at See The Difference about their new video site, we were all over it like… well… you get the idea!

A bit of background for you.  See The Difference is a brand new way to make a difference, where you can browse lots of videos and choose a charity project that means something to you (such as ours!). You’ll get to know exactly where your money is going, and then see the difference you make from the feedback each charity will give about that project. Cool, huh?! Naturally, we hope the first one you’ll check out and share with all your mates is ours! Here it is …

Action For Kids film clip on See The Difference

So, at the start of this post, we tempted you with the idea of being a pioneer like us.  We were one of the first charities in the UK to sign up to See The Difference, and you can be one of the very first people to use the site!  We’re pioneering new ground together; it’s all about team work! What we would really love for you to do, is to go mad with the Share button!  There’s a Facebook Like button so you can easily post it to the wall, or a big tweetable T for Twitter, or you can even email it to your friends if you’re feeling a bit old school.  Of course, we won’t turn you away if you want to donate as well! Check out our awesome video, let us know what you think!

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Action For Kids Urban Beach Volleyball Tournament 2010 – a huge success!

01/07/2010 - 2 Responses

After a week of showers and constant checking of the weather forecast; the opening two teams, The Parthenon Group and Intercontinental Hotels Group stepped on to the sand for the 2nd Action For Kids Urban Beach Volleyball Tournament in the City of London –  and the sun came out! What a day it was. Fourteen teams took part in this exciting challenge to raise more that £50,000 to support children and young people with physical and learning disabilities, their families and carers in London and around the UK.

Many matches were decided on the very last point, including the thrilling final, where ICAP beat last years’ champions Mitsubishi 29-28 in the dying seconds of the game. Third placed were the team from The Intercontinental Hotels Group, with prizes also being awarded for best spike, best rally and of course best team costume, which went to The Parthenon Group in their wonderful bumble-bee outfits.

Alongside the beach volleyball, spectators were treated to an action-packed day with steel drum band music, a spectacular display of aerial skills from JustPogo UK plus demonstrations and workshops of the sport of sitting volleyball by – no less than the Great Britain team.

Click here to view a short film clip of the day (note this opens in YouTube).

We are so grateful for the support of the following teams who took part on the day: Accenture, Addleshaw Goddard, City of London Police, Herbert Smith, HSBC, ICAP, InterContinental Hotels Group, La Fosse Associates, Linklaters, Marshall Wace, Mishcon de Reya, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International and the Parthenon Group.

Also a very special thank you to our wonderful Master of Ceremonies on the day, Clayton Lucas of SGTV productions, who volunteered his time and skill, keeping the crowd advised and entertained all day.

Our thanks too to Volleyball England and The London Beach Volleyball Club for their invaluable input, JustPogo UK and Ebony Steel Band for coming along to entertain on the day and of course all our sponsors and volunteers for their funding and time which allowed us to make this event happen.

Action For Kids will be back at the Broadgate Arena next year to do it all over again. If you would like to take part in any way please call 020 8347 8111 or email beachvolleyball@actionforkids.org

Raised Bucketloads from them all at Beach Volleyball

01/07/2010 - Leave a Response

On Friday the 11th of June (unlike my usual Fridays where I had a nice lie in) my long weekend began after my 12 hour working day on a Thursday where I go to Action For Kids in the morning and don’t finish work till I finish my supermarket job at midnight. I was told that I as well as other people from Action For Kids where needed for this big event called beach volleyball which meant I was going to have to get up at 7 something am in order to get to somewhere between Liverpool street and Moorgate by 9:am.

This was the first time since attending last years that I was to get involved in this event.  Some of my fellow fundraisers at the charity who had been organising this product, first Carolyn then Sarah and finally Carol had all fallen pregnant coincidently or not I wonder. But I was glad not to get involved in the event till the day itself because as much as I liked beach volleyball, I certainly didn’t like the idea of spending a few months looking like I had swallowed one even if I did mean a nice few months paid leave.

On the day I arrived at about 9:00 am it was raining slightly and I ended up helping Ben (my fellow Aspie work colleague) helping him shovel and brush and sand off the signs so that people could see Action For Kids’ contact details. Sarah told me that fortunately there where people coming to shovel the sand into bags at the end of the day so we didn’t all have to shovel up a beach like last year.

I went to see Maureen to find that though I had an event staff badge somewhere along the way my actual name badge had been replaced. I was a little surprised at this but in some ways I was happy as this might of saved me from getting stalked.

After the sand job with Ben I went to find an Action For Kids t-shirt but the only one I could find was the small size so it was very fortunate that I had been going to the gym more often recently because if it had been a couple of months earlier I would have looked pregnant from getting involved in beach volleyball.

Sarah then handed me a handful of programs explaining to people what the event was about. And told me to hand them out to people so they will watch the event and also to take a charity collection tin with me. This was where my collection duty’s began.

The first man I approached was a working class seeming man in his 50’s who seemed to be a railway worker of some kind and I remember him for the fact he was the first man to put money in the box. When I explained to him what I was collecting money for he gave me some money. He seemed to think it would be little kids playing volleyball but I put him right and explained that the event was put on to raise money for a children’s charity and that the big boys and girls would be battling it out in a non professional capacity e.g. lawyers vs police.

I continued to collect and hand out leaflets outside a small shop full of people buying breakfast snacks and new papers. This was good as people had just received there change and were more then willing to put some into the money box, even the manager of the shop put some in the box.

After a while Sarah called me and Ben to help with setting up the sitting volleyball by laying out the mats and erecting the net. By then it was 11: am and after Sarah saw how full my little money box was she upgraded me to a charity collection bucket.

I went round all the posh yuppies in their nice suits with my charity collection bucket. If they asked me what the charity was I said “I’m collecting for the Action For Kids charitable trust who provide mobility equipment for disabled children who need it and your change and make a change to their life’s for the better.” This normally got people forking out the money in fact a few people put a £20 note inside my bucket.

At about 1:00pm I ate a sandwich and some crisps and drunk some water that was provided for volleyball players and Action For Kids staff for my lunch. After my lunch and having a little sleep in the sun it was about 2:00-2:30pm. I started to go round collecting again. This proved successful so much so that Sarah told me to take breaks and that I was working too hard. Maybe she had had enough of emptying my bucket for the 3rd time.

There are a few good people I remember collecting from, one of which was 2 rich women who gave me £25 and told me if I went to the bar and got them Pimms they would give the change as a donation I did this for them and it turned out to be over £15 I thanked them for this and told them to let me know when they wanted another drink.

I also went to a place where a couple of yuppies were sitting. They gave me some money as if they where paying me to go away.  A man in a really smart suit who looked old enough to be their dad came and joined them and as soon as he saw me with my bucket he said “I haven’t got any money”.

The first 2  yuppies thinking that it would scare me away said “He is our boss”  so  I said “I have got to get your e-mail so I can send you my CV as I got to come and work for you one day”. Him kind of surprised said “Why’s that” so I said “It’s because I’ve never met a boss who pays his staff so well that they can afford to give more then he can.” This soon got him to put his hand in his pocket.

There was also another occasion where I used similar humour to get someone money into the bucket and that was then there was this group which consisted of a man and 2 women where the first women put some money in and the man did when I brought the bucket round to the second women she pointed to the man and said “he’s my husband” so I said “ you are very lucky in fact probably one of the luckiest women alive”. He said “Why’s that?” so I said “Because I don’t think I have ever met a women with a husband more generous then she is.” The other women and the man burst out laughing  while the women got her hand bag open and some more change fell into the bucket.

After I filled up my last bucket I went round various people I knew in Action For Kids to let them feel how heavy it was this included Carol (my line manager) who said she couldn’t lift heavy things  in her condition as she was pregnant. And Paul (the finance director) felt the weight of the bucket and agreed that that justified my getting paid for that day.

Then when I got it back to Sarah I watched her fill a bag with the money from the bucket like she had previously done with the others and then placed all the bags into the bucket of all the money that I had collected that day this was quite heavy I could only just about lift it.

I then asked Sarah what she wanted me to do next she said “Go and have a beer with Ben.” I looked everywhere for Ben to tell him the good news about what the boss for the day had said. But unfortunately he was nowhere to be found. Maybe he had escaped at the wrong time for once. I helped Nick from I.T pack away a tent or 2 and take it up to the mini bus then Sarah told me I should get a special reward for my efforts then showed me the pub where the staff at Action For Kids were waiting for me and ready to buy me a drink and thank me for a job well done.

On the Tuesday (the next time I came into work) Sarah showed me the bucket which I helped her carry to Jack’s office where even super Nick (the personnel manager) found the bucket  heavy to lift so that made sure I was on the payroll for that day.

On the Wednesday when I wasn’t scheduled to come into work I received a voice mail from Sarah on my phone saying that I had raised over £750 that day at beach volleyball. This was a good feeling as I had thought it was about half that.

On the Thursday when I next came into work Sarah saw me on the way in and said “I know this is an office but can I give you a hug?” I said yes you can and she did so. And made a joke about the appropriateness of hugging in an office; sounding like something Carol would say to me and Ben because she always reminds us that some of our jokes in the office are not appropriate.

There was also an office Circle Time and in that circle I was presented with a certificate for the amount I had raised which Sarah had made for me. I also found an email from Mick the chief exec and Sally the founder of the charity saying well done for the amount I raised.

I had obviously raised a lot of positive attention for myself as well as money for Action For Kids.

Blogged by Richard

I didn’t think I was that lucky When I had my time on the T.V.

24/05/2010 - Leave a Response

A few months ago a friend of mine Claire, who also has Aspergers like me, told me she was going to star in a documentary about the autistic spectrum called ‘Young Autistic and Starstruck’. She didn’t really explain what it was except that it was filmed mostly at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith.  However she did ask me about weather I would be interested in being in on it at some point. I said yes because I thought it might help my course for creating awareness but unfortunately it didn’t help with the awareness I wanted to create. As you will see from the following events: 

Later on I got a phone call from a nice seeming lady, who explained that she was from Channel 4 and was filming a documentary about autism and Claire had told me I was interested and she wanted it filmed at a time I next socialised with Claire and a few other friends. I agreed to this and the nearest thing I could think of for that was my birthday party to which Claire had been invited and the lady from channel 4 was happy with this.

I talked to both my parents about this and they were going to be away from home on the day that my birthday party was planned for my sister’s Oxford graduation. They also expressed disapproval of the whole idea of there being a film crew in my house especially at my birthday parties due to the fact that that’s when unpleasant incidents had occurred in the past, such as an uninvited friend of a friend having to be chucked out for attempting to steal money from my wallet hoping I’d be too drunk to notice and various other dramas. Also that it wouldn’t be likely to be showing me on telly in a good light. Further more my father objected to his private space in his home being aired on telly for all to see.

Also the lady a few days before had tried to talk to me on the phone asking me for the names and contact details of every single person who would be attending including the parents of all of them for legal reasons. I told her that this was impossible as I had no idea out of the people I had invited who would turn up. Also at least 2 of the expected guests at my party had left home ages ago and one of which who’s in his 30’s has his parents living in Australia  who he hasn’t spoken to much since he left home at the age of 18 and that I had never even met the parents of half those people. So my Birthday party was a no goer for them.

Later an alternative social event was arranged in a pub in Hammersmith, where there would only be a few people attending. This would be just me Claire and a couple of other lads on the spectrum who me and Claire both knew from Turtle Key Arts an Asperger people’s arts group that meets once a month in Westbourne Park. This was a lot more viable plus they where willing to provide us with food and drink at the pub during the filming. One of the other people attending was a friend a friend of mine (Oliver) who has High Functioning Autism. He was the one to introduce me to the to turtle key arts where I met Claire.

The event seemed to go well. We enjoyed our food curtsey of channel 4 after we had all signed forms giving permission to show the footage. The filming began and the drink started to flow and some people seeing all the film crew around us wondered what was going on. We were asked all sorts of personal questions that I wasn’t expecting such as “Do you have a girlfriend?” or “What do you think of sex?” I just said experiences good and bad while not giving too much personal information away. Claire gave a primary school type answer of “No way and yuck” but I think that was her way of not wanting to talk about it on telly either and for that I don’t blame her.

My H.FA (high functioning autism) friend Oliver said some nonsense about how autistics should only be with other autistics, which would mean 60% of the population on the spectrum would be single as the autistic spectrum is 80% male. And to think he was the only one who hadn’t had any alcohol out of all of us that night-  he must have felt under pressure.

David another Aspie [person with Aspergers] lad who happened to be Claire’s ex boyfriend said “What did you say that for?” in response to Claire’s answer. Oliver then started making his feelings for Claire a little obvious by fussing over her and offering to cut her food up for her. I teased him by impersonating his voice saying “Claire would you like me to cut this up for you, coz I fancy you?” He then asked me to step outside. The camera man followed us. They must have thought a fight would happen.

When we got outside he said something like “Richard do you mind not saying that I fancy Claire as I don’t want her thinking that so soon”. I thought that he must have been unaware of just how obvious his behaviour was. I laughed and responded “Bruv you made it so obvious with all that stuff like cutting up the food. You got to take it easy”. A film crew member immediately asked both of us if we fancied her. Oliver told them that yes, he did. I thought to myself does he not realise that could get seen by her in a matter of weeks?

 Thank god for my A.F.K.  trip to a P.R company. The training there came in useful I.E the art of answering questions without answering questions so just like Tony Blaire and the MMR jab I answered it with “Claire is a pretty and young attractive girl, I can see why many boys would fancy her, however my desires could wonder elsewhere in the near future”. We went back to the table and the film crew followed. It all seemed to go well.

However a few months later the program went on air very recently and I knew to get it recorded as I had a phone call from Channel 4 telling me that the scene with me in it was going to be showed that night. I watched it alone with the earlier episodes which showed to be about a cast of autistic people at the lyric theatre working together to create a play and were going to have an audience a few weeks later. Claire was a part of the cast. The scene in the pub was filmed for the sole purpose of showing Claire’s social life outside the theatre project. The scene was only about a couple of minutes long where the 3 of us me, Oliver and David where introduced as “Claire has friends she goes to the pub with some Friday nights to help her independence. They are all autistic.”

They then showed us being asked the 2 questions. They showed Claire’s, Oliver’s and David’s answers to the questions. However they completely cut out mine and edited in a scene of me laughing at their stupid answers. And it had someone else’s squeaky noise in the back ground. I didn’t like how that made me look like I had the maturity of a 10 year old and that I was too retarded to answer the questions, just because my answer didn’t quite fit the purpose of the programme. It seems to focus mainly on the negatives of the autistic spectrum, such as people having tantrums. My dad was right about not having them at my party.

However on a more positive note I did get a few text messages from some people I know saying that they had seen me on telly. And they did show some of Claire’s incredible musical talents but why couldn’t have they shown my intelligent answers to the questions and maybe some of Oliver’s great paintings in his café he helps to run? I was just worried that people who didn’t know me would see me and think that it was me that made that squeaky noise.

You would be amazed at the things some people would be willing to do for 5 minutes of fame. I mean look at the X Factor, a chance to a laugh at the most deluded of neurotypicals [people without Aspergers].  Hey I wonder if Simon Cowell buys them any drinks before or after they make fools of themselves on national T.V for our entertainment?

Blogged by Richard.

Film clip of Action For Kids Student Reunion Party

04/02/2010 - Leave a Response

Please click here  to view a 5 minute clip of the annual Christmas reunion. Our charity and training centre for disabled young people hosted a party for our students paid for by a donor. Students performed a fashion show and a talent show.  

Please note the video opens in YouTube and Action For Kids is not responsible for content on YouTube.

Stand Up, Drink Up, Get Down and Party

07/01/2010 - Leave a Response

If you have attended the last few Action For Kids student reunion party’s you might remember me for my entertainment once I’m put in front of the microphone  after being given the run of a free bar for an hour or 2 and would probably guess that this could be considered somewhat risky by a few.

So this year Sally decided to ask me if I would  pre organise my share of the entertainment at this years party this way she would have time to approve it and get rid of all things compromising the reputation of the trust. And what’s more it would actually give me time to prepare something decent and they would get to see how good I am at this before I had a drink. The entertainment this time wasn’t a Rap like before it was a stand up comedy.

I was trying to think of something that everybody dislikes one way or another and the first thing that came to mind was public transport jokes so I made up a few of them where even Boris Johnson got a mention.

Along with a couple of credit crunch jokes and a few insider jokes about various members of staff within the organisation including one about suspicions of the chief executive of AFK secretly being father Christmas.  There was a joke however that I had to edit out about sally’s Yorkshire terriers pulling the slay instead of reindeers due to one of Sally’s dogs having recently passed away. When I showed my material to Jo and e-mailed it to Sally I got a quick e-mail back saying it was good and I was pleased it could be used and all I had to do was practice it.

When it got to the day I was taken to the gatehouse from about 5 o clock onwards. Sally briefed me that a group of female students where doing a fashion show as well as a few other students dancing to Grease.  

Siobohn was to present them and I was to present another couple of students doing an Indian dance called Bhangra and then I was to do my stand up routine while the girls got changed and then present the fashion show.

It was mayhem in that gatehouse there where a load of girls getting all made up and ready and a couple of student’s mothers helps with the make up. Laurence got dressed up in a dress for the Grease dance so people called him Florence for a while so I turned to Ben my work colleague and said “ I think it might be a good idea to escape before we end up in one of them ” But I decided to stay as I would be presenting them and it might be a good idea to know in advance what I was going to be presenting and I could see a lot of effort was going into this one.

 After a short mini bus ride there I went on the mic and all went well until Sally had to stop the DJ getting ahead of himself by playing the boots advert track “ here come the girls”  straight after Panjabi MC was played for the Indian dance when the boots advert track 2 ‘here come the girls’ was not supposed to be played until I had done my stand up and presented the fashion show once the girls were ready.

But most importantly my stand up routine went well and got the whole party laughing there heads off especially the Boris joke.

After I had presented the fashion show, the food was ready so Jo asked me to get on the microphone and announce that. After that I was finally able to get to the bar and get myself a well earned drink, it was brilliant from then on as everyone was saying how good I was on stage.

The party continued on and I was probably one of the last people to leave after midnight

Then a bus came instantly after crossing the road to take me home -how good of London transport to do this for me after all those jokes about them!

Blogged by Richard

The politicians driven to despair when we paid a visit to parliament square

21/10/2009 - Leave a Response

I was invited to visit the Houses of Parliament where Glenda Jackson (MP for Hampstead and Highgate) would be there to meet us. I thought I’d come along as the chance to grill Glenda would be fun. In the morning on the Wednesday when we arrived at Parliament we where met by a couple of ladies from the PR firm Burson Marsteller who did the PR for the Labour Party and arranged this Unique Opportunity for us. The ladies from the PR firm seemed impressed with my knowledge of the inside of parliament and came out with “I didn’t know that.” I was surprised as I had first assumed they worked at parliament, as I hadn’t met them till that day.

After a little wait we found that we could go in and when I first walked into the Building Troy cracked a joke about watering the grass as he wanted to the toilet but Lyn said that they couldn’t find the time to visit him in the police station if he did. The first door had a Police Woman outside and all bags where searched by her I was tempted to crack a joke about how she had better look under Troy’s cap for his knife but I thought better not as she might take it way too seriously. When we walked though that door it was just like the air port with a load of xray machines and metal detectors and so many police officers that I for a moment thought we had got Scotland Yard by mistake. We had our photos taken and where issued with visitor’s badges then I was able to go to the gents then come back and join the group. The first room where we waited for the tour guide to meet us had a stain glass window and was an old style building which was like a church.

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When the tour guide got there I asked him if it was like a church there coz it was where the politicians prayed that the election results would go their way. The tour guide we got who’s name also happened to be Richard took us to the red section near the house of lords where we went first to the room where the queen goes to change into her special clothes before she opens parliament once a year. There were also lots of coats of arms and shields. The tour guide told us that a lot of the school boys think they were football team symbols so Troy asked where Arsenal was. The tour guide told him to see if he could find it but he couldn’t. We then went to where it really got interesting, the House of Lords and all the red seats, I saw something that looked like a loud speaker on each chair. I asked the tour guide whether it was a loud speaker or heated seats coz the Lords Porsches had them too. The tour guide told me they where loud speakers so everyone could hear each other. Then we all had to stand in the rows on those seats without being able to sit down on them to be out of the other groups way but if I wanted to sit down I would have to buy a pedigree and give a couple of million to a certain political party.

Then Sir Somebody walked in and the security lady told him he was not supposed to be in there at that time. But she did say something afterwards about the rules changing all the time. She also talked about something getting caught on the seats tearing the expensive red leather and saying it was £1000 worth of damage. The tour guide says she was going to show to a place where the Queen doesn’t go and that he would tell me why in the minute. At that point I immediately thought of poor areas and public transport. However it was actually the house of commons. The tour guide told us that this was because of King Charles antics, such as trying to behead politicians, so later he was beheaded himself and the royals where only aloud in the red section of the parliament building and the green part was out of bounds for them. We then went and stood above green seats to stay out of another groups way. These seats you had to live somewhere where a good few thousand people liked you enough to vote for you, so you got elected if you wanted to sit down there. The tour guide also pointed upwards to show us a big screen where the public gallery was before and said that it ruined the live atmosphere. However it was built because a group of protesters threw a bag of flour on Tony Blair’s head and it could have been anthrax or something else more dangerous.

We then went back to the big room that looked like a church and waited for someone to take us to see Glenda. We walked up this escalator and it looked like a shopping centre full of posh cafes. I asked the girl who was showing us the way if the cheapest bar in Westminster that was allegedly was in this building actually existed. Her answer was that we had just gone past it and her husband didn’t like the limited choice of drinks and when I asked her if it was tax free she said no. I figured they where not gone tell the public if it was as that would lose a lot of votes.

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We finally got to Glenda’s office. Glenda was there waiting to greet us and we were all offered seats around a table. We were then all given a copy each of this thick booklet called hansar and Glenda said it was just for one day. My first response was gosh I’ve seen company annual reports smaller then this. Glenda said “I doubt it” and Suzie said “ and to think someone has to type all that”. Glenda talked about voting and how it saddened her that young people particularly girls where not bothering to vote as she said she remembered women who had risked their lives and even died to get them this right. And when she was 21 she voted and was happy that she could do so. I remembered a particular year when women where first allowed in the house of lords apart from the queen which was 1958 – only a year after Glenda was 21. So I asked her “Glenda you was 21 in 1957 and I remember from the tour how women where first allowed in the House of lords in 1958 shortly after. Was it your ambition to buy yourself a seat there when you had made enough money after finding you could as a women, but then found you where popular enough for a green seat so you didn’t have to buy a red one”. Her immediate response was “I WAS NOT 21 IN 1957 …… oh yes I was! However you couldn’t buy a seat there in those days you had to be born to the right family which I unfortunately wasn’t.” I don’t think she liked being reminded of that. She did talk a lot about how Gordon Brown was the man for the job and how Cameron wants to do cut backs and how she didn’t like Tony Blair. I asked her if the reason others begged to differ about Brown was that unlike her he was no actor and unlike Tony he was no barrister but that didn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t a good money manager. She seemed to like that.

When I asked her which she preferred out of politics and acting she said that when she was acting most theatre companies wouldn’t have put up the behaviours of some politicians she had to encounter. Suzie talked about how she remembered working with her ages ago when she was acting but I don’t think Glenda remembered her as it was so long ago. When I asked Glenda about the rumour that she told Tony Blair in 2005 to stand down or she will stand against him in 2005 and the fact he did so in 2007 and what she had on him. She answered with “it took him 2 years to go away since the time I told him to, so nothing” and that she did tell him this but she knew she stood not much chance against him so it was what they call a stoking horse. Glenda stated she thought that prime minister’s question time was a waste of time. So I asked her if she were the opposition wouldn’t she want to have the opportunity to ask Mr Cameron questions about his recent causes of action. She responded with “Well yes the prime minister should be held accountable however it has started becoming a time for Torys to have a go at Gordon Brown who is doing a very good job considering the circumstances .”

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I asked her what made her want to go into politics when she had already made enough money to retire in acting. Her answer was she wanted to get rid of Margret Thatcher’s ghastly government. I asked her this joke question “So Glenda according to your page on Wikipedia, your political career took off in 1992 around the time that John Major won his last election and that he came from a circus family. Did you think that his party was becoming a bit of a circus and that as an ex actress did you thought she could do a better job of it?” She responded quickly with “ I’ m not that arrogant”. I remember asking her what she thought of car clubs she said “ My constituency is full of people who keep asking me what I’m going to do about getting all those cars off the road but were any of them willing to give up their cars like they want every one else to? No.”

Suzie was talking to her about affordable housing. Glenda was saying that her constituency did have quite a lot of poor people, however she stated that the council had sold approximately 25% of the housing stock under the ‘Right to buy’ scheme.. My thoughts were if that is true Hampstead and Highgate and surrounding area where so expensive, where do all those poor people live apart from the servants quarters? I asked Glenda about how she voted on the Autism bill and the terrorism act where one can be detained for up to 42 days without evidence. She voted yes to the autism bill and no to the said the section of the terrorism act. I wanted to ask her about Cameron’s cut backs and how Gordon intends to continue this good life they are providing on borrowed money and how does Gordon intend to pay it back and continue this at the same time; but she seemed to have to go before I could ask. Maybe she had a 6th sense for this sort of thing.

We then went downstairs to eat lunch which was quite nice but expensive in a café in the houses of parliament. We then went outside waited for Carenza’s wheelchair taxi for a while which seemed to come, then go away, then take a while to get her another one. This was most Annoying but we did arrive back at AFK before 2:30 pm so I could get to my supermarket job on time.

Blogged by Richard

The Visit From Lynne Featherstone

04/09/2009 - Leave a Response

On Thursday 20th August Lynne Featherstone MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, came to visit us at The Gatehouse, which is part of Action For Kids. In the morning, a team of six students (including myself) and Antonio (the chef) and Madeline went to The Gatehouse to cook for the MP. We made Mexican Chilli Rice. First we washed our hands, the food and the equipment. Next, we prepared the food. We had our photos taken while we were preparing the food. I didn’t do much as I had to get a few ingredients._MG_7309

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When everything was prepared, the chef with the team cooked everything. Then we prepared the table, drinks and the cutlery.  Lynne Featherstone arrived at The Gatehouse at 12:30 with Jo and Maureen. We had a good chat, and then we had a party afterwards.  Finally, the photographer asked us to pose for one more picture. We had to hold the bowl of salad and pretend that we were tucking in. 

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Blogged by Siobhain

Read Lynne Featherstone’s blog post about the day here.

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WHILE BEN WENT AWAY, I WENT FULL TIME AT AFK

02/09/2009 - Leave a Response

For the last 3 weeks my colleague Ben was on holiday in Hungary. So I was the only aspie in ‘aspie corner’. Normally we sit together and my boss had told me that the place could not run without us. The charity needed me to do Ben’s job while he was away so I was going to have all the overtime I wanted. For the first week of this cover I had a week off my other job at the supermarket, so I was able to go full time at Action For Kids for that week. Usually I have to leave AFK early on Thursdays in order to get to the supermarket on time for my other job.

 

On Monday morning when the post arrived, it was a big sack full which Yi-Ling (one of our students) was finding quite heavy to carry, so I helped her, and there was a big sort out of what’s what. There were all sorts of letters some, of which where not even for anyone at AFK. This included a letter for the meat company and the storage company next door but there was also letter for the cab office and the curry club and the wishing well pub nearby. There were others that were for other people in other departments within AFK but most of it was raffle ticket payments which I was responsible for while Ben was on holiday.

 

The one thing I noticed when I sat down at Bens desk was that the whole computer needed a clean so I found some antibacterial wipes from the WRL (work related learning) department so I could clean my screen so I could see the work I was doing as well as the pictures of cats staring at me. I then went onto the keyboard which looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for over 10 years. I turned the keyboard upside down and ran a paper clip end through it after I had bent it for that purpose. I found a handful of dust and I showed it to the girls in Carolyn’s row and they didn’t like the sight of it.

 

When I looked in Bens desk draw to find something to clean the keyboard with I found a fake plastic yellow banana and some chocolate wrappers in his drawer.

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Nazmin (a colleague of mine) told me to ask Simon (the IT man) for some spray to clean the key board. He lent me some and it was like a spray of air blowing the remaining dust out. But as there was so much needed I used a lot, Simon seemed annoyed at the amount I used but that was how bad it was. A few dusty residents in that key board were evicted that day, even though they had probably lived there long enough to claim squatter’s rights.

 

After all that effort of cleaning that key board sadly had to go to waste as it packed up one evening a few days later while Simon was away so Tracy made an executive decision that Ben was due a new keyboard so she got one for me as we both agreed that it was probably all that dust that was holding it together.

 

After the first week, the work seemed fine but on the second week the post seemed to come thick and fast and on top of that I had my supermarket job for 2 evenings a week as well. There seemed to be loads of raffle tickets and money to deal with. Carol (one of my colleagues) told me it was because the raffle draw dead line was on the 21st so there would be loads of tickets coming in and also it was busy because my boss was on jury service.

 

When there seemed to be bigger and bigger bags of post to sort out I was so glad that Jolene (another colleague) had previously thought of this envelope colour code system so we knew what raffle it was without having to open them all first. I was so glad I reinforced it at staff away day.

 

I was working away at the T6 raffle first as that was the one with which the draw was drawing nearer. I managed to stay on top of T6 but T7 was piling up even though I did quite a bit and even put nearly £3000 through the system on one day.

 

Another fun part of this job was also when I opened supporter queries. The good thing was I didn’t have to deal with them as it was Carol’s job. Even then it wasn’t face to face like it was at my supermarket job, which I hate and I’m powerless to do anything about as it is way out of my remit. In fact at times the complaints at my supermarket job are so far out of my remit its funny. I mean no one would complain to a road sweeper about planning permission decisions, just because they work for the council.

 

The last week of full time work at AFK was better as my boss had returned to work from Jury service and I took a day off to see my social worker even though that was a day I had to work at the super market. Also the pressure was off because that raffle T6 had all been done and the T7 draw wasn’t for a while yet. I still didn’t have time to do everything that Ben normally does as I didn’t have time to bombard our team (Ben calls it bombarding people when he sends loads of funny e-mails about trains and bananas to colleagues).

 

I asked my boss if I managed to do the same amount of work as Ben. She told me that Ben wouldn’t have done any more then me and the reason the raffle work piled up was that summer was a busy time as there are more people willing and able to sell raffle tickets in that nice weather. I figured Ben from his many years experience in this job knew exactly when to take his holidays.  They say aspies are good with money and numbers and I managed to put several thousand pounds on the system over the weeks.

 

Blogged by Richard

Making mugs: my project

20/08/2009 - Leave a Response

My name is Tanya and I was asked to help with designing mugs to sell to the public in order to raise more awareness for the charity. First of all a team of young Action For Kids students researed other charity’s merchandise on the internet to see what people would buy.

Then another group of students went out into Crouch End with a questionaire to ask the public what they would buy and how much they would pay. Then the students started to design different mugs, they came up with about 20 different designs, so we put it to vote to see which were the most popular and we came up with two designs.

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Then a printer came into the office and I asked him some questions to do with the mugs and he said he would give us the mugs and package them for free. We then edited one of the mugs (the tree mug) where each of the students designed a flower or leaf and we put them all together took pictures and put them on the comuter.

Then I sent them to our printer with the Action for Kids logo and colours, for him to print he said it would take three weeks to print. When they got delivered everyone was excited including me, seeing our designs on mugs is very exciting, even more exciting is thinking that the public are useing our mugs designed by us.

Now we are selling them by word of mouth and local business Loukias has helped, and Budgens have given Action For Kids a stall outside there shop in Crouch End, to sell the mugs.

Blogged by Tanya

Me with Loukia from Loukia’s cafe on Tottenham Lane, N8

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 Buy an Action For Kids mug designed by our students! Project manager Tanya, pictured with the mugs, said “I am really pleased with how they turned out and I hope that people will buy them”. They are available for £5 each (including p&p). Email partnerships@actionforkids.org to place an order.