Thursday, 12 January 2012

When volunteering is not good for your health

Steering group meeting today with the group of volunteers I volunteer with.
It's often brilliant to see these people because they are brilliant people
Many of the parents that I volunteer with are already in part time paid employment or like the (founder?) of the Grandparent's Association, campaign voluntarily elsewhere.

We discussed lots of things in the meeting but one of the things we discussed was our next workshop day which is going to focus on, of all things, housing. rrrrrargh 0 to -60 instantaneously as my whole body tenses.

I've got a pukka job at these workshops, as volunteer journo, but I came out of the meeting today in my automatic default suicide position and then finding myself there and reminding myself I have a child so get with it for fucks sake

800 families privately renting and claiming housing benefit in Camden are going to have to move as a direct result of benefit caps, I heard, in the meeting.

One of workshops (there tend to be three) on our workshop day, is going to advise people about the rent caps. We're going to try and wheel in a councillor to talk to the group and advise people about what they can do.

So pointless. So totally utterly pointless. I'm sat there shaking my head and holding the sick feeling in my throat as though the action might remove my head from my shoulders and I can be GONE.

However, I must remember that maybe some of these 800 families have never faced eviction before, or twice before, or thrice before and therefore won't know how utterly pointless any advice is from a local councillor (or minister for that matter).

You know, I did actually make some people laugh at the meeting. Not about housing, no, ha ha ha how could you think that?! No, just about something I read in the Guardian where charities are too afraid to speak out in support of the people they are registered to help incase their funding gets reduced. Yeah Yeah, what a charity said to me...needing to remain 'impartial.'
One woman's sister might lose her job for querying some reforms being tabled at the local prison. The advice is for her to keep her mouth shut or she'll be claiming JSA with 2 million other people.

How did I make people laugh. Well I sang didn't I, Olivia Newton John:

Let's get cynical cynical
We gotta get cynical
Let us hear these Bodies talk, these Bodies talk...!

As the group laughed I could hear my son in my deep subconscious shout "Be quiet mummeeeeeee" and me shouting back "I can do what I like in MY OWN BEDROOM SON"

I'm so cynical cynical
don't wanna be cynica-a-al
can you hear my feelings talk
my feelings balk
Can you hear my feelings talk?
OHHHHHH I'm so cynical, are you cynica -a-alllllllllll
Can you hear your feelings talk?

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