Redefining the concept of charity

As you know I am someone who is adventuring along Hope’s pathway and asking a lot of questions along the way. One question that I am exploring is the concept of ‘charity’.

Charity implies philanthropy; giving something to someone as an act of kindness. And from charity has sprung the retail industry that is charity shops. However when unpicked, these are rather interesting. Because, although they support charities such as the RSPCA, Shelter etc finacially, I am not sure that many of the homeless clients that visit our food and clothing bank could afford a £10 coat from a charity shop, or even a £5 coat. The average maximum donation for the clothes we give away for free is £1, which is absolutley fine.

So many people like myself are able to buy lovely things in charity shops and many many people are not. So what is left? Not a lot really. So many people and I see this first hand, are walking around with shoes with holes in them and no coat.

Perhaps we need to look at this again. In these times of Covid, surely having sufficient clothing ie a Winter coat, is essential and decent footwear. Furthermore, having decent clothing for children is also esential.

I find it very interesting that the area where I live is an area of high social deprivation and yet the Covid figures are relatively low. I have begun to wonder about the reasons for this. One hypothesis is that as we have many food banks, maybe people are eating well enough to remain healthy and also as we are clothing people, maybe they are keeping warm. The food bankis do deliveries so that too is contributing to people being able to stay inside and keep warm.

Covid needs a holistic approach in my view; keeping shielded if needed, warm clothes and helathy nourishing food for adults and children. These are human rights. Covid is a virulent disease, but I feel there are ways to tackle it which involve wider issues than mere statistical information and local lockdowns.

Today’s recipe of hope is to consider what charity means to you and think a little out of the box in regard to supporting your local community X

The D word

This evening I wanted to discuss a rarely discussed topic: dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder. Here are some interesting facts:

  • Daniel Radcliffe (Actor)
  • Cara Delevingne (Model, Actress and Singer)
  • Florence Welch (Singer)
  • David Bailey (Photographer)

The above famous people have dyspraxia, as do I. I wasn’t diagnosed until studying towards my MA.

I want to share this because the d word doesn’t need to hold us back. It means we are different and can think differently. I describe myself as ‘out of the box’. There is a lot of hope in having any condition that makes us different, because it makes us special and unique. This is to be celebrated.

Today’s second hope recipe is to always celebrate those who do things differently X

References: (accessed 18/10/2020)

(accessed 18/10/2020)

The Indian Doctor

My tv viewing and reading has increased during lockdown and one programme that I absolutely love is The Indian Doctor. But beware: this is addictive. So don’t think you can get away with watching one episode.

This series is creamy on the surface, but has a bite to it. It deals with profound issues; life death, truth, deceit, morality, racism and all in a wonderfully effervescent way. The acting is strong and compelling, the script is convincing and it is altogether worth a watch.

Any followers who are also enjoying this series, please comment and let us know your thoughts. This was a recommendation and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. I think it is a very hopeful programme, but not in an in-your-face type manner.

Today’s recipe of hope is to find a television programme that is hopeful or a film and indulge. Put your feet up and enjoy some you time. And please let us know what you watched and share with us. I am on series 3 now and can’t wait to view.

The Indian Doctor

References (accessed 18/10/2020)

Christmas in Covid

I have been thinking about our clothing bank and what we will be doing for Christmas. So I thought I would share this with you today. Martyn Lewis, who I greatly respect:

‘is encouraging people to avoid getting themselves into unnecessary debt this Christmas by buying gifts for the likes of cousins, friends, neighbours and teachers.’

Debt, as we all know is on the increase. Poverty and child poverty is on the increase. So how can we change the face of Christmas present?

Here are some suggestions. We are going to do a Santa Project and wrap gifts for families who are in financial difficulty, so they can give gifts with dignity. We are collecting beautiful good quality toys and wrapping them up. We will also put some out on our stalls over the next few weeks.

Not forgetting our homeless community, we will do some gifts for them. I think Christmas in Covid is about looking outward, beyond our normal sphere and seeking to touch those who are relaly struggling.

Today’s rceipe of hope is to consider doing something differently for someone this Christmas; a secret act of kindness for a stranger, or giving money to a charity X

References (accessed 17/10/2020)

Many hope lessons in Covid

Today I am going to post twice, as I had a little break and this will cover the missing posts over the past four days. So I wanted to share about my Covid experience and hope lessons I have learned.

  1. Change direction.

The pandemic has brought many things to a grinding halt. This is really sad. However closed doors mean other doors can open. I will nevcer forget the experiment I did one day with a rusty clothes rail and a few second hand clothes. This was the beginning of the burgeoning enterprise that is now our clothing bank. I posted a while back on how big things start small and this is an example. We have a lovely team of volunteers and we are clothing many of the most vulnerable in our community.

2. Be brave

I think changing direction takes courage. It is hard sometimes to say farewell to an old path, but is is necessary. Life is about twists and turns and transitions. Be courageous and take that step towards a new challenge. And don’t look back.

3. Don’t let others define you

I have dyspraxia and with this come many challenges, primarily; organisation and structure. But I don’t let others’ views of me define me, hard as it is sometimes. I battle through and do what I feel called to do.

4. Do research

This may seem a bit unusual, but with the helath service stretched, I feel I need to take responsibility for my own health and wellbeing. I am reading about how to keep healthy (see Lady D’s for an excellent blog on health and mental wellbeing) and I read a lot. I feel that it is important to take regular exercise, eat well and I also take vitamin D daily. That is my view. I also spend a lot of time outside and host the clothing bank outside, because that is safe. And so far so good. I have been well over the past few monthgs, which is a rela blessing (apart from falling over which was an unfortunate accident).

5. Relax and rest

I don’t know about everyone else, but I think pandemics are exhausting. There i8s a barrage of negative news hurling itself at us daily and this is psychologically wearing. I think it is relaly important to rest and do little fun things like reading. I have read many books this year and will write a post on that soon. I find just lying down and ‘having a good think’ as I like to call it re-energises me.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the pandemic? Please share.

Today’s recipe of hope is to choose one of the above and put it into practice. And do let me know what you think. Keep safe everybody X

Hello and an explanation

Hello everyone. Those faithful followers may have noticed an absence of my daily hope recipes. Last week I had a really horrible fall and hurt my hand and foot and to be honest it knocked me for six. I said I would write every day for a year. And we are five posts down. In an effort to make up for it I am going to post more over the next few days. I apologise because I didn’t manage to reach my goal. But the truth is hope is about falling over sometimes (literally in my case) and getting back up.

I hope you are all keeping well. I have many things to share which I hope you will find interesting. I will share some more about our clothing bank and the lessons I have been learning.

One thing I think is important to me is that when things ‘fit’ they fit. I am doing a lot around clothes at the moment and one man tried on a jacket that just wasn’t quite right. Another came along and tried it on and it was a perfect fit. He commented that he would be auditioning for a part in Grease. It was interesting that another person rejected a hat because it had some pigeon poop on it (we moved the tables further out) and another person took it. People’s standards are different.

When things don’t fit they just don’t. When things don’t work they just don’t. Sometimes it is facing up to it and acknowledging the truth rather than trying to make something fit when it doesn’t. This is true of so many things; jobs, friendships, relationships.

Let’s find our perfect best fit X

The Clothes, shoes, food helpline

Recently, as you know, I have been living in a new and different way, questioning many old habits and things I took for granted; essentially my material possessions and why I have them and whether I need them and could I help someone else by giving some away? I had a great deal of my former identity tied up with a beautiful home and now that I don’t have that anymore, I find it interesting what one can live without and what one really needs to be happy: people and relationships.

I wanted to share today about a lovely Facebook site, called the clothes, shoes helpline. I joined this some months back and it is lovely. I am not sure who started this, but it has grown and many are requesting help through this service. It is primarily a vehicle where kind people offer help to those who need it and is simple and beautiful. People ask for all sorts of things. There is no discrimination, no judgement. And it really works.

This for me is how society should operate. Those who have helping those who have not. A fair exchange. A lovely group of people. And there is a lovely secret Santa group too. People supporting one another through this Covid situation.

I share this because it is one example of many of just how kind people can be. No hidden agendas, just a desire to support one another. The voluntary sector is doing amazing things through these challenging times. These unsung heroes all helping one another. A Hope Army is how I see them.

Today’s recipe of hope is to think about whether you may wish to joining or start something like this, or a clothing bank. Let us all up our Hope game during these difficult dark days X


Living life differently

I think most of us view life very differently now than at the beginning of the year, pre lockdown, pre pandemic. But that isn’t such a bad thing. Re-evaluation is important; we evolve, grow, re-evaluate and reflect.

So what are the lessons of life for me this year? I have learnt to truly appreciate small things; my brother visited today and it was lovely to watch tv with him and have a chat and a cuppa. I love spending time with friends. I have loved being with new born kittens and beautiful walks. I cherish my home hairdressers visits. I have read as never before. I would have thought these things quite mundane before.

So what has changed? What do I do differently? I have started to really assess what I throw away. I try to waste as little as possible. If clothing given to the clothing bank is stained or soiled, I will try to rescue it if possible. I am following the wise words of David Attenborough, not to waste. I am not going shopping for clothes, because I do not need any and I work in a clothing bank. I try to help when I can and listen and be kind. And not be too hard on myself.

Waste not want not is an old adage, but very true. My friend was going to throw away a long metal spike and I thought this could be used for a homeless person to cook something ovcr a fire. So it didn’t go in the bin. There is a wonderful project called The Scrapstore, run by Mencap, which accepts old magazines and craft materials and supports people with learning difficulties, preparing them for employment.

Today’s recipe of hope is not to waste things. Let’s all do our bit for our precious planet X


Charity begins at home

I am writing this because I have been considering the concept of the charity shop model. I want to explore this a bit in today’s post.

Charity shops have been a well established feature of the UK for many years. And support many charities, in bringing in finances from cheap items. However, as time has ticked by and many stores are offering increasingly cheap products, charity shops are often more expensive than the actual shops selling new products. I looked in the window of one charity shop and the items were, in my mind far too overpriced.

The problem is, many people I work with cannot afford food, let alone clothes, or even underwear or socks. Universal Credit is very hard to manage on. Numerous people are using foodbanks, simply to survive. And charity shops are beyond the reach of many.

So what is the answer? I would argue that the concept of charity shops needs to be rethought. I think there need to be clothing banks, or swap shops, where people can exchange goods without money changing hands. Many people are losing their jobs and are in severe financial difficulty. And charity can begin at home; by giving away what we don’t need, to others who do need it.

There is a lovely food clothes helpline in the UK, where people ask for help and others offer it. It is basically a kindness exchange. I think in these times, this is essential. We need to help one another.

Today’s recipe of hope is to think about how to support our planet. David Attenborough encourages us not to waste anything, so let’s aim for that. I try not to throw much away if I can help it, because I want the planet to survive. Let’s all play our part X

Woo hoo!!


I am thrilled to announce another significant milestone today. There will be two posts today as I am catching up with my backlog! I have received 500 likes for my blog. Yay!

My top viewing audience is the UK, followed by India then the USA. I am grateful to all of you all for liking, following and encouraging me in my journey and especially for commenting. It can be lonely typing away and one sometimes wonders if what you are writing is any good.

Love to you all X

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