A new event on the calendar of London Link in 2016 was helping Quaker Homeless Action set up their one week shelter that runs over Christmas.
About 10 young people and 10 adults from London Link spent four hours – including a pizza lunch – sorting and folding good quality clean clothes into relevant piles, lugging heavy crates of food (that had filled two large Sainsbury trucks!) up a flight of stairs to the hall, and arranging the cans, bags and containers into a “shop”. A few moved a large decorated tree and others helped putting up two tents. The tents provided privacy for basic medical care and acted as as changing rooms to try on the donated trousers, shirts and coats. All this was contained in one hall. Elsewhere, camp beds were shifted and piled up and tables set out for the hot evening meals.
With the industrious help of the London Link young people, “the shelter was set up faster than any previous year and was better organised,” said Mark, an overseer for the day, when he thanked and expressed gratitude to all who helped. During the week the shelter was open, adult volunteers expected to provide a hot evening meal to about 70-100 people each day for the week, and beds for up to 25 people every night.
The Quaker Christmas shelter runs the last week of December every year, and is open 3pm – 10pm for people requiring hot food, showers, clothes and medical and social support. For those who rough sleep, are street homeless, there are a limited number of beds for both men and women, and a hot breakfast before 10am.
During the induction to the shelter, we were told how this Quaker shelter differs from many other mostly volunteer run Christmas shelters. Respect guides all that is offered. Volunteers sit and eat with the guests, and chat and drink tea, coffee, juice or water with them. The tents provide privacy that all of us would expect if seeing a doctor or trying on clothes. But probably the most unique aspect of the Quaker shelter is the “shop”. Guests are invited to walk through the shop, accompanied by a volunteer, to choose foods they like and fill up to three bags. The trained volunteers chat with each guest to learn of food likes and dislikes and any allergies, and to offer recipes or suggestions on how to make the chosen food last longer. In many shelters, prepacked bags of non-perishable goods are simply given to the guest, so that they have no choice or control over what they receive.
It is hoped that London Link Group will assist in the set up next December. So, if you missed out, you’ll have a chance next year. If you did attend, share your experiences so others know what it was like!
On 1st 2nd of October London link group didn’t go to Salisbury!
With the lead organiser of the advertised Salisbury event put out of action by a London hire bike accident (he’s on the mend), at the last minute we called upon our Friends at BYM/Friends House and Muswell Hill Meeting to come to our aid and help us create a new event. And that they did!
24 young people and 5 staff volunteers gathered at Friends House, London. We used the main meeting room for name games and a bit of re-introductions for the weekend. After this David Irving showed us around the library and took two groups down into the archives to look at some of the huge collection of books, leaflets and other documents going back to the 1600s that have been lovingly preserved.
A highlight was seeing the original books of sufferings, which are the records of all the Quakers who ‘suffered’ for their Quaker beliefs, such as not paying their tithes to the Church and ending up being fined or imprisoned for it.
We also took a quick tour of the offices of BYM and heard a bit about all the different programmes and work from Sam Walton and Georgina Bailey …and from unsuspecting members of staff passing through!
We had a good lunch at the Quaker Cafe and then a treasure hunt game around Friends House, looking for answers to questions such as “Which other Quaker organisations have offices at Friends House” to “What time is the fire drill practice”. Once all the answers were found we headed up to Muswell Hill meeting.
From there we made the short walk across to Highgate Woods where we played Frisbee, messed about on the swings and generally let off a bit of steam. Back to the meeting house and it was time for dinner. After we cleared up, we split into two groups, one group played the cereal box game and another played my new favourite: newspaper hockey.
On Sunday we had a great cooked breakfast which set us up well for either going into Quaker meeting or for a walk around Highgate woods. The sun came out and we were able to sit outside with our lunch and play a few more games before it was time to go home.
Thank you to Friends House and BYM staff and volunteers, Muswell Hill meeting, the London Link volunteers and all the young people for making it such a great weekend.
The short film produced at the Leaveners and London Link Animated Voices workshop was premièred at Britain Yearly Meeting at the end of May and… here it is:
direct link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFaet7Tq6Cs
Great work! Check out the other short films made by young Quakers on the Leaveners’ youtube channel
On the 30th April London Link Group hosted the Leaveners to run a workshop called ‘Animated Voices’. 2 workshop facilitators from the Leaveners, 3 London Link Group volunteers and 9 Young people met early on the Saturday at Hampstead Meeting house.
The aim of the day was to try and create a short film using stop motion techniques. The first job was to decide on a story to tell. After much deliberation a concept was born. The story was then worked out further by making story boards.
After lunch and a quick walk on Hampstead heath, we split into two groups; each with different parts of the story to film. To create the characters we used craft materials and improvised with various things around us to build up the scenes. Each person in the group had different roles, for example, camera operator and director. Each frame was then set out and photographed. At various points during the process we checked on the animation by rendering the frames together into a video.
It was a challenging but rewarding process seeing our scenes come alive! We hope to have an edited version of the film out soon and ready for screening at BYM.
“And the Oscar goes to… “
We’d like to thank all at the Leaveners that made this workshop possible, all the young people for their creativity, London Link volunteers for hosting and Hampstead meeting for the use of their Meeting house.