compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
even more so - now (can't believe it's 6 years since)
the new parent company of zaadz
so without further ado lets just -
As Homo sapiens sapiens emerged within the early human world approximately
40,000 years ago, it seems that Homo universalis – one who incarnates
the ever-unfolding Universe Story – is emerging now among us.
This emerging type of human is not a new religion, or a new ideology, but
the new being within each of us being called out precisely as the planet
reaches its limits to growth and hovers between evolution and extinction.
It is more important than ever for us to be together in resonance, in
the field of our own conscious evolution – especially while separated
consciousness wreaks havoc upon the ‘birth-torn’ Earth.
It is time to nurture this metamorphosis within ourselves, so that the
deeper reality of our emerging potential can express itself more
fully through us, as us, and as a new norm.
To use the butterfly analogy: we are ‘imaginal cells' crossing over
from the disintegrating body of the societal caterpillar, entering the
brief period of metamorphosis to become something never experienced
before on this Earth. In this “chaos window” we are recreating and
re-assembling ourselves, finding our new vocations and being
intuitively guided as to our emerging functions and structures.
One by one we are forming the still invisible new body, preparing
for our sudden appearance as members of a societal butterfly.
Our pilot programme is focusing on twinning, bringing together grass roots communities and working in partnership with a wide range of specialists in both local and international development. The principles behind Penny On transcend politics and religion, they resonate with people at an emotive and humanitarian level. Common goals call for common sense and collective intelligence. There is an old saying … none of us are as smart as all of us !
The young people get to see first hand the scale of the challenge, seeing for themselves the most effective strategies and become involved in building awareness, raising funds and getting to the heart of the problems that affect their community. By twinning grass roots communities we foster peer to peer relationships between ordinary people who are often “in the problem” they know first hand through their lives about the reality of deprivation and exclusion. These heroic people are the experts who hold the key to eliminating poverty from the grass roots up.
Nature sustains us, it feeds us, protects us and nourishes us. When we work with nature we can create solutions to poverty that empower people, that support life, economy and community. Working with nature means encouraging bio-diversity, thinking beyond the current accepted norms and towards greener, self sufficient and abundant environments. Here’s how 5,000 people benefited from natures solutions.
Mitchell High School was originally Hanley High School which the designer
of the Spitfire, R.J. Mitchell attended. At the age of 16 years he gained an
works - at the end of which he worked in the drawing office at Kerr Stuart
is history, so to speak. Hanley High School was renamed Mitchell High
School, in honour of its connection with its illustrious student.
Mitchell High School and Penny-On
This note aims to address two questions of particular relevance to the
Penny-On project, and is based on a recent visit to Mitchell High School.
The two questions are:
1. What’s so special about what’s happened at Mitchell High School
during the last five years?
2. What value can the Penny-On team bring to the Mitchell project and the wider community of Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme?
What’s So Special About Mitchell High School?
Six years ago, before the arrival of Debbie Sanderson, Mitchell High School
was a fairly typical “failing school”. Situated on the edge of the
Bentilee community, near Stoke-on-Trent, the school draws from a
catchment area that has many unpromising features, including high
levels of long-term unemployment, crime and drug use.
In the five years since Debbie’s arrival (in 2002), the school has made enormous strides, including the following key features:
• High levels of engagement with the local community;
• Provision of adult learning services to well over a thousand people;
• Extraordinarily sophisticated information systems, including the deployment
of over 150 “thin client” terminals to pupils’ homes in the community;
• Achievement of special status as a Business and Enterprise Academy.
An Epicentre for Education and Enterprise
The key to Mitchell’s success is that it has established itself as an epicentre for education and enterprise, not only for the pupils but also for the
wider community. This is all the more extraordinary, given that many
of the families from which the pupils are drawn have experienced
several generations of unemployment.
The irony, of course, is that the Stoke-on-Trent area has a long history of extraordinary commercial activity, itself being enormously influential in the development of the pottery industry during the industrial revolution. However the last hundred years have not been kind to the area, with dramatic declines in both the pottery and coal industries.
If Mitchell High School can provide the catalyst for a new generation of entrepreneurs in the area, its service to the wider community will go way beyond that of any normal school. It has the opportunity to spark a transformation across the entire Stoke/Newcastle conurbation.
The Role of the Penny-On Trust
This last point introduces one of the opportunities for the Penny-On team to
make a big difference in the Stoke/Newcastle area, which is to
publicise and propagate the success of Mitchell High School. If we can
capture and then disseminate the key lessons from Mitchell, to other
schools that face similar challenges, we can play an invaluable role in
ensuring that Mitchell is viewed by other schools as a valuable
resource and a beacon, to be engaged and learned from, rather than
viewed with suspicion and resentment for “making them look bad”.
Work has already begun to engage young people from other parts of
Stoke/Newcastle, with a view to sharing the lessons from Mitchell with
them. Martin Dewhurst has met with a group from a youth club in Chesterton, and a similar initiative is underway in Trentham.
A key point about Penny-On is the way in which it calls on young people to adopt a “giving” orientation to the world, rather than a “getting” orientation. Young people gain an understanding that there are people in the world who are much less fortunate than themselves, and that, by their
efforts, they can make a big difference
to the lives of those people. This is a world away from the
“entitlement mentality” that can all too easily affect a community such
as Bentilee, which has experienced relatively severe economic
conditions during the 20th Century.
Community-Level Engagement is Key
One of the principles of Penny-On is the principle of connecting communities. Any money raised by Penny-On will always be spent either in the local community or in another specific, known community in the developing world. It will never disappear into a general pot, its destination and purpose to be determined by an unknown bureaucrat.
The implication of this is that the people in the community that raises the money will always have sight of where that money goes, ensuring that they retain psychological ownership of the outcomes, whether those are in the UK or elsewhere.
From the standpoint of the community in the developing world that receives the funds, there is also a big positive impact. This is money that comes with love, from a specific group of people,
giving the recipient community a clear message that they are known and
cared for, by a group of people they’ve never even met.
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