Huddersfield to Sheffield with an early stop off in Wooldale.
We are being greeted with wonderful spreads in each place and any ideas that we had of perhaps losing weight on this ride to London are being quickly dispelled in the face of such welcomes and generosity. We are also seeing buildings that have been carefully cared for in order to preserve spaces that groups can come together to wait and reflect and consider what actions are needed or are possible
Wooldale was a small historic meeting perched on top of a hill. Sheffield is a thriving modern meeting with a bustling sense of activity.
In each meeting there are conversations - exchanges with people we have never met about their concerns and our own. Everywhere we go we are hearing people speak about the growth in food banks in their areas and the cuts to charities that were doing good work to serve vulnerable people.
We are gathering stories on postcards and carrying these with us carefully as these are the stories of people who often struggle to get heard. Today, I spoke with a woman I had never met and she spoke of a charity that had been supporting several people with severe mental illness in her area. it had just had to close due to lack of funds.
There is a truth to the fact that when communities need to work together they can work together. In the face of such frequent stories that seem to represent such backward steps, the challenge is to not succumb to feeling overwhelmed and to believing that nothing can be done or that someone else should be doing it. The challenge seems to involve finding small steps, some positive way of engaging with others on actions that seem important.
And all of that determination to take action depends on individuals (children who become adults) having a sense of feeling empowered, having had enough experiences that their efforts lead to results that matter, or that in the face of set backs they can bounce back.
" If I had understood these ideas before I could have been a lot more effective. In previous jobs I have usually been left to get on with it. Now I have a framework that helps me know what I am doing and why in my work with complex young people and their families" Jenny, Family support worker