Our simple choice, one big problem

Hungry child

Photo credit: jrmiller482

“C’mon Jess, you’re going to be late for school if you don’t have your breakfast soon! What’s it going to be today? We’ve got:


Rice Crispies




This is a typical weekday morning for us in the Johnson household. Stress levels can go through the roof trying to get our little one ready for the day ahead, but when I step back and really think about it, it’s not that big a deal, is it?!

If Jess decides she really doesn’t want her breakfast that day she’ll be OK. There’ll be some warm buttered toast waiting for her when she gets into class, then there’s school dinners to look forward to, and not forgetting the selection of scrummy puddings on offer; jelly and ice-cream, cake and custard, fresh fruit and pancakes, chocolate crispy cake – the list goes on!

For too many people, they will not have this luxury or choice.

The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest food bank, says it handed out 1.2 million food packs in 2016/17. Compare that to the 41,000 food packs in 2009/10, that’s a 2927% increase!

Some people will use services like this more than once. It’s said that the average person will use a food bank twice a year, this means around 590,000 different people relied on the services of the Trussell Trust in 2016/17.

These figures are heart-breaking.

So, on 14 June 2017 I’ll be joining an army of UK Housing professionals like Amy Nettleton and Neil Goodrich (who convinced me to sign up), to take part in #UKHousingFast. We’ll be giving up our meals, putting together food packs and raising funds, all in support of, and to raise awareness for, the amazing Trussell Trust.

Plate pledge

My #PlatePledge for #UKHousingFast 2017

If you’d like to know more, or fancy getting involved yourself, visit the #UKHousingFast blog.

Thank you.


Pay it Forward

I remember watching a film some 10 years ago called Pay it Forward. It wasn’t the greatest movie I’ve ever seen but its message has stuck with me to this day. The movie is based on a novel of the same name which tells the story of a young boy who does three good deeds for others in need. All the child asks in return is that they pass on the good deed to three other people and keep the cycle going. It made me think that I should be doing more for others.

Over the past few days I’ve been badgering my family, friends and colleagues to help me on my personal journey to promote awareness and raise much needed funds for men’s health including prostate and testicular cancer. And over the coming weeks I’ll continue to give them all a gentle nudge to dip into their pockets, tell people about the charity and tweet where and when they can to get the message even further widespread. For me the 11th month of the calendar will now take on a new name, no longer November but instead Movember!

I’ve always been keen to support fundraising of good causes. I find it difficult to walk past somebody collecting in the high street without putting in some loose change and just as hard to pass up the opportunity of re-tweeting for somebody who’s asking for their message to get further into the digital domain, so it seemed only right that I now try and make a difference to peoples’ lives using some of my own initiative.

In the workplace we are always conjuring up fantastic ways of raising funds for charity. A number of colleagues are keen runners and one in particular raises huge amounts of money each year for Children with Cancer UK, a leading national charity dedicated to the fight against all childhood cancers. Another colleague runs the brilliant Link Romania Shoebox Appeal where boxes filled with gifts are passed onto families at Christmas time who live in some pretty appalling living conditions. These are just a couple examples of some amazing fund-raising people I know do; year in, year out – and I’ve supported both. But now it’s my turn to help raise the coffers!

Sadly I lost my father-in-law to cancer this month. Dave was more than just my wife’s Dad; he was like a friend to me. We’d quite often speak on the phone or text each other, we’d shared many family holidays, played snooker together, even shared a similar taste in music and often went to concerts together to see the likes of Kasabian and Kings of Leon. Dave had, in my opinion, three of the finest characteristics any human being can possess; a huge amount of patience, heaps of kindness and a seemingly endless amount of time to listen to what you had to say. Having spoken to friends and family who knew Dave, they all said the same.

I’m hoping that these three gifts from Dave will be passed onto at least three others whose lives he touched and they in turn do the same to three or more others that they know. This is why my post this time is more of a personal one. Movember is in Dave’s memory and I’m proud to be able to do something in his name and hoping that this post touches at least three people who, like me, can help make a difference.

Movember isn’t for everyone so you may choose to do something different; bake a cake for a colleague who needs cheering up, do some voluntary work for a charity close to you or take the rubbish out for your elderly neighbour who finds it difficult. No matter how big or small, if you did just three random acts of kindness and the good deeds were reciprocated – how amazing would that be?!

So, it’s nearly time for me to step up to the mark and set deed number one in motion. For one month I’m throwing away the razor blades and donning the coveted nostril tickler known as the moustache. If you’d like to support me and my team you can do so by clicking on my link below.


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