Ever wondered what happened to that charity we launched with a glittering array of friends (and 150 ripe Somerset cheeses) back in late 2017?
The idea was a charity called All The Other Lucys that would provide supported living for young adults with Autism and enable them to participate in society – in particular enjoying work experience and hopefully even paid employment.
Well – it’s happening. The property side of the charity is in the market to buy two houses. The care provider is hours away from offering a General Manager role to a superbly experienced person. We have several candidate “people we care for” we could offer places to, we have amazing supporters, sponsors, trustees and advisors.
We will open in Yeovil on the 2nd September 2019.
By some alchemy, we’ve created a network of extraordinary and generous people. Generous with their time, their experience, their contacts. Every moment of the journey so far has been a restoration of faith in the fundamental decency of people and their desire to help and be part of something.
I know it sounds like the rest of the world is going mad but if you want cheering up with some tales about the generosity and loveliness of people – give me a ring. Trump will still be President after our call, but I can at least tell you about the beauty of people at the other end of the spectrum.
Why is all this taking place in Yeovil?
Because through some other magic, that little town in Somerset has a general population who are more accepting of people with neuro-diversity than any other I know. Perhaps because so many people have worked at the local colleges, or perhaps because it’s a small community and everyone knows everyone. But the reception is cheery. Everywhere the people we will be caring for go, they are recognised. If they look upset or distressed, locals help them.
Yeovil is far from perfect, it has many challenges and not everyone conforms to the image I’m painting here, but somehow it has a greater warmth and love for people of all types than most of the communities I know.
And at the risk of idealising too far, Yeovil is what I hope all communities will become in their welcome for people of every type, including online communities.
All of our communities need to be a bit more Yeovil.
Katie Price has waged a powerful campaign against the vile people who troll the disabled online and has won widespread support. As the Guardian said yesterday, legislation to stop online abuse may be a long way off, but the momentum she and others have created will win out in the end.
And maybe then, the web will be a little more Yeovil.
And what was the Merchant of Venice reference in the title?
I was touched by the scene right at the end of an episode of Ben Elton’s hilarious Shakespeare period-sitcom “Upstart Crow”. The theme of the episode “If you prick us, do we not bleed” is about our views of “outsiders” and those we regard as “alien” The episode constantly refers to the speech by Shylock – from which it takes its title. In the speech Shylock, the much-derided Jew, makes the simple case that we are all the same.
Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?
The brilliance was in getting the speech read right at the end of the sitcom episode in front of a class from the local school and Will (David Michell) his wife Anne Hathaway (Liza Tarbuck)
The real brilliance was having it read by a boy with Down’s Syndrome.
Very very Yeovil.