“Should I give to people who beg?” 

Well, today is the final day of being stood outdoors manning the Help us Help Cabin and its been a week of highs and lows. I still maintain that I will not give money on the streets to people who ask or beg. The reason I won’t is that I do not think that giving money can replace what I think most people need and that’s a feeling or sense of being connected to other people.

I have spoken, seen and witnessed a lot this past week, so apologies in advance but I will be writing, ranting and offloading about the whole experience, what I have seen, witnessed and my thoughts probably for the next few blogs

The million dollar question throughout the week has been “Should I give to people who Beg?” There it is again, whatever happened to people thinking for themselves!

Don’t get me wrong I try my best to be as understanding as I can, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be freezing me knackers off in friggin winter talking to strangers having conversations. Sometimes though it does feel like, it would be easier trying to explain Abert Einstein’s theory of relativity or quantum physics than trying to explain why some individuals/humans find themselves on the streets asking for money from complete strangers and its not just me but well-experienced workers in the field, some of whom were once on the streets cannot explain. Its certainly going to take more than a 10-minute conversation from a cabin, but at least its a start.

I could describe Sheffield streets as a circus, stood in that cabin I have come across the usual clowns, I’ve come across the guys who can get the laughs, the guys playing cat and mouse with the authorities, I’ve seen the trapeze artist who’s daring stunts leave you holding your breath, these are the same guys who I have seen shamelessly approach unsuspected members of the public asking/demanding money to the illusionists who sit there  on the floor with their notepads claiming to be raising funds for a room for the night. Then you have the vendors who walk the crowd who are not there to entertain, but to sell you an ice-cream cone or a drink during the break, in Sheffield’s circus these would be described as our Big Issue Sellers or vendors. 

Do you remember the days when you would see the guys selling the Sheffield Star on the street corners, with their mobile paper stands, shouting “Morning Star” to attract passers-by who would have their money ready to make that faster than light money transaction, take the folded paper then be on their way to where ever they were going? You don’t see them anymore, in fact, I think there is still a guy who occasionally sells the star at the bottom of the Moor, but gone are the days when they would be practically dotted all over the city center. Back in the day, they would be out first thing with the morning edition, sell the lot then be back out on the streets in the afternoon selling the updated evening version. You would always be guaranteed to get a give smile, thank you, or see a couple of other people stood with the news seller chewing the fat about god knows what! 

Our Big Issue sellers have replaced the old school weather-worn, guys who would be out on the streets, come rain or shine selling the local rag.  I will happily give a Big Issue seller a couple of quid without purchasing a paper, because I know

a) I won’t have the time to read it,

b) They can sell the paper to someone who does have time,

c) I’d rather chat and have a conversation, say hi, have they been busy? (ya know the same kind of question you would ask a taxi driver, who you have never met before, just to make small talk and the journey a little more pleasant)

d) I’ll happily chuck em a couple of quid just in case they don’t sell all their papers I mean the poor fuckers are out there come rain or shine selling newspapers to earn an honest living, well as honest as it gets.

And to those who say “yeh but they are still spending their earnings on drugs!” I’d say, “so fucking what? I don’t have to tell you what I spend my money on because I have earned it”. They are no different to all the big shots or your average Joe who thinks it’s acceptable to be shoving copious amounts of coke up their nose every weekend, because it’s cool or because they can afford it!

I can absolutely guarantee that every single one of those guys stood there who has invested £1.25 per paper to sell for £2.50 has more resilience than every ten or hundred of all those people who walk by pretending not to see them. They are some of the bravest guys I know, they stand and take the punches of rejection on a daily basis, they put themselves out there, exposed to the elements and looks from thousands of strangers walking past, dealing with looks that I can only guess can feel icier that a northerly wind.

Can you imagine asking someone to trade places for a day? (well, in fact, they do to help raise awareness) but can you imagine asking some of the younger generation, or your keyboard warriors, or them in their ivory towers having a go?

The guys who sell the Big Issue’s in our towns and city centers are just like you and me the only difference is they make their living on the streets and there personal circumstances may be slightly different to ours,  they may be either homeless, vulnerably housed or just in need of earning an income.

If you have never bought a Big issue, or haven’t for a while, do ya sen and them a favor, stop have a chat, drop em a quid or buy one of their papers, or even give em a hug! you will never know just how much that will mean to them.

So when someone asks me “should I give to people who beg?” My response will always be, “you decide?” but before making your decision, please do your research, check to see if there is already support out there ask yourself “will this change, change this person’s life?” If the answer is NO then to ask yourself “How else could I help this person?”.

Right rant over, I’m off to the dentist to sort this fucking tooth out, then back to the stall for one last day, but still left with plenty more to think about, rant about for a few more blogs I suspect

But whatever you are doing or have planned for today look after ya sen, Love Fordy x

You dont lose your mojo – You just cannot see it

“lost me mojo”, it’s a common phrase, but what does it actually mean. Yes this is what I was reflecting on this morning, playing over me noggin whilst being bathed in the fake sunrise from the bedside alarm clock. “What the fuck does losing ya Mojo mean?” I looked it up according to the Oxford Dictionary it’s A magic charm, talisman, or spell. And according to the Cambridge Dictionary, it’s a quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy.

And according to Wikipedia Mojo is something commonly served with fresh bread rolls at the beginning of a meal. “Well, I’ll have a starter at every fucking meal then if that’s the case!”

My definition of “losing me Mojo” has been a combination of things just late…

Firstly I haven’t been physically well, oozing snot/water that could have refilled the Lady Bower Reservoir perhaps might have prevented the mindless fuck’s vandalizing the of Derwent village, “Nice work now ‘Cheryl’ and ‘Steve’ have scratched their names in one of the rocks, I hope you are proud of ya sens ya sad fuckwits!” 

Work – you know I love my work, and it goes through cycles, September (recovery Month) October (planning Help us Help) November organising the Help us Help stall then finally December its the Grand finale of coating the BBN assessments, scoring, organizing the Judging event, which once over will give me some breathing/thinking time before the 10 year BBN anniversary awards in February – YES I am working on work for 2019 already. 

Time – as I have mentioned previously this is something we have no power over, we just have to make the most of what we have got at the given time, having said that, being busy with work has meant I have been kinda feeling like I have lost a little of me Mojo. Well, I say lost, it’s not been lost, I have still made sure that I spend some quality time wi me sen every morning, just not as much as I’d like.  

Injustice and Loss -dealing with the emotions of losing a dear mate, the tragic loss of life and loss for the parents and loved ones close to him. Dealing with the public /social media narrative that “No one is helping anyone anymore” they say scream sat behind their fucking keyboard!

Guilt – of not spending more time with loved ones because my life has been consumed with other external factors, christ I haven’t spoken to me Bessies of late through our closed facebook group! or not seeing or spending enough time with the family. 

And that’s ok, because I was and am acutely aware that the previous and next couple of months were always going to be busy, the difference between this year and previous years is that instead of running around like a demented, victim filled moron/fuckwit, complaining and moaning about the overwhelming pressures of work – I have been a lot calmer, a lot more rational,  now I’m not saying I haven’t been stressed or overwhelmed,  the negative narrative chattering in me noggin has still been running at 100 miles per hour, but I have, I have to say felt like I have coped a lot better than previous years. I used to be plagued by a physical feeling that would come on when stressed, wait for it… “my teeth would actually start tingling” yes you heard right, there were times it felt that they were falling out. I was talking to Helen me mate at work the other day, “I cannot remember the last time I had that feeling?” Well apart from losing half of me tooth after eating a curly whirly last Saturday – but hopefully the dentist can sort that one out tomorrow! “I’m having a teeth tingling moment” used to be a standing joke in the office! But honestly, I haven’t felt that for a while, which is an indication to me that I am in a better place. Call it mindfulness, offloading me shit on here, making time for me sen, having a word wi me sen, being reflective whatever you want to call it. This morning is the first time in a week or so I have felt I have found a little of me mojo but I don’t believe that my mojo has got nothing to do with magic or is an innate talisman, my mojo has always been there, ‘Its me’ but for a number of reasons, factors as described above, I haven’t been able to see it or feel it of late.

So in summing up (cos this bird has got some work to do), I believe no-one actually loses their mojo, its just sometimes life/emotions get in the way and hides itself from ourselves, we just need to remind ourselves that we always have some mojo, you can find your mojo, but you can see/feel your mojo more clearly by nurturing and watering it occasionally.


Love Fordy x

Chris Scott the Boomarang kid – RIP

Left to right – Chris Scott, Myself and Mick Holmes

Not really had the time to have much of a word wi me sen this week, well not on here anyway. After trying to avoid our old man for much of the previous week I failed miserably and have now got the dreaded lurgy. Two days out in the damp and cold weather probably didn’t help, but thanks to the support from friends and colleagues I have been able to stay at home and hibernate to recover ready for work tomorrow. Only a couple more weeks of deadlines to get out of the way and then I will feel like I can start to unwind in time for the Christmas break. 

I got a call message Friday night, saying that there were rumours that someone I have known for the past 20+ years had passed away and after a few searches on social media and post from people who also knew Chris kinda confirmed it.

I First met Chris when he came through the doors at Kickstart, which was a day rehabilitation center, I had not long since started volunteering there myself. Chris was a charming and charismatic guy who was desperate to get off the gear and he did achieve it and would have long periods of abstinence, he would be the first in line to volunteer and help others, he was acutely aware and conscious of how his using impacted and hurt his family. Chris’s mom, Barbara is one of the nicest women I know, despite her pain she was always there to offer comfort and support to other parents baring their souls in the weekly support groups, she was an active member in a local family support project called RODA, I recall she gave some of the best cuddles. 

Chris’s journey wasn’t easy and after periods of abstinence he would find himself back at the doors at Kickstart for help again. I remember myself and Mick Holmes chatting to him on one of the last occasions explaining that he “Had all the tools, he knew what he had to do, he just needed to use them”.

And he did, Chris went on to volunteer, secured himself a job at a the Burngreave Drugs project, where he was employed by the NHS, something he was extremely proud of, working with others who themselves were struggling with their own demons. Kickstart had folded and I was employed as a family and friends development worker, raising the profile of families who are affected by a loved one’s addiction, Chris took part in a short film to help raise awareness about the importance and benefits of families receiving support, he shared how important it was to him and how family support had actually helped his own recovery. Chris had got married, had a son and on the surface, he was doing great.  I do not know all the ins and outs, but through the recovery jungle drums, he had separated from his wife and it transpired he had either stopped using, forgotten or lost the tools, lost his way and found himself back in a relationship with addiction. Three years ago I was walking the Cholera Monument grounds, responding to reports that someone was sleeping rough when we got there, the den was like makeshift living quarters, it wasn’t until I retrieved some letters on the floor addressed to Chris, that I knew he was in trouble again. I made some calls and was relieved to hear he had touched based again with friends in the treatment services and got himself back on track. 

This was Chris’s signature, he never stayed in that relationship with drugs for long, he was like the fucking boomerang kid, he would get his tool kit out and would always bounce back, he never gave up and I will always admire him for that. Sadly for reasons unknown yet Chris won’t be bouncing back.

I have had many messages via Facebook, from people themselves knew Chris from their time at Kickstart, all of them have moved on with their lives, but all still have very fond memories of Chris. My heart breaks for his mom, who I cannot even to begin to imagine what she must be going through or his family, all I know is that Chris, despite his slip-ups his family have always been there and I know he was always eternally grateful for their support.

So, whilst I am sat here feeling sorry for me sen, this is just another reminder that I/We have a lot to be grateful for, “got no money, feeling shit? fell out wi ya partner?  sort it out, put on 2lbs? #haveafuckingword and remember at least your still breathing!”


Stop trying to control everyone else’s thinking and focus on your own


Back to the journalling again, have missed touching base, on here, on the blog life has gotten in the way of late, mainly down to work, but that’s ok despite being busier than usual having more than enough deadlines to meet, I am meeting them, plus I am managing it pretty much stress free. This time last year I was working on the same projects, same deadlines but was running around like a demented headless chicken. This year though, it feels more of a breeze, the sense of stress and pressure I would normally make myself endure seems a lot painless. And I put that down to a number of factors 

Despite daily busy schedules, I am still making time for me here, in my room, alone even turning the alarm back half an hour making sure I have the time for me, even if its half an hour. 

Thoughts and tasks requiring my attention flash in my head and with it comes a feeling in my gut, anxiety/ panic, but it last for no more than a couple of seconds because I am learning to be compassionate to myself, giving myself a break, reassuring myself that “I’m doing my best” over the years I have been plagued by anxiety, a drive to be the very best I can be, to never let anyone down, be there at a drop of a hat, riddled with guilt if I felt I thought I might have let someone down, hated seeing people in a bad place, always the first to talk them through it, help them rationalize the irrational, eager to please others, getting angry if I didn’t feel appreciated, or angry at others opinions, anger that they (someone who quite frankly plays no role in my life) is critical of the work being done to care and support others, a lot of this would be mainly fuelled reading too much social media.

Getting frustrated after offering people directions to find they ignored my advice took their own route only to find themselves in a dead end cul-de-sac full of shit, that they could have avoided “if only they had listened to me!”. deluding myself that if there was a problem, I could fix it, if someone was hurting, I could fix it, if I there was work that needed doing, I would do it, I would work overtime,  driven by wanting to make everything work. 

At no time previously did I ever take any time out for me, I used to do this many years ago but had gotten out of the habit. The habit of taking time to take a step back, reflect, think through my own irrational thoughts, or think through any anxiety I may have been experiencing. My “time out for me” would have been throwing myself around in a gym for an hour at an attempted to distract myself from my thoughts, trying to turn my body back to what it was twenty years ago. I would deal with my anger by pressing the “fuck it button” every Friday and crack open a can, switch off, forget, until Monday came back around again then I would step back on the wheel of insanity that had become my life, chasing the satisfaction highs, trying to avoid the dreaded lows, pursuing perfection, yes I was making a difference, I could always be counted on, but at what expense? I knew deep down that something had to change, but I didn’t know what or how? 

It’s now six months since I first had my meeting/catch up with me good mate Mick Holmes

And after re-reading all of the above, as I have just done, wondering what’s changed? I can see a couple of things that stand out…

Even now sat here writing this, I find myself, drifting off projecting about commitments I have got today at work, clock watching in case I get carried away with myself, making me late, but I just have a little #wordwimesen and remind myself, reassure myself that whatever happens “I’ll be ok” If it isn’t, “then it isn’t”  It’s out of my control and this is where the #shithappens comes into play, my kids hate it whenever I say it to them, when they might be moaning about something out of their control, but its true! 

I remember it well in the early days when people, loved ones close to me were curious about why I was getting up early in a morning and go for a morning run to come home and type away, before heading into work? They didn’t get it, I would get, ”you’re going to burn yourself out” or “make yourself ill” I even recall Danielle saying “you’re not turning into a hippy are you?”  This still makes me laugh and I could tell she still didn’t get it when I explained “I was just learning to not give as many fucks” 

I have taken to reading more, not the fiction thrillers I would read before bed, I started reading the likes of 

The subtle art of not giving a fuck, 

Time to think, 


The Big Magic, 

The chimp paradox, 

How to write your life story, 

Co-dependent no more, 

I thought it was just me? 

The denial of death, 

Lifelong writing habits and more recently a mindfulness guide for the frazzled, by Ruby wax. Can you see a theme …

And guess what? I am still as productive as ever at work, but I wake up in a morning looking forward or should I say prepared for any stress that will likely come my way opposed to dreading coming in the office turning on the computer to check what emails had been sent in my absence overnight. 

I am learning to think for myself again, something I found myself having to do many years ago when I found myself in a hospital bed in middle wood

I am making sure I make time for me, even if its half an hour on this keyboard offloading my thoughts. 

So even if you don’t get anything from reading this, that’s ok, I’m fine with that because it’s made me feel good about “myself” Shit is going to happen, shit is going to unfold around you, but you do have some choices about how you are going to react to it or deal with it. I’m finding that after 6 months of focusing on me, taking some time out for me, allowing myself some space to think for myself instead of trying to do everyone else thinking for them, I am focusing on my own thinking, I am still the same Tracey, just a happier version of me.

And on that note, I had better get me ass into work 🙂

Life is just a collection of cycles

Just a quick one today, after a few days of juggling meetings, and pulling together an application form that took me back to the dreaded dissertation days. The feeling of submitting it knowing that’s it, it’s out of my hands now and letting go feels bleeding amazing. I have a day of doing nothing, well i say nothing, I will be proudly promoting the helpushelp work at a regional convention that is discussing ways to tackle homelessness.

Life is just a collection of cycles, the seasons come every year, Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, sunsets, sunrises, and if you are unfortunate to be a woman then we are plagued by friggin the menstrual cycle every month!

Our thoughts, feelings, emotions quite often come in cycles too, a sad memory triggers thoughts, some good or maybe sad, which can affect how we act or react and before you know it those feelings pop up every frggin time you see or remember something, you go through the whole fucking cycle of emotions, feelings, and thoughts all over again!! But unlike the seasons or them dam periods, you do have some control over how you think?

“if you repeat your thoughts, they become an action. If you repeat an action, it becomes a habit. A repeated habit creates a fixed persona. A fixed persona becomes your destiny.”

if you keep saying to yourself  “I can’t do it?” before you even try then how the fuck do you think you are going to make any changes?

If you just carry along with the status quo, agreeing with whatever others tell you, or what you hear, or what you read, but never think for yourself then how the fuck do you think you are going to take back any of yourself or get to know you?

The fact is the world carries on regardless of what you do or want it to do, but you can challenge, question yourself, you can take some control back over yourself? OR do you prefer to be an observer

#shithappens #choice #dosomething #besomeone #beyou

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”

Yesterday was a day full of waves of shittyness but guess what I feel proud of myself because I rode that fucking wave regardless and managed to stay afloat whilst still maintaining to give the rods, two fingers to the previous wave that threatened to throw me into the sea.

Before I left the house I got a notification from a friend about an article in the local press that I had been quoted,  unbeknown to me there had been a member of the press at a cabinet meeting I had been presenting an update on a project I had been working on. I was very surprised that it was (for a change) pretty accurate (well apart from the fact the campaign starts next week, and the campaign has been running for over 4 years and not 1) but more importantly it was (I thought) positive and they got the fundamentals right, the message the narrative right.

“The key concept around Help Us Help is educating people about the different ways they can help the homeless, and it doesn’t all involve giving people money.”

“Changing perceptions is one of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to trying to get the message over to members of the public about what support services are available”

“Finding yourself on the street can happen through a number of misfortunes and circumstances. Many of those providing support have been there themselves. Run by dedicated professional personnel and volunteers, these people never give up”

But I do often wonder sometimes if people have read the same article or do some people need an interpreter for fuckwits? “harsh I know, but just sometimes, sometimes this is how I have to refer to people who I think are practically unable OR worst even unwilling to think for themselves. So when it was brought to my attention that a select few from social media la la land, who quite frankly after working in this field now for 20 years I have never heard of were interpreting and questioning the article, I couldn’t resist..

  • Telling them what to do? – nowhere in the article does it say don’t give
  • Who is this Tracey Ford? – who are YOU?
  • They copied my idea … fucking loved that one!
  • Charities need to be doing something meaningful – they are you idiot and have been for the past 30 years
  • We need a night shelter – we have some, unfortunately, some people don’t want to stay in them, so why would they stay in a new one?

What i did resist though, is reponding, reacting, making no attempt to justify and regardless of the waves of negativity and not reacting is what kept me afloat. Brain from the love sheffield page did a great job of asking some incisive questions, that fell on deaf ears, but thank you for your efforts Brian. 

So after a busy morning of meetings, I decided to sit my ass down on a bench, re-read some of the comments, I rode the wave of anger that some generated, #hadawordwithmesen and reasoned with some facts

  • I alone cannot change the opinions of thousands
  • I alone cannot change how people think, they alone can do that
  • People are entitled to their own opinion, even though i think it misguided, they probably think mine are too = Stalemate
  • Its done you cannot change those comments
  • Just let it go……

So the moral of my story is that despite being a fiesty bitch, sometimes even fiesty bitches need to #haveaword and say nothing, because quite frankly #shithappens and I recognised that this is just one of many shitty events I cannot change, just to make ME feel better, I had a choice about how I responded or reacted.

And this occassion I chose to stay afloat, and ride the rest of the waves that came my way for the rest of the day.

Working on recognising I am no Uri Geller and the only thing I can change and control is myself.

Love Fordy x

Inspired by Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax, Frazzled, I started reading this last night, a little weary I downloaded the sample for going for the full purchase and after reading a couple of chapters I have been hooked ever since and I reckon this will be one of those books I will go back to time and time again.

If you haven’t read it before then I would recommend you do. I did not know that ruby wax has got a”Masters in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Oxford.” I have previously read a little about mindfulness and I suppose I am practicing this in my own way every morning tapping away on this keyboard, setting the alarm for 6 am to allow myself an hour or more to myself, in my own thoughts without any outside distractions. Precious time to #haveawodwimesen and give myself some time to deal with the more important distractions that take place in me head, which for me I believe is doing a little more than breathing techniques. Whilst there is a place and apparently, research that supports the benefits of mindfulness, mindfulness helps you focus on how your thoughts are affecting your senses, anxiety, your emotions. I did actually wonder if she had been reading my blogs, when she talks about shit happening and learning to accept that most of it is out of our control, but “the key to dealing with shit is how we deal with it”, last night at 11.30 I sat back and felt incredibly, smug about myself concluding I must be smart and intuitive too! I reasoned with myself that I don’t need to do a masters at Oxford to justify or prove to myself that this #havingawordwithesen malkarly has improved how I think, how I approach shit in life now, like deadlines, dealing with Fuckwits, (essentially a stupid person) though they might be less stupid if they themselves started having a word with themselves!.

Who would have thought that my passion, desire to write a book, writing about my own personal experiences with addiction would have led me to be a better version of myself? That same old drive and passion to write the book that was like a fucking itch that refused to disappear, despite all the ointments of excuses I used in the past, would eventually bring me here four months later, with my very own personal office space, my own MacBook Air, (that only has £100 quid left to pay on it then it is ALL mine), I no longer drink to excess on the weekends like I used to, much to the amusement of my mates who cannot quite believe I am now favoring non alcoholic beers. Can you believe that I have actually lost over 9lb in weight without doing any exercise? But regardless of the progress made in the book, the weight loss, the benefits of taking some time out for me, even if its half an hour a day, or doing something I want to do or more importantly saying no to something I don’t want to do has improved how I feel about myself no end. The previous habitual habit of waking up hungover on a weekend has been replaced with getting up at stupid o’clock to spend some time with me. I still suffer anxiety about not getting everything done or forgetting to do something I had committed myself to, but instead of mentally beating myself up I simply #haveawordwimesen and talk myself down from all the insane thoughts that permeate my noggin.

So I suppose what I am trying to say is Just for today, you don’t have to go light candles, or sit in the Sukhasana yoga position, which is more difficult to pronounce that it is to try and get ya fucking legs at 48 years old and to go places they haven’t been since I was 5, start by doing one thing, just one thing that YOU want to do, for YOU. Get up and leave the computer and go for a coffee, people watch, call a mate who you haven’t spoken to for awhile, just to say hi, go for a swift walk but most importantly when you hear yourself pulling ya sen down take a step back and strip apart the negative script in ya head and rewrite it in plain English, fish out the facts, are your thoughts facts or fears? most often they are not facts just fear masked as facts. ask yourself “What am I assuming about myself” if it’s not true then don’t listen #haveawordwitheesen and move on. 

And on that note, I ought to get me sorry ass out of these Pj’s and get me ass into work, because that BBN application, the prep for the Purple flag assessment, preparations for the Help us Help Xmas stall ain’t going to write its self is it?

Love Fordy x

Sometimes you just got to “stop feeling fucking sorry for ya sen”

I weighed on at 13.07 on Friday and weighed in at 14.01 this morning – HOW the FUCK did that happen? that’s a full-on Half a fucking stone in one weekend? I was still feeling rough after an overindulgent weekend, I haven’t spent hardly any time on me, I’ve got shit loads of work to do, blah, blah, blah 

So here I was this morning, psyche myself up for a day of head down working on a BBN application that has to be in this Friday, I’d called into Macci dee’s for a black coffee hoping it would provide enough stimulation before heading to touch down and place where I would not be distracted.

On the way out I bumped into a woman I have known for a while, but haven’t seen for a few months. I met xxxx over 18 months ago, at the time she had just completed an alcohol detox, on the face of it, she looks a fucking tough old bird, she didn’t take any shit from anyone, she was never afraid to speak her mind, she was suspicious of people she didn’t know, but after a while of bumping into her and looking past the tough exterior, she reminded me of someone I once knew.


She was me many years ago when I was lost, not sure what or where I was going, like me, she had a sheer determination that she wasn’t going back to the booze, I never really knew her past story, to be fair that wasn’t relevant because all I saw was a strong and determined lady.

She has been doing bleeding amazing over the past year, she started working, volunteering, doing courses at Northern College, still rough as a bears arse, and she beat me hands down when it came to swearing, but you could see her self-confidence was building, it was a pleasure to watch her grow.  But over the past few months, she has been blighted by some physical ailments, bad back, bronchiolitis, but this hasn’t stopped her getting up at the crack of dawn for work every day.

She had been into work this morning and was on her way home, and she looked terrible, half the women she was six months ago, today she was the most vulnerable I had ever seen her. she explained how she had been having uncontrollable thoughts, telling her to self-harm, her anger was at reaching to a point that scared her,  she couldn’t relax, she couldn’t sleep, but worst of all she didn’t know where it had all come from. Well she did, when she talked some more, she shared parts of her past I never knew existed, why would I, I never knew her that well, I had only gotten to know her after the booze. She explained that she had recently been to a funeral and she thinks that this has triggered off memories of losing her child at birth 7 years ago. She shared the agonizing memories of being left to deal with the fact that out of all the moms on the ward she would be the only mom leaving without a child, she had been re-living the experience as if it had only happened yesterday, she recalled how that was one of the main reasons she turned to drink.

My heart broke for her, I suspected she had, had it bad but I cannot simply even begin or want to even imagine what xxxx is going through, all I do know is that despite being tempted, she flatly refuses to turn to drink again. We stood and chatted for a good 20 mins before she had to leave to get home to make an appointment with her new mental health worker. I admired this lady before, but she will never know just how much she inspired me today but most importantly she made me look at me sen.

There I had been complaining about a fucking couple of measly pounds, a deadline to meet, feeling sorry for me sen and that poor cow was walking in a living hell. It was a sobering encounter and as soon as I walked away, I made a pact with me sen to shut up fucking moaning and be thankful for having my sanity today.




Everyone and anyone has the potential to be an expert


I have been to a few meetings recently where people have commented “you are the expert in this” when they say this though is what they are really saying is or asking is “advise us on what we should do?”

The Oxford dictionaries definition of an expert is “A person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area” So if that is the case everyone and anyone has the potential to be an expert right?

I was asked to present at a meeting yesterday, it was a council scrutiny panel and I had been asked to provide an update about what additional provision had been put in place of the Christmas /winter period for the homeless and vulnerable.

This was a last minute presentation, however, I was fortunate to have the latest sighed off versions of the Help us Help relaunch materials, the new video, the newspaper an update on the newly updated website to show them.

I didn’t have any new updates on any new innovative services all I had to offer was a campaign. The help us help campaign is aimed at making everyone experts, to provide the knowledge they require to make their own informed choices and decisions. 

If the members around the table were expecting a detailed report/update well sadly they would have been disappointed. I started at that point. HARC would still be operating over the Christmas period, the outreach team would still be working over Christmas and new year and weather watch would still be in operating so essentially nothing new.

But what i expressed and impressed more onto the members was my “opinion” because I firmly believe that what we are doing is more than any newly commissioned service could ever provide and that’s being open and transparent about what and how existing services are already doing to protect Sheffield vulnerable. Trying to enable the members of the public to become their own expert and hopefully, make their own informed choices about “if” and “how” they would like to themselves help. because if there is one thing I have learned over the past few years dealing with such sensitive issues is that some people don’t like being told what to do, they want options.

It may take longer to get a message across, after all, we need to allow the members of the public to think, decide “their” options, but in the long run, at least there is the potential to have members of the public who are more knowledgeable and who knows even experts?

What I did find humorous after some really good positive feedback and a pledge by members to go to the website and learn more was one comment “soooo should we give to people who are begging?”  my response was simply  “that’s YOUR choice”

We all have to make choices in our lives, personally, I prefer to make my own choices/decisions based on the information I have acquired, sought out, thought about opposing to someone else doing my thinking and making my decisions for me.

I am off to the races today, looking forward to spending some quality time with friends, placing some bets, which would normally be randomly chosen based on a name I like, resulting in me being in financial deficit. This year I have sought out some advice from “experts” the guys in my office who bet regularly on the horses, I have a better understanding and know the difference between placing a bet either each way or to win, based on the odds.

So fingers crossed with my little bit of research and planning I will return from my day out with more than I arrived with – so fingers crossed


Being alone isn’t a lonely place,  if you have a relationship with yourself!


Trying to save some me time, in a time when there doesn’t seem enough hours in the day lately and I know it’s going to continue at this pace for the next two months.

The saving grace is I knew it was coming so have prepared the best I can, such as getting the Christmas presents out of the way early, because I know if I left it like last year I would have been running around like a fucking demented lunatic, wrapping not just presents but tying up the previous years works lose ends and preparing for returning to work in the new year ready for the Best Bar None Awards in February, which will also see me running around like a demented freak in January trying my best to ensure none of the 250 people who have booked their place at the awards night goes home in a taxi and not an ambulance from anaphylactic shock because I got the orders and table plans wrong.

I want to enjoy the Christmas break this year, I don’t want to be sat around using the break to destress, because hopefully, I will be more relaxed because I have managed to maintain a degree of self-management over the previous two months. whilst I know there are some stressful couple of weeks ahead, what is reassuring is I’m not half as stressed or worried about the challenges that lay ahead. I genuinely believe that has been down to taking time out and #havingawordwimesen on a daily basis.

Yesterday was day one of what will be a few more weeks of intense work for me and whilst I know it’s going to be stressful and busy, its days like today that restore my faith in doing what I do. In preparation for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25th November, to launch our new Domestic abuse strategy on the following day. Can I just say that I also think this day should also include MEN  but hey I didn’t organize it the UN did?

Jenny Ells a reporter with BBC radio Sheffield came to meet and talk with three AMAZING women who are part of a small group of domestic and sexual abuse survivors who are using their personal experiences to effect change for other people, I say people I mean both men and women, after being involved with this group for the past 4 years the impact and influence that these survivors have had on Sheffield’s new strategy, whilst subtle is also very impressive. over the years the focus has shifted from responding not just the crisis, but also the long-term support and recovery needs of individuals who quite frankly have been to hell and back. I knew little parts of these ladies story’s, but not the whole story, so when I was sat there yesterday listening intently how actually all three of them fled domestic abuse from their hometowns, from other countries and found themselves in Sheffield seeking sanctuary was nothing short of a fucking miracle and I am not exaggerating here.

I won’t go into the details because quite frankly whilst their stories and past lives have been horrific, the most humbling part of the whole meeting was hearing how EVERY single one of them talked about the one thing they all had in common, and that was as a result of their experience they all had gone through a very personal journey of learning to find out who THEY are…

  • Learning to see themselves for the 1st time
  • Learning to put themselves first.
  • Learning to respect and protect their own need first above all others
  • Learning to think for themselves
  • Learning to speak up for themselves
  • Learning to stand up for themselves, because they know and believe that they MATTER
  • Learning to LOVE themselves, something they may never have done previously
  • learning to love themselves before any other
  • Most importantly learning that “Being alone isn’t a lonely place,  if you have a relationship with yourself”

Today is a short one, but I just wanted to share with you a little of my morning yesterday and these ladies and the other people I have the privilege to work with makes working with all the other Fuckwits more bearable.

#onelife #youcount #haveawordwiyasen – before its too late, time stops for no man OR woman.

Remember to love ya sen, Love Fordy x