If you want to spend money on flowers and train fares to pay your respects to this particular old lady then go ahead. I have no issue with that, even though I don’t pretend to understand why. But I’d like to ask that you do something else – something more practical and meaningful.
Please give the same amount as a donation to your local foodbank (they my ask you to give food rather than money), a homeless charity or some other organisation dedicated to helping those whose state funded benefits don’t quite go so far as her late majesty’s did.
This weekend I went to Lincoln, a city I first visited during my homeless days back in the 1980s. It gave me a chance to meet some old friends and make a video combining my two main passions… Left wing politics and social/mental health care. What’s not to like?
‘Gone to the dogs‘ is a small cafe with some very big ideas. Just like any other cafe you can go there for a cuppa or a bite to eat, you can even bring your dog inside. But that’s not all you can do. You can take part in the cafe’s ‘Pay it forward’ scheme as well.
When you pay for your food you have the option to overpay and if you do something truly wonderful happens. The cashier taking your money writes the excess amount on a post it note that’s kept behind the counter. It’s a bit like a token for food or a cup of tea that homeless or otherwise disadvantaged citizens can redeem for food.
Not only that, the cafe offers people a chance to launder their clothes, to meet and socialise, to get involved in community projects and also provides advice and advocacy where possible. They’ve even been instrumental in finding homes for people.
I met Paul, the inspiration behind the cafe last Sunday. The cafe was bursting with people, some homeless, some clearly not and all enjoying good food, a cup of tea and a community atmosphere of the kind I haven’t seen for years.