Is politics still about people?

As politicians and the media argue about who should take part in a TV debate, I find myself wondering what matters I’d like to put across if any of them roll up at my front door looking for a vote…
 
 I want to vote for a politician that with tell the truth, be humble enough to admit mistakes and who loves people more than power.
 I want to vote for a party and believes in a system that looks beyond four year terms and sees its responsibility extending to future generations.
 I want to see the young, the old and the vulnerable given priority when it comes to a duty of care.
 
 How can I trust in a government and a plethora of tax payer funded institutions, that have routinely been found to withhold and manipulate the truth, whilst turning a blind eye to outrageous behaviour that heaps coals on the fires of the suffering of vulnerable people.
 
 I want to vote for a politician that holds to virtues of truth, of grace, of mercy, of justice, of integrity, of kindness, of self control, of self sacrifice and dare I say, of love.
 
 Is it too much to ask? Are there any such people left with a hunger for what is right, rather than what they will get out of it?
 
 I’m not interested in your empty promises, your policies that shift around like the sand on the shore. I’m not interested in your spin, your posturing, your temporary allegiances nor the cut of your suit or your persuasive words on a TV debate. I want to know what I see of your soul when I look in your eyes, what motivates you to play with the freedoms of people, to make choices that can cause immense good or immense pain & loss.
 
 When you ask me what I would like to see, let it begin with a sense of deep sorrow from the seat of power itself, for the selfishness, greed, selective blindness and manipulation of the truth at the expense of those most vulnerable in our community. Then let it continue with a renewed commitment to do what is right and just, to love people more than the pursuit of wealth, to look to the needs of others, to govern from a heart of service not privilege and power.
 
 Have you ever thought of leading by example? Just a thought, before you post your propaganda through my door.
 
 Sean Stillman
 
 

Public Notice – Brian ‘Pete’ Burford/Boswell

Photo courtesy of Lee Aspland

The funeral of the late Brian Boswell also known as Brian Burford and also known as ‘Pete’, of Castle Square, Swansea, will take place on Weds 25th February 2015 at Morriston Crematorium at 3.30pm. .

Friends are warmly invited to attend the service and afterwards at Zac’s Place in George Street, Swansea, SA1 4HH, to share hospitality. His ashes will be interred, in a family grave, in the days following, in a private ceremony.

Out of respect to Pete and believing that this would be his wish, we would kindly ask members of the press to be respectfully non-intrusive during the day. No more comment will be made prior to the funeral. A written statement will be available after the service however, giving details of the service contents.

If you wish to make a donation in memory, this can be done via Graham J. Sullivan funeral directors, 77 Ty-Hedd Funeral Home Mynydd Garnllwyd Rd, Morriston, Swansea SA6 7QG.

These donations will be distributed among charitable projects with an emphasis on literature and the arts. Those who knew him well, will know this is in keeping with his passions and interests.

The Pro’s and Con’s of volunteering at Christmas

Christmas is a popular time for us to receive offers of help among the homeless and street community – maybe with helping at meals over this time. Quite often we have to turn away help and I hope in these few paragraphs it will explain why.

Please do not be offended if you have offered your help and services with us at Zac’s Place, or indeed to any other agency working with homeless and vulnerable people, over the Christmas period and not been given the opportunity to volunteer.

We appreciate people’s enthusiastic support and interest at Christmas time, but the reality is, helping out at a soup kitchen or drop-in centre can actually be very specialised work. It is not something that complete strangers can just drop in, in numbers and help out easily. Much of the work is with very fragile and sometimes unpredictable, volatile and chaotic people who respond to the support given to them best, when it’s built on long-term relationships.

At Zac’s place we have a very dedicated team of year round volunteers. One team of volunteers alongside support staff from the Wallich, open up at breakfast time 250 days a year. Another team of approximately a dozen volunteers staff our coffee bar and soup kitchen on a Thursday night which opens for 46 weeks every year.

In these, we work carefully in partnership with the City & County of Swansea rough sleeper’s task group, other organisations like the Wallich, Caer Las, Missionaries of Charity, Salvation Army, the Night Shelter, the Big Issue, prison chaplaincy and local drugs projects to ensure that the people we aim to help and support are looked after as best we can within safe boundaries of integrity and confidentiality.

Because of this, it is not easy for us to just open our doors to accept voluntary help for a single occasion to people who we simply do not know. Some of the people we support are very vulnerable and we would not want to expose them to any more potential risk than they already experience in daily life.

We and many of the other organisations in the city welcome volunteer support throughout the year. If you would like to support those who are homeless and vulnerable for other reasons, over the Christmas period, our advice would be to get involved with a project during the rest of the year in preparation, building up relationships and where there are specific ongoing needs for volunteers, financial support and other practical items also.

If the only time that you have available is over the Christmas period we understand this and would welcome other ways of contributing – drop in with some non perishable food tins with ring pulls , some toiletries or simply a gift of some jars of coffee and bags of sugar to keep the everyday wheels turning are really helpful things. New socks and underwear are always welcome – small pots of Vaseline to help keep trench foot at bay make a difference. Often when places of refuge are volunteer led, they are also donation funded – practical items are really helpful and will make a difference.

Thank you for your interest, support and understanding – with warmest Christmas greetings from us all at Zac’s Place

 

Summer at Zac’s Place

A few snaps from recent times with Zac’s folk this summer…
 
 Time sharing with Korean mission students at Nations in Llanelli


Nicky’s Baptism at Aberavon


Sian and Tony’s baptism in Swansea bay


Gritty Productions pilot theatre project featuring pro actors alongside those with experience of homelessness – Barry plays his part