Meet Colin – No second night out

No Seond Night Out

No Seond Night Out

You know when you meet someone with a sparkle in their eye, well that’s Colin. Officially one of the nicest men I’ve met, as voted by me and within minutes of meeting him. I’m sure some of you will think I’m exaggarating so here goes….

Colin sells hats, not just any old hats but amazing top hats from a London milliner. I bought a lovely black floppy hat for my holiday for £20.

He was homeless, through No Second Night Out he’s now working on this market stall in Spitalfields. Starting off with 8 donated hats, he now has over 20. The money he makes helps to keep him off the streets and make a living.

‘The No Second Night Out (NSNO) was launched on 1 April 2011 as a pilot project aimed at ensuring those who find themselves sleeping rough in central London for the first time need not spend a second night on the streets.’

Photography by Amelia Karlsen

Photography by Amelia Karlsen

Another magazine have just had their 25th issue mad hatter tea party, I wonder where Sienna got her hat from.  We all love a bit of fancy dress so if you need a hat, you know where to go, and it’s much better than Topshop!

Pay it forward – the search to find the homeless man Ronald Davies

Chicago Redditors have managed to track down Ronald Davies, the homeless man who’s helping change perceptions about homeleness. Ronald featured in a video in 2012, as part of a series called Big Questions tackling challenging social issues like poverty and inmate rehabilitation. The video has recently re-emerged via Reddit and has since been watched 2million times, shared 117, 237 and has 67, 597 likes.

A Reddit user Gawker saw the video and made a plea to the community:

‘The guy doesn’t need money, he needs an opportunity. As a restaurant manager myself with a homeless shelter only a block away, I know my establishment has given plenty of people opportunities as a dishwasher and they’ve completely turned their lives around.

Sure, some of them turn out to be crackheads that disappear after the first paycheck, but that’s far and away the exception. Many of them have become model employees and even trainers for my staff. And besides, it’s not like you’re investing any significant amount of money on training or education if the guy doesn’t pan out.’


Ray Anderson: The business logic of sustainability

If you haven’t watched this before, it’s an understated but powerful call to arms. Ray was the founder and chairman of Interface Inc (a very successful carpet company) and ‘recovering plunderer’ (his words). Since the 1990’s he turned Interface’s ‘take, make’ waste’ model on its head, which also lead it to global dominance doubling profits.

His theory, facts and evidence justify his powerful vision for sustainable commerce – which was a ‘Mission Zero’ plan. He used the below impact equation, to transform the way his businesses were run.

His question to us or call to arms: can we reframe civilisation itself, to have more happiness with less stuff? To change the whole system of our economics, creating a ‘new civilisation a sustainable species living on a finite earth, ethically, happily and ecologically in balance with nature.’

After all ‘theft is a crime and theft of our children’s future will be a crime’ surely?

Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 00.19.36

Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 00.25.41

José Mujica donates 90% of his salary: the world’s poorest or richest president?

José Alberto Mujica Cordano was elected the Uruguayan president in 2010. He’s not only a vegetarian but he’s a very kind man. He’s known as the ‘world’s poorest president’ quite an accolade, as he donates 90%, yes 90% of his salary to charity and small entrepreneurs. He takes home around £485 and donates £7,500.

He’s described as an ‘anti-politician’ and a man ‘who speaks the language of the people’, no surprise then that he created the Movement of Popular Participation and is a lefty. Some may think he’s an eccentric man but his actions make a lot of sense:

This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself” the BBC reported.

The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty. But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet” – hear hear

Some think he’s mad, I say he’s a hero and understands life. Surely this makes him the richest president.

Jason McElwain the autistic basketball player: Inspiration or disability stereotype?

In 2006 President Bush met Jason McElwain the 17-year-old with autism who played an extraordinary game of basketball (scoring 20 points in 4 minutes).

When I watched the footage of the game, something made me feel a bit uneasy. Jason clearly loved basketball but he had to sit and watch his peers. He clearly had the talent and passion, so why wasn’t he allowed to play before?

It’s the end of the film which is so touching though, when everyone gives Jason the recognition he no doubt deserved. In a more recent interview by CBS News from 2010 Jason said ‘it was the support and acceptance he felt that night that made him the man he is today’. And that the world would be a better place if it could be the way the gym was that night.

Here’s what Jason has been up to since.

The good giraffe’s acts of kindness

The Good Giraffe

Mohammad Hirzallah was at the North Bridge,
Edinburgh, on 10 November.

The saying goes ‘the less you have, the more you give’. And that’s certainly true about The Good Giraffe.

Armstrong Baillie is unemployed and gives to strangers because it makes other people happy??

His random acts of kindness are done dressed as a giraffe (his favourite animal). He got the idea from “a man in a gorilla costume playing drums on the streets around Edinburgh… he really made me smile, and I know I wasn’t the only one,” he told I wonder what Phil Colins would think.

He hitch-hikes and busks to spend the donations on kind deeds: free bananas at the Edinburgh Half Marathon, coffee to cold passers by, £10 vouchers to mothers in hospitals. All just to be kind and cheer people up.

The Good Giraffe has been causing a bit of a stir and debate in online communities, some think it’s nice others just plain mad?

I wonder if brands or organisations like the Kindness Offensive will get The Good Giraffe involved in events.

Hereos – Simon Griffiths from Who Gives a crap

There are some people in life who do great things and Simon Griffiths is one of them. My gorgeous friend Leanne Hammill works for the Loop in Australia and knows my love of social enterprise. She kindly sent me this as she thought I’d love it, and she was right. Great interview with the man himself.

Simon is a social entrepreneur, sounds good huh, wouldn’t we all like to be?

He’s the founder of ‘Who gives a crap’ and works in a team of three, with the perfect combination of skillsets (economics, product design and engineering). You can meet the team here. They wanted to make a difference and set up ‘Who gives a crap’, a brand new toilet paper brand. 50% of the profits go to developing countries, via WaterAid, to help provide better sanitation and more toilets.

They needed to raise £50,000 to be able to start the brand and put in a bulk order, so they did a crowd funding campaign. Simon sat on the loo at 6am July 10th, recorded via Google Hangouts, so it was all live streamed and didn’t get off until the £50,000 had been raised. Put your money where your pants are (sorry had to.)

They successfully raised £60,000 in fact and are hoping to corner the business market for bulk orders.

They won a bunch of business plan awards and spent two years perfecting the product and viable business model. What a bloody brilliant project.