With all thats going on its so easy to become lost in the chaotic images flashed across the television and newspapers. The idea of anarchic 'youth' (*) roaming unchecked around our town centres might make us draw the curtains a little tighter, check the locks a few more times and pass a few more uncertain looks at local children with their hoodies zipped up against the cool breeze, but as widespread as this might seem it doesn't represent my experience of young people or people in general. I believe that if we all think carefully we'll realise that this is only a snapshot of a very small (if worrying) part of society.
Through the recycling project I am allowed to experience the kindness of others. Every single day I meet someone who (for no other reason than wanting to help another person) helps me to gift another bicycle, be that through the gift of a cycle, cycle parts, advice or time. Today I spent some time talking with Tony from Leamington who brought with him a selection of wheels, tyres, chainsets and other useful bits and bobs (you can see some of the bits above)- all gifted in the hope that they might help another person. We've seen evidence of this kindness more widely today with the arrival of the impromptu clean-up squads, organising themselves through facebook and turning up to help those who've suffered at the hands of the looters.
Its a shame that it takes something significantly awful to make visible the every day good deeds that take place all around us... I think most people eventually realise that society amounts to what we invest in it, I know that I try to ' pay it forward' as much as I can and think more often about Karma and the list its making (thankyou Earl)
(* There's more evidence than not to suggest that the 'looters' were made up of criminals of all ages, not just the young. Additionally the teachers, youth workers, mentors and parents that were eventually apprehended were motivated more by greed rather than poverty, by opportunity rather than necessity)