Thank Trump or tackle homelessness this Christmas?

I received two Christmas messages from political campaigners yesterday. The first was from a right-wing US website. I have no idea how I ended up on their mailing list. I’ve tried to unsubscribe many times without success. Their endless stream of nonsense is now fed directly into my junk email folder.

The Christmas mailing asked me to thank Donald Trump for fulfilling 150 campaign promises by choosing one of “… six beautiful digital cards you can personalize and send to the president without cost … to counteract the constant attacks on his policies, his character and his dedication to putting America’s interests first.”

The second message came from Vince Cable. In it he asked us to do something to support a local charity tackling homelessness this Christmas. In Derby, the Padley Group have helped people with a range of issues including homelessness, debt and destitution, drugs, alcohol, mental health issues, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, severe autism and long-term unemployment since 1985. It’s challenging to maintain services when £250,000 in local and central government grants have been removed.

However, they’re trying hard to attract new supporters to their Padley 4000 scheme which you can subscribe to for £2 a month – less than the price of a cup of coffee. They’ve asked their existing supporters to publicise the scheme this Christmas. If you are local to Derby, please think about joining it. There are also opportunities to volunteer if you’d prefer to donate your time.


A Happy Christmas and peaceful new year to you all.

Hell hath no fury like a woman in pink

Thank you to all of the readers of this blog who took the time to sponsor “Team Holyoake” in the Race for Life today. Unfortunately, as Emily is recovering from major abdominal surgery, only Jessica was able to run. But she did herself and her sister proud – a new Holyoake record of 1:19.45 for 10k set in the exceptionally wet, windy and very cold conditions at Westpoint, Exeter, this morning.

Westpoint Car Park 26-07-2015Our view of the car park as we arrived at 0800 … it didn’t stop raining until the race started at 0930, only for a howling gale to take its place!

Determined face at the start!– Jessica’s determined face at the start!

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– Sprint finish!

So far, they’ve raised the magnificent sum of £620 between them. Jessica’s also written an account of the day – it’s great, go read it, look at her photographs and donate if you haven’t done so already!

After the raceJessica’s poster was slightly the worse for wear after she’d finished! (Photo © Jessica Holyoake, 2015)

It was a great day. A special thank you needs to go to the army of volunteers who made this event happen despite the typical Devon summer weather.

There’s also one other person who I feel deserves a special mention due to their blind optimism in the face of the elements. Take a bow, Kelly Whip 🙂

The optimist

One way of saying thank you

After I’d cross-posted my last blog entry onto the B07 Facebook group, some one asked me if I was still using the notes I’ve published here to help support a charity. Back in 2010 I asked readers of this blog to think about contributing to the HOPEHIV charity – and we jointly managed to raise around £700.

The justgiving page I created for this purpose is long since closed, but if you’d like to make a donation to HOPEHIV I know that it would be appreciated by them and used well. Their own donation page is here should you wish to drop them the odd pound or two. For those of you who don’t know what they do, they support a wide range of projects in Africa to help children orphaned through HIV.

More recently, I’ve also become aware of the work of a charity known as The Matthew Project – who work with people and communities affected by drugs and alcohol in Norfolk and Suffolk. It just so happens that their chief executive is part of my wife’s music group – and charity does begin at home (even though it should never end there). You can find their donations page here if you’d like to support their work.

If you have (or are!) finding my notes useful in your studies and are able to – and only if you are genuinely able to as I do appreciate how tough times are for many – please think about donating a small sum to one or both of these incredibly worthwhile causes.

Thank you.

If you can, please donate something to HOPEHIV

Update: 1st November 2010

My justgiving page for HOPEHIV is now closed. If you would still like to donate to them, please do so directly at

A number of people have suggested to me that I ought to charge a fee for the notes I created and published on this blog for ED209 in 2009 and for those that I’m currently creating as I work my way through DD303.


I don’t – I’ve always regarded what I do with this blog as a form of motivation to keep me going through the courses I’m taking! And it’s the only reliable way I can think of that ensures I really do attempt to make notes and not just fly into a mad panic three weeks before the exam – which was pretty much my experience with DSE212 in 2007.

However, it did lead me to think about whether I might want to offer a way for those of you who wanted to show your appreciation in a more tangible way than simply leaving nice comments, though I really like those too! My week on holiday at Spring Harvest in Skegness presented me with a challenge that I felt I wanted to take up – that of attempting to raise some money for HOPEHIV (Registered Charity 1079385).

If you’d like to find out more about what they do, then please visit my JustGiving page or spend four minutes watching the video below:

If you want to and are able to help, thank you. I’m going to leave my JustGiving page open until 31st October 2010, so there will be plenty of time for you to donate something.

I’m trying to think of other ways to raise money – I’ll keep you all posted on what I get up too. For example, I’ve already decided that any advertising revenue I get through this blog before 31st October 2010 will also go to HOPEHIV.

Thanks again.