Cyberpunk, Spirituality and Technology - The Voidspace Blogspot

The strange and deluded ramblings of a rather odd person. Hello Dude - It's Me

Please Fasten Your Seatbelts

And Loosen Your Clothing

 

 

These pages are all my own work. Unfortunately that may be a terrible admission. In these pages are various writings of mine, from the first part of my life story, to poems, to mad ramblings without excuse. Below the links to the articles is my blog. Not to be confused with the Techie Blog, this is random ramblings from life.

Rambling Rumination

Diving or Drowning Part I. The first part of my Autohagiography... up to the point where I first take ecstacy. The tale of how a polite, well mannered middle-class child became such a ruffian.....

Diving or Drowning Part II. The second part of my life story - the further fall....

Life in Romania. An article about living in Romania. This follows two visits in 2004 and 2005 to visit my wifes parents. Life is very different in Romania than it is here in Britain.

A Random Assortment. A short collection of my poetry. There's one or two gems buried in here.

HumanOS v1.3. Subtitled baby crocodiles, computers and the human personality. This is an article that compares the human mind to a computer operating system. It touches on artifical intelligence and the ages old Nature versus Nurture debate.

Christian Meditation. A short piece on Christian meditation - exploring living Spirituality with God.

Imagine Paradise. No its not about a large network of computers, its actually about Christian Community..... and why we bother.

The first is an article on the spiritual power of symbols and sacraments. The second one, is on what sort of truth we can expect to find in the bible - with a brief section providing one possible reconciliation between modern science and Genesis. They should both be understandable by 'beginners' to the subjects.

Quick 'n' Dirty HTML. Need to get a webpage up quick and never done any HTML before ? This article will get you up to speed with the basics, using a TABLE for layout. Not for those who want nice, standards compliant, XHTML and CSS...

Voidspace Story. My cyberpunk short story. Lovely imagery but very short *sigh*. Come and play in the Void !

Beginners Guide to Atlantis. My beginners guide for new players of Atlantis - the computer 'Play-by-eMail' game. Very useful if you`ve just started to play.

Northampton Jesus Centre Events

emoticon:cards We have finally got an online events calendar for the Northampton Jesus Centre:

This will be kept up to date and has our weekly programme plus special events and activities. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-08-09 00:47:26 | |
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UK Population and Migration Statistics

emoticon:world One of the things I do at the Jesus Centre is to arrange our annual snapshot survey. We've done two now, for one week asking all of our visitors to answer a few simple questions about their age, background and which services they use.

One of the aims of the snapshot survey is to see how effective the Jesus Centre is at reaching the ethnic minority [1] population in Northampton.

The figures from 2006 were very encouraging. The numbers visiting the Jesus Centre were roughly the same as last year, this was despite us deciding that services in the 'Step Up' [2] were over-stretched and that we would actually be able to help people more if we had fewer visitors. Particularly encouraging was a more than 100% increase in the number of people using our other [3] services and activities, which was nice for me as organising the groups we run is one of my responsibilities.

Over the last few years, the UK has seen a great deal of immigration: both asylum seekers from very difficult backgrounds and economic migrants from the new EU countries. Since the last round of EU expansion (from Poland in particular) a large number of new people have arrived. This has caused something of a stir (as if our generation was the first to see wide-spread immigration), but in fact a large number of people are also migrating out of Britain each year.

At the Jesus Centre we want to know if the number of non-UK visitors we have is representative of the population in Northampton. Unfortunately, the only data we could find were the 2001 Census figures. A large proportion of the population changes have occurred since the census, so I started looking for more up to date figures.

Uhm... except I couldn't find any. I did find a Northamptonshire local authorities 2005 Study of Black and Minority Ethnic Housing Support Needs (PDF). It uses the 2001 census figures (although it does provide interesting information about the Northampton Gypsy and traveller community - around one third of all traveller caravans in the East Midlands are in Northamptonshire).

So as far as I can tell, after several years of controversial immigration, the most up to date central information about the UK population dates back to 2001...

The home office recognises this, and this year started a new initiative to rectify this: Improving Migration and Population Statistics Project (IMPS).

This involves case studies of bringing in data from a range of sources, carried out in several cities in the UK. Data sources include:

  • Ports
  • Requests for National Insurance numbers
  • Schools
  • The health service
  • The benefits system
  • Universities

and so on...

So, if IMPS is put into general practise, then we might have better information some time; but for the moment the best we can do is use the 2001 information. Luckily that shows that we are fantastic at reaching the non-UK population of Northampton - but comparing with some real data would be useful. Wink

[1]For some definition of 'ethnic'...
[2]Our drop-in facility for the homeless.
[3]By 'other', I mean excluding the step-up, Circle Cafe and info desk.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-06-03 23:51:07 | |
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Breaking Language Barriers

emoticon:key In the last ten or fifteen years Britain has seen a great deal of inwards migration. Of course this is not the first time, even in recent history, but every generation thinks that they are the first... Wink

The pattern of immigration has been changing though. Even five years ago there were a huge number of asylum seekers from oppressed and war torn countries: Iraq, Iran and Somalia [1] for example. Currently we are seeing a great deal of economic migrants from Eastern Europe, particularly from the new EU countries like Poland. I can't imagine why (of all places) Polish workers would want to come to Northampton, but very welcome they are. Smile

Delia helps teach English as a second language, as part of the 'New to UK' scheme run by the Jesus Centre. She has just been employed part time by them, to help launch a new initiate seeing how we can best serve the new communities in Northampton.

  • There are 7 million people in the UK whose first language is not English.

  • EAL (English as an Additional Language) is YAA (Yet Another Acronym) adopted by 'A Fresh Start' when referring to teaching English to learners under the age of 16. The term used for post-16 education is ESOL.

  • Potential ESOL learners fall into 4 broad categories:

    1. Settled communities (esp. Chinese); these groups can be difficult to reach, mainly due to irregular working timetables;
    2. Refugees:
      1. Asylum seekers (they usually face housing problems, culture shock, after-effects of trauma, difficulties in understanding the new system);
      2. Settled refugees;
    3. Migrant workers (mainly from Europe; their primary aim is to work and to learn/improve their English; they have no intention to settle long-term in the UK);
    4. Partners/spouses of students from all over the world who are settled for a short period, but have no time or money to follow intensive EFL courses.
[1]Northampton has a very established Somali community.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-05-21 14:10:58 | |
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Being a Teaching Assistant in the UK

emoticon:fish Delia is from Romania. She did an English and Romanian Literature degree and speaks better English than most natives I know. Smile

Despite this it is slightly ironic that she is now teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to newly arrived asylum seekers, refugees, immigrants and economic migrants. This is part of our basic skills program at the Jesus Centre.

In recent years our blessed government has made two changes to the teaching of basic skills in the UK. First it has committed to increasing the provision of basic skills (to adults) in the UK. Secondly it has dramatically increased the qualifications required by basic skills tutors and their assistants, to the point where by 2010 the majority of those who are teaching now won't be qualified for the job. Surprised

Delia has just started a new course by the Northamptonshire Learning Partnership. This will qualify her to be a teaching assistant and is a step along the way to be a qualified teacher.

She has completed the first part of the course, an introduction to teaching basic skills (like literacy, numeracy and ESOL) to adult learners. In January she starts the second part which is specialised for teaching ESOL.

Some of the course has been very useful, especially the parts on lesson planning. Other parts seem more concerned with an ability to write essays with the maximum possible density of current teaching jargon and minimum possible relevance to the realities of the classroom.

I thought it might be useful to someone if I published here some of the coursework she has had to do (some of which was new to me).

Gerunds

  • A noun that is formed by adding -ing to a verb is called a gerund. Almost any verb can be made into a gerund [pronounced jare-und].
  • Cook vs. Cooking, Walk vs. Walking.
  • Cooking is fun. Walking is good exercise.
    • Since both present participles and gerunds are formed from adding "ing" to a verb, we must look at where the verb comes in the sentence to determine its form.
    • Swinging makes me dizzy.
    • She went through the swinging door.
  • Gerunds, like verbs, can take both direct objects or subject complements.
  • Watching people is fascinating.
  • Being silly is a good way to get people to laugh. [silly is the subject complement to the linking verb being].
  • Phrases formed by gerunds and their related words are called gerund phrases.
  • Seeing this movie changed my life.
    • As a gerund takes the place of a noun, it can be found wherever a noun might be found in a sentence.
    • Your biggest fault is forgetting to tell the truth. [subject complement]
    • We gave high fives for winning the game. [object of the preposition]
  • Sometimes you can eliminate a compound sentence by changing it into a gerund phrase with a preposition.
    • Jerry has an annoying habit, and it is slamming doors.
    • Jerry has an annoying habit of slamming doors.
Are you interested in working for us?
I'm not very good at learning languages.
Sue must be fed up with studying.
What are the advantages of having a car?
Thanks very much for inviting me to your party.
How about meeting for lunch tomorrow?
Why don't you go out instead of sitting at home all the time?
Carol went to work in spite of feeling ill.

An Exercise Using Gerunds

  1. They denied ... ... ... ... ... ... the money. (steal)
  2. I don't enjoy ... ... ... ... ... ... ... very much. (drive)
  3. I don't want ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... out tonight. I'm too tired. (go)
  4. I can't afford ... ... ... ... ... ... out tonight. I don't have enough money. (go)
  5. Has it stopped ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... yet? (rain)
  6. Our team was unlucky to lose the game. We deserved ... ... ... ... ... (win)
  7. Why do you keep ... ... ... ... ... ... me questions? Can't you leave me alone? (ask)
  8. Please stop ... ... ... ... ... me questions! (ask)
  9. I refuse ... ... ... ... ... ... ... any more questions. (answer)
  10. One of the boys admitted ... ... ... ... ... ... the window. (breaking)
  11. If the company continues ... ... ... ... ... ... money, the factory may be closed. (lose)
  12. The boy's father promised ... ... ... ... ... .... for the window to be repaired. (pay)
  13. "Does Sarah know about the meeting?". "No, I forgot ... ... ... ... ... ... ... her". (tell)
  14. The baby began ... ... ... ... ... ... in the middle of the night. (cry)
  15. Julia has been ill, but now she's beginning ... ... ... ... ... ... better. (get)
  16. I've enjoyed ... ... ... ... ... ... ... you. I hope ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... you again soon. (see, meet)

A Case Study: An Induction Course

This essay is a case study in teaching an induction course for a company. The company hasn't run the induction course for a long time and the teacher has only just been notified she will be delivering it. Some of the attendees are new to the company and some have already been working there for a few weeks. The task is to identify and overcome the barriers in delivering the course.

Part I

One of the challenges that I would identify when preparing my delivery for this group of learners is the fact that I have been given a rather short notice. Despite the fact that that training programme is already documented, I would still need to adjust it to my own teaching style and to the group I am going to teach. Most certainly, the already-existing training materials are designed for a homogeneous group of learners, on the assumption they are all new to the organisation. In order to overcome this initial challenge I will have to alter various parts of the training programme to suit a group of learners that is rather heterogeneous: 4 members are new to the company, having started this week; other 4 members have been working for the company for 5 weeks; the last 4 have been working for it for 10 weeks. For a start, would involve the learners in the course planning from the first session, for instance, by using a questionnaire to find out which topics are of most interest and which topics have already been covered (e.g. the employees who have been working for the company for 10 weeks already know where the facilities are in the building). I will have to find out what most of the learners have in common n terms of goal, motivation or needs, so I can set an aim and objectives for my scheme of work.

One drawback of the fact that the course hasn't been undertaken for over 6 months is that the information it contains might be, in places, not valid any longer. For example, the number of staff might have increased/decreased, the policies of the company might have changed, or the health and safety rules might have become stricter. As their tutor, I will make sure I provide my students with the most up-to-date information about their company.

A third challenge brought up by this particular group of learners is finding a way to motivate them to attend the course. To the employees who have been working for the company for 5 weeks or more, attending an induction course seems pointless as they already know the about the structure of the company and its regulations. The 4 members who have started this week will be, probably, the only ones genuinely interested in the course, since it will introduce them to the nomenclature of the organisation, the facilities and the rights and responsibilities that they have as members. I am assuming my learners work for different departments of the company (e.g. accounts, security etc), therefore I can outline, at the beginning of the course, that one of the aims is to get people to know each other and other departments and to see a larger picture of their work place. The learners will be given their own information pack with contact names and numbers, who to go to for complaints, career advice, access to resources and bonuses.

Part II

The manager decided to organise the induction at a very short notice. Some of the learners might not be able to attend (e.g. they might be on their annual leave). Also, the induction has been scheduled for 3 days consecutively, which means it is an intensive course that will require a lot of effort and time on the learners' part. They will have to re-organise their evening times (e.g. instead of spending time with their family doing their domestic duties, they will have to take time to read through the coursework and complete their assignments). This might affect their close relationships, even create family tensions.

Most people will have already a transport routine- they have already found the bus/train timetable that suits them. Having a course starting later, at 9.30am, might cause them difficulties in finding the right means of transport.

Some employees could only be working part-time, for example single mothers that have to leave work early to pick up children from school; they won't be able to stay on the course until 4.30pm. Also, they might not be able to arrive at 9.30 as they have to drop children at school first.

Other employees could be working for the company 2 days a week only. Since during the rest of the week they are employed somewhere else, they won't be able to attend all the 3 sessions of the course. They haven't been told about the induction early enough to arrange time off with the other employer.

Considering all learners are adult learners with responsibilities outside work, I would not give them heavy coursework to do at home. I might give out short questionnaires/surveys they can answer at home and hand in next day, or complete at the end of each session. Taking into account the fact that some trainees are part-time workers, I would have printed handouts for every section of my discussion and would make sure they get to the learners that have not been able to attend all sessions.

In order to motivate these employees to attend the induction, the company could allow them to have the rest of the week off. Everybody would definitely appreciate 2 days off to plan the rest the week and even to arrange with someone else to help with their childcare.

The best way to motivate learners is to run a very interesting course in terms of both method of presentation and information provided. The contents of the course should be challenging enough to keep the 'veteran' employees interested, but not too difficult so the newest employees feel inferior and lose interest.

Part III

Some people in the group might already know one another but, more than certainly, there will be quite a few of them who do not know anyone else. To warm up the atmosphere, I thought of 2 icebreakers. The first one consists of splitting the group in pairs, giving people numbers from 1 to 6, each number setting off to seek for its pair. They have up to 10 minutes to share with each other their names, length of employment, department, family, interests etc, after which period they all come back together and share with the rest of the group at least 5 things about their partner. This icebreaker helps people not only to get to know someone else in their group, but also to feel on a more personal level of relationship with the others by sharing with them about someone else they have just met. They can feel they are beginning to develop relationships of trust with one another and feel more comfortable and relaxed- which is essential in a learning atmosphere.

The second icebreaker follows on the same line as the first one but on a whole group level. On a large inflatable beach ball I write, with a fine permanent market, as many questions as I can possibly fit in. The learners sit in a circle and the ball gets thrown around. The person who catches it has to answer the question touching their left thumb, then they say their name and throw the ball to someone else. Examples of questions:

  1. What is your favourite movie line?
  2. If you were invisible, where would you go?
  3. How many jokes do you know by heart? Tell us your favourite.

The list of questions can be a lot longer. This icebreakers would probably be inappropriate without the first activity mentioned earlier (when the group split in pairs) because some questions require well-thought, long answers, and most people wouldn't feel ready to talk about themselves yet.

At the end of these 'warm-up' activities the learners would feel they know at least one person well enough to start a conversation (the one they met during the first icebreaker) and they would feel they've had a chance to talk about themselves as well. The learning environment would be relaxed.

Part IV

My learners will have different levels of knowledge of and interest in the induction course, so I would generally avoid having them all sat around tables, assuming they would choose to sit with the ones that are on their level. For the icebreakers I would have the chairs arranged in a circle, so that everyone feels included and a part of the team. Before the sessions I would set up a drinks' table inside the training room and making use of the coffee machine outside the door. Prior to each session we will have hot drinks and time to talk to one another. There will also be 2 tea breaks during the day, and we will be using the drinks' table and the coffee machine again.

For the activities that require writing, I would set up tables, but encourage the learners to sit with someone else every time so that they can get to know and work with as many colleagues as possible.

The laptop computer and the power point projector are very versatile: with a bit of imagination you can create very interesting effects on your lesson displays that can look really attractive. Even to the employees who have been working for the company for almost 2 months and think they know everything about it, a power point presentation can reveal a whole new perspective on the work-related topics. The laptop computer stores information regarding all the 3 sessions so I can always go back to what I taught the previous day and show it to the members of the group that were absent that day.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-12-23 16:43:10 | |
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Jesus Centre in the Newspaper

emoticon:key As part of celebrating the Northampton Jesus Centre being open to the public for two years, the Chronicle and Echo came and interviewed three of us about the centre and our "It's for You" open day on Saturday.

The Jesus Fellowship has had an 'interesting' history with the Chron. In the past they have been antagonistic. Hopefully, as well as marking two difficult but successful years for the Jesus Centre, this article heralds a better relationship with the newspaper. Smile

TWO years ago the Jesus Fellowship Church finally finished converting an Art Deco cinema and opened the Jesus Centre in Northampton's Abington Square.

The church, famous for its brightly-coloured buses and Jesus Army evangelism, was started in Bugbrooke in 1969 by pastor Noel Stanton and has always suffered something of an image problem. In recent years the church has found acceptance with churches both locally and nationally and even with the government. Some representatives were recently invited to an award ceremony at the Houses of Parliament.

With around 600 of some 2,500 church members living in community houses around the UK, they have attracted criticism for their modus operandi of establishing common purses and a central Trust Fund, through which community members sell their possessions and share their wealth. But they've also spent more than 30 years working to help people with backgrounds of addiction, poverty and homelessness, as well as holding regular worship events which attract thousands of people.

By converting the 1936 Grade II listed former Savoy cinema, the Jesus Army has created a huge public profile for itself in Northampton and, as the centre approaches its second anniversary, the managers told the Chron how they?re fighting to alter their public image and reach out to even more sectors of the community.

Manager Steve Jones said they wanted to stress that the Jesus Centre, which is financially supported by the Jesus Army Charitable Trust and costs an estimated 400,000 to run each year, was not meant to be just for the use of the Jesus Army.

"We've always said it, but we really do want to offer something for all sections of the community, and I think that's something that has grown over the last two years", he said.

"A typical thing for me is to meet very different sorts of people who I wouldn't otherwise come into contact with.

We have people who come here for working lunches, or for our businessman's breakfast, or community groups who meet in the cafe; and at the same time there's people from the streets coming in to our Step-up Scheme, where they can get a free cup of coffee or tea, have a shower or just sit and talk.

We have creative groups, learning groups and multi-cultural events, because about 30 per cent of our visitors are not from the UK, which we want to encourage."

The charitable trust receives donations and there are currently about 150 people volunteering their time to help run the centre's activities and outlets. Mr Jones said there had been misunderstanding about the way the church is run and said he hoped people would make their own minds up.

"Things like our community houses and common purses have been a bit of a problem in terms of the way we are perceived, and perhaps always will be, but all we can do is welcome people and try to be as open as possible", he said.

"We are faith-based but you don't have to be Christian to come to the centre.

Our volunteers work here because they want to do it; they have a great desire to do something practical and to serve, and they do an amazing job.

Their motives are pure and it's a real blessing to me to see them finding their role."

There are currently about 40 or 50 groups using the centre, and community liaison worker Paul Veitch is actively trying to get more groups to make the most of the building. He said a key part of their ethos was to try to serve people.

"As Christians we want to love and serve the people of Northampton in any way we can; no matter what the persons faith (or lack of it), background, race, class, age, sexuality, disability or ability. Every person will be valued at the Jesus Centre. Some visitors make enquiries about the Christian faith and come to our "Heart" church service on a Sunday night. Many others are just happy to receive the services we have available including Skills classes, Creative Groups, the Circle Cafe and much else. We want the Jesus Centre to be of real benefit to the people of the town."

The team said many people had taken enthusiastically to the centre and were actively involved in putting on events such as art exhibitions, live music, and themed evenings

Service development worker Michael Foord said part of his role was to work with other local groups, and he had been surprised by the positive response.

"What surprised me was how much support we got from other groups in the area", he said.

"A lot of groups, like CAN and the Doddridge centre, are all trying to achieve the same thing, just in slightly different ways.

There has been quite a lot of history with the Jesus Army in Northampton but I think that we are changing people's views as they find out more what we actually do.

We don't just work with the most disadvantaged groups; we have an enormous range of groups from all kinds of backgrounds.

We have Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs coming here to learn English, and our cultural nights are some of the best things we have done."

Mr Foord said his own wife, who is Romanian, had started off helping out with a class teaching English.

"She is now doing a college course and working towards becoming a teacher of those classes herself", he said.

"She found a lot of confidence doing something she wouldn't even have considered getting involved in before.

"Getting people to cross over the threshold is a battle, but over the last year people have come in and they see that we're alright really!

"The building is a very good part of helping our public profile because it makes our work very visible and public."

Mr Jones said one of the biggest challenges in establishing the centre had been expressing their message to a broad cross-section of people.

"We want to show that God?s love is real and practical, and to break down any preconceived ideas that are a barrier to that", he said.

"There is a lot of potential here and we want to use it to the max.

We are trying to use all of the spaces because it is such a great building. In the evenings the vestibule becomes a bit like a lounge for a friendship event for people passing by, and it's that kind of atmosphere that we want.

The centre has been a groundbreaking thing for us, as well as for the town and I think that, slowly and surely, our message is getting across."

On Saturday December 2 the Jesus Centre is holding an Open Day from 10am until 4pm to celebrate their second anniversary. The free event, which has the theme "It's For You", will include live drumming, music and artwork, and taster sessions for some of the groups.

Anyone who would like to be e-mailed the Jesus Centre newsletter, or is interested in holding a group event there, should contact Paul Veitch, either by e-mail on paul.veitch@northamptonjesuscentre.org.uk, or on 07999 327384.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-12-01 17:21:24 | |
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Jesus Centre Open Day

emoticon:paper On Saturday December 2nd the Northampton Jesus Centre has an Open Day. Working at the Jesus Centre is my 'other job'. For four days a week I work for Resolver as a programmer. For one day a week I do community liaison and service development for the Northampton Jesus Centre. It is completely different from anything else I have done before, but the Jesus Centre genuinely serves the people of Northampton and does a lot of good. It is great to be involved with it.

The Jesus Centre "It's for You" Open Day celebrates two years of being open. We are open from 10.00am to 4.00pm, with lots of things going on.

In the Cafe

Special offers all day in the Circle Cafe.

Art display by local artist Gerald Porter. In the afternoon Gerald will be here to talk about his artwork and doing some painting.

Free internet access.

In the Foyer

Live Music: 11.30am and 1.30pm
Drumming Team: 12.30pm and 2.30pm

Taster Sessions in the Skills Suite

Come and watch what is happening, talk to group leaders or have a try.

  • Test Your Numeracy and Literacy
  • New to UK: 10.30 - 11.30am
  • Creative Drama: 11.00am - 1.00pm
  • Healing Rays : 11.30am & 2.00pm
  • New Searchers: 1.00pm
  • Calligraphy: 2.00pm

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-12-01 17:09:00 | |
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Jesus Centre Agency Day

emoticon:cross Last week we (at the Jesus Centre) ran an Agency Day for organisations working in the Community & Voluntary sector in Northampton.

The Jesus Centre is the premises through which the Jesus Fellowship Church [1] seeks to help the community of Northampton, especially the disadvantaged and marginalised.

Agency Day Northampton, Glen Suite

The full centre has now been open for over a year, but we ran a drop-in from smaller premises for a couple of years before we managed to complete the renovation of the cannon cinema [2]. The experience we gained through that, especially the training of our volunteers, was invaluable.

We now run over forty different groups and services regularly. These include :

  • Our Step-Up Scheme drop in

  • The Circle Community Cafe

  • Friday Evening Theme Nights, including :

    • Jammin' Sesh
    • Gold Nuggets Poetry Evening
    • Music from the Heart on Classical Music
    • Multicultural Evenings
  • Several creative groups

    • Drama Workshop
    • Creative Sewing
    • Expressive Art
    • Guitar Lessons
  • Several support groups

    • Knowing Me, Knowing You
    • Open Doors (Support for ex-prisoners)
    • Parenting group
    • New to UK
  • Appointment services

    • Money worries
    • Listening Ear
  • Spiritual Life groups

    • Healing Rays (prayer)
    • Faithbuilders (lunchtime devotionals)
    • New Friends (a bit like the Alpha Course)
    • New Seekers (bible study for new Christians)
  • Skills Classes

    • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
    • Maths for All
    • Literacy
    • IT with English

We also have a couple of new groups, Scrabble for the over fifties and a group working with the sex workers of Northampton.

We also run an art exhibition in our gallery area as part of the community cafe [3]. This changes monthly and features the work of local artists from the Northampton area.

So why am I reeling off this long list of activities ? Well, there is no other organisation in Northampton (as far as I know) that provides such a range of services for such a diverse range of different people.

This was the message we hoped to convey to the representatives who attended our agency day, as well as learn how to better work with them.

We also hoped to allay their fears about the religious context of the services we deliver. The activity of the Jesus Centre is motivated by our faith and an expression of our faith. However, we don't force our religion on anyone and none of the services of the Jesus Centre are dependent on the faith (or otherwise) of those attending. This is the kind of faith based social action promoted by Faithworks and endorsed by the UK central govenment and also (at least in theory) local government.

So was our agency day a success ? Well, as usual we didn't know how many people to expect. It could have been anything from fifteen to fifty. In the end thirty people came, and we made some good new contacts. I was very pleased with the event, and didn't even feel too much of a gump when doing my part of the presentation [4]. Razz

[1]Also known as the Jesus Army.
[2]An art deco cinema designed by architect Richard Glen.
[3]Along with free internet access and a free Wi-fi hotspot.
[4]My theme was the range of activities we provide, how that is relevant to other agencies, and how we would like to work with those organisations. John Campbell talked about the aims and ethos of the Jesus Centre (as well as some background to the project). Additionally, we had brief presentations on our BME work, our skills classes, and the work of the Step-Up scheme with the homeless of Northampton.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-07 11:37:42 | |
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#85

Job Hunting

emoticon:restart I'm now officially looking for work as a programmer. Smile

I'd prefer to work with Python, doing web development (not web-design, which is another kettle of fish). But I'm willing to learn (more-or-less) any language/development environment [1].

Money isn't particularly an issue, but I'm looking for work in the Northampton (UK) area. I'm also looking for work four days a week, so I can stick with my job at the Jesus Centre.

These factors could limit my choices. I'm definitely worth it though. Laughing

I need to polish up my CV before I start submitting it to local companies. There are a lot more computer firms in the area than I expected.

[1]I would rather not have to learn Java or Perl if I can avoid it - but ASP or PHP would be fine. They seem fairly ubiquitous in the world of commercial web development.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-12-22 08:50:08 | |
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#78

It's for You

emoticon:cross We're holding another open day at the Northampton Jesus Centre.

It's on Saturday December the Third, 10.00AM until 4.00PM, and you're all welcome. Smile

The theme is It's for You, because we're focussing on letting the local community know about the wide range of activities we run - and that they're open to everyone. We still think there is a perception that the Jesus Centre is only for the Jesus Army. That aint so.

If you're in Northampton town centre (UK, not Massachusetts) that Saturday, come and have a look.

We'll have our dance team and live music, various taster sessions by our groups, hopefully a special offer running in the Circle Cafe - and lots of friendly people to talk to. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-11-25 12:10:17 | |
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#32

Sinister Goings On

emoticon:eyeballz I got a very sinister email yesterday. Cool

It was ostensibly very pleasant. I've been organising an open day for our Northampton Jesus Centre, and in the course of this sent out letters to various organisations that we have contact with.

I got a very nice email from a lady who is part of a voluntary organisation called the Sunflower centre, wishing me all the best for the day. She obviously works for the Northampton Police - because that's where the email comes from.

At the bottom is the following disclaimer :

Northamptonshire Police monitors Internet and email activity.

Now I'm sure they mean that monitor emails sent to and from their server - but why do I need to know about them monitoring internet use ? [1]... unless they're trying to scare me of course.

By the way - I saw a great quote on the Dr Dobbs Python URL :

(Responding to a quotaton of Sturgeon's law: "Ninety percent of everything is crap.") "fwiw, this is of course why google displays 10 results on the first page. according to the law, one of them is always exactly what you want."

—Fredrik Lundh

The quote on PHP is pretty funny as well Bad Grin

[1]It only means anything if they're referring to internal internet use - they can't monitor external internet use. So why put it as a message in a signature on outgoing mail ?

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-05-18 09:59:27 | |
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#30

Being Open

emoticon:exclaim Oops, I nearly forgot to mention. You all have to come to our Jesus Centre Open Day. It's on Saturday May 21st 10am till 4pm [1].

Northampton Jesus Centre

I'm still finalising the program, but we hope it will include a Liberian Drumming Team, the Jesus Army Dancers [2], and Funkmeister Jez and the Jammers. We will also have a display of African Crafts and a photo exhibition from local groups - as well as representatives from local community groups present.

The focus from our point of view though, is letting local people know about the range of activities that go on at the Jesus Centre. We have about forty different activities and groups that happen on a regular basis. We'll have taster sessions for several of the groups - including ESOL, English with IT, Creative Workshop [3], Expressive Art, Knowing Me - Knowing You [4], New Searchers [5], Creative Sewing, Parenting, Evolution Guitar [6], and last but not least Healing Rays [7]. Phew, I don't think I forgot any of them.

Anyway - spread da' word ! Wink

[1]Northampton, England.. Smile
[2]I wish I had a better name for them, they're very lively and very good
[3]Self Expression through drama
[4]A personal development group for women
[5]A bible study group for new Christians
[6]Learning the guitar - from beginners to rock school !
[7]Prayer for healing

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-05-12 18:23:18 | |
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