When I first set Morbean up in 2010 after working for various design agencies I was fortunate enough to be mentored by the owner of another successful Hampshire based Website Design Agency who sold up the year previously. He could have retired but he didn’t (he’s one of them), and in his busy schedule he took the time to try and shepherd my AD-HD ass to Design Agency greatness and glory.
He told me loads of sage-like stuff, positive and inspiring, he was a bit like Yoda. But without the tendency to speak in his annoying prose. And is taller. But not green. Off all the things he said to me there was one that has resonated in my brain ever since; “Do you consider yourself to be a lucky person?” I thought for a second and realised I was. I thought of my family, my home and the half a roll of Polos I’d just found in my pocket. I had it made.
Today I feel that more than usual because yesterday, with some help from an old school friend, Tash, my wife and I bought a load of food and toiletries to fill the boot of my car to give to a local charity supporting the homeless and vulnerably homed in the Basingstoke area. Our thinking was that this would be a more worthwhile way to share in our Christmas than sending cards to all our clients, loved ones and friends. That’s not to snub Christmas cards, we’re not bah-humbug, we just thought we’d try something else.
Today I called Tash and arranged to deliver our bounty at Basingstoke’s Camrose Centre. I thought it would be a case of pull up, unload say ‘happy Christmas’ and bugger off as we didn’t do it for a pat on the back. When I arrived Tash, her crazy-haired 3 year old daughter, Catherine (the manager) and a number of visitors were waiting for us. I quickly realised that there were lots of faces I recognised. Faces of people who I had seen as I walked to work. People who I had given a wide birth. People who seemed intimidating.
As I got out of the car I was warmly greeted by everyone. They didn’t know who I was or why I was there (apart from Tash) but they invited me in never the less. I told them I had some shopping for them and asked them to help me bring it in.
In the past I had judged these guys based on their appearance (which in most cases was simply the appearance of someone less fortunate than myself) and I had been wary of them. But without exception the staff, the volunteers and all of the visitors were some of the most personable people who I have ever met. I’m not great in groups of large people I don’t know, I’m crap at networking and I don’t like approaching strangers. Until just then. Smiles. Handshakes. Good times. It was like I had rocked up in someone’s living room. This community were like a family. A big, smiley family.
I’m not assuming that life is great there, but its better than it could be without the help of all those trustees and volunteers who bust a gut to try and keep it going. They have to deal with the parts of life that I fortunately have little or no experience of; addiction, abuse and homelessness.
I don’t know how to finish this story really. I don’t want to be preachy, I don’t want to gloat. I am a lucky person and that’s thanks to my home, my extended home and all those it contains. I hope if you’re reading this you’re lucky too.
You can find out more about the Camrose Centre here: www.bccnet.org.uk/camrose-centre
Or follow them on Facebook