Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Monday update as we near the close of the month.

The surprising results:

Following on from the #colchesterfundraisers idea I now am taking two people to Indian Ocean for dinner on 25th June 2012 on North Hill Colchester where the restaurant is donating 25% of takings from set meals and takeaways that night to Lepra Health in Action. Would I have known about that without this social experiment? Who knows? 

Lepra Health in Action have been the focus of #colchesterfundraisers for June with all money raised by #colchesterfundraisers supporters on easyfundraising.org.uk payable to them at the end of the month.
So how has the social experiment worked out?
It started with a flurry of interest with charities keen to be the charity of the month and others keen to support. Then Easyfundraising got in touch and offered to help out by simplifying the idea so that there was one cause to support which switched local charities each month (#colchesterfundraisers)

I explained to lots of people that it doesn't cost anything, it's the retail site that pays over the money not you.
I explained that all it takes is a little shift in thinking, just enough to make sure that you go to easyfundraising.org.uk and then through that website to your usual one to buy your usual things. That on it's own will generate cash for the charities.

At the start of the month I knew that the most difficult thing to change is a habit.

At the end of the month I still know that habits are the hardest part to change.Going through easyfundraising website this month has generated £2.23 on my home account and £1.08 on the work account for Lepra Health in Action via #colchesterfundraisers giving a total of £3.31 they wouldn't usually have received from me.

If 9 more people join in next month then Autism Anglia could receive an unexpected £30 odd pounds...
Don't forget to add your choice of local charity to benefit to this post so that they have a turn.

Tell everyone you're joining in and let's get a proper groundswell here for really good causes.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Flipnosis Kevin Dutton

Most generously given to SlackSpace Colchester to distribute on their World Book Night event earlier in 2012.
As a science book it is great, it's accessible for those of us who flunked science early on.
Dealing with the art of persuasion particularly split second persuasion the book gives working examples, anecdotes and varied examples of how easily we can all be influenced even by such simple things as eyebrows.
With statistical data to back up the ideas put forward and a Research Fellow as the author the book itself is an illustration of it's subject. It's certainly persuasive.
It's one for an entire read through and then one to check back on a bit at a time.

I'm now waiting until I see the local homeless trying out some of the scams inside the book. I, for one, will give them some money if they do try to influence me in such a subtle and skillful way!

The decider-would I read another by the same author? Yes I think so and if I didn't I dare say he'd find a way to change mind, maybe even by simply changing the cover design :)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Silver Sparrow Tayari Jones

No recommendation and no review led me to this one. It showed up on my twitter feed and was one of those that caused random purchasing of books. Sometimes that system fails. This time it didn't.
Tayari Jones is a new author to me. Not simply an author I'd never read but one I'd never heard of. A look through her back catalogue shows a selection of books with unusual storylines.
I chose Silver Sparrow as my starter purely because it seemed so unusual.
The feel of the book as you read through it is Southern American with a slow dignified pace. It revolves around two half sisters. It describes their separate lives, their different circumstances, the different treatment of a legitimate vs illegitimate child. Whilst the two sisters are the centre of the tale their mothers also have very strong personalities.
The weak spots in the tale are the men. One is the father who does try his best to maintain two families and the other a family friend who knows everyone and loves most of them.
At times sad, at times funny, truly well written with some memorable lines this one deserves to succeed. Personally I preferred it to The Help and would liken it to Barabara Kingsolver.
Now all I have to do is buy the other books....
Publisher - Algonquin Books

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lepra Health In Action

are helping with this idea by making it easy for us! They have set up an account called "#colchesterfundraisers" that will switch charities each month on our instruction. This saves everybody having to remember individually.

#colchesterfundraisers first charity is Lepra Health In Action.
LEPRA Health in ActionWe're now 17 days into their turn and it would be great if more people could join in.
Most of us know this as a national/international charity so the question may be "what does it have to do with Colchester?"
Well, it's based in the town with it's head office on Middleborough.
It was the first charity suggested on the original post asking for suggestions for a Colchester charity for Colchester residents to support. As such it has the inaugural space. As well as providing direct health care overseas for leprosy sufferers Lepra works to raise awareness of the disease and to reduce the stigma attached to it.
Full information on their work can be found on their website.

The idea of #colchesterfundraisers was twofold:
Firstly an experiment to see if the town could pull together
Secondly to showcase the wide variety of charitable works we have on our own doorstep.
To ensure the idea remains impartial I am unable to suggest any charities myself but am aware that we have a long way to go before they are all listed.

Will joining in cost anything? No
What's the first step? Sign up at www.easyfundraising.org.uk 
Select your charity "#colchesterfundraisers"
Next step? When you buy online log into easyfundraising first to see if the website you intend using is on there.
With choices ranging from business cards to takeaway meals to Amazon to Boots to Tesco to Jessops to Achica and everywhere in between it's likely it is
When you buy from your chosen website it pays a small amount of commission across to easyfundraising for transfer to the charity. It doesn't cost you any more.
As a community we have the power to make a real difference if we make a concentrated effort rather than individuals  acting alone.
In 2010 Colchester had a population of 181,000. If we say that is all made up of families of 4 (it isn't) then we have 45250 families. If half of those have a computer and buy one item each month using #colchesterfundraisers and raise 5p then that's £2262.50 for the month's charity. A numbe any of them would be pleased with.
We have a long way to go but it's possible.
What's the difficult bit?
Remembering to use easyfundraising before going through to website you want to end up on.

Feel free to ask questions, add your charity in the comments box below and say hello on twitter @nneerraakk

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Teenage Colchester

Just what is on offer for a teenager in Colchester on a Saturday?

This is one that doesn't know either the area or anyone in it so has no choice but to tag along. Possibly the best kind of teenager, no arguments but equally no idea.

So we'll start off with a quick trip to Wivenhoe for a wander around a really vibrant community Art on the railings event. The teenager is not artistic but still is enthralled with the art, the music, the mass of people packed into such a small space. I leave with emptier pockets, the church has slightly fuller coffers. It's also a novel experience to see the quirky houses far removed from her home environment. I end up with a hardback copy of Calum's Road, a place I visited last month in a vw campervan. Off to the Hythe where they're celebrating their community centre with an activity day, mini olympics, hospital radio and a diabetes bric a brac stand. Again a group of people having fun for pennies.

Then it's time for my treat. Something I want to play with. Thank you Minories for making it possible for me to hand you £2 to look after while I borrow your key to the Camera Obscura.

A magical piece of equipment created by Jackie Mellor that I dived into followed by a very bemused teenager. The fascination with the science cut right through the ennui evidenced so far in Colchester town centre. To any or all councillors who have received Jubilee fund money, this is what you want. And come to that just how much of an alteration to Jumbo would it take? Simplistic entertainment - a legacy alongside zoos from the Victorians that has yet to be outclassed by any playstation, xbox or wii experience.

Colchester sometimes you just rock!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Social experiment...

One day on from the original post and here's a quick update.
Lepra signed up yesterday and the first amount of cash towards their charity has been allocated to them today.
They'll have to wait until there's a bit more of it before it's paid over but pennies and pounds and all that...
The charities that have been nominated so far love the idea, one of them very quickly signing up for their easyfundraising account to make it possible.
I've had offers of space for guest blogs to promote the idea.
Colchester Chronicle have very generously and without me asking added the idea to their blog.
Some people already knew about the idea of funding through buying and are switching charities for the month to join in.
It doesn't make any difference to what we spend online simply the route we go to spend it.
Lepra were the first charity volunteered so they get June and the first round of cash.
Anglia Autismare eagerly awaiting their turn in July.
Will it work? Only people power can make it succeed. More and more if us are turning to doing our own thing and making our communities succeed through collaboration. Please help make it work, sign up ateasyfundraising choose Lepra as your charity for June, check back here or on twitter #colchesterfundraisers to see how we're all doing together for one cause,add your own choice of CO postcode charity in a comment at the bottom and most importantly...

Tell everyone you're joining in and let's get a proper groundswell here for really good causes.