Archive for March, 2011
March 23, 2011
The local Age Concern Centre set up a Computer Drop-in Centre where the older generation could come and learn how to use computers on a one-to-one basis with instructors who have a wide experience of the software and techniques involved.
The sessions are free and people can come and go at any time to suit themseves. All that is asked is a voluntary contribution, of say £1 towards the electric bill and use of the centre. If people don’t have a computer but just want to see what is involved Age Comcern provides computers on the day.
The drop-in centre is manned by volunteers, on which I was one, who give their time for free for several hours.
All was going well until the manager of the centre discovered that I hadn’t been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. Apparently the law states:
A person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law if they work or volunteer, or try to work or volunteer with those groups.
Although I couldn’t work with children because of my refusal to be investigated I didn’t realise that old people, such as myself, are classed as “vulnerable”.
What the bloody hell is going on? I was happily helping the “Silver Surfers” to understand and use their laptops to email their relatives around the world, then I’m told that I’m breaking the law! Let’s face it, I am much older that some of the people I was helping, and I can assure you that I would not interfere or mug any of them! In fact they are more likely to mug me and steal my computer (Not really, but it does show that the law is an ass).
The upshot was that I couldn’t go anymore, unless I went as a student wanting to learn computing. A bit pointless really, considering that I know everything anyway. *cough* and I’m modest with it as well!
UPDATE: I read on t’internet that David Cameron (PM, failed) said that the law would be relaxed regarding voluntary workers not working with young children because organisations were losing so many volunteers. So I returned last week to offer my services and was told that Cameron was lying (as per bloody usual) and the regulations were being tightened up even more.
Then I was told in no uncertain terms to “clear off!” by one of the approved instructors. Charming!
March 20, 2011
In 1947 I joined the ‘Wolf Cubs’ as they were known then. I was 10 at the time, so I was a bit late joining because after a year I went into the ‘Boy Scouts’ where I learned a lot about self respect and respect for others, discipline and how to survive in the wild, etc.
All our leaders and helpers were decent chaps and chappesses who wouldn’t dream of committing an offence against us or harming us in anyway. Nowadays we have the ‘Vetting and Barring Scheme’ composing of the ‘Criminal Records Bureau’ and the ‘Independent Safeguarding Authority’ , but more of that in a minute.
When I was 15 years old I became a Senior Scout. At 17 I went into the Army, and when I returned to civvy life I was an assistant scoutmaster and when the scoutmaster retired I was the skipper of our local troop.
Around 1965 the rot set in. The Scout Association began to relax the rules on the uniform, and proceeded to change everything over the years in the name of ‘progress’ until just before I retired the lads were allowed to wear everyday sweatshirts, jeans (ripped, and/or any colour they fancied) and trainers.
This meant that the discipline at the meetings went down the pan. They were cheeky, rude and wouldn’t pay any attention to me or anyone else. They didn’t seem to want to learn anything about survival, camping, and trekking etc., all they wanted to do was to sit in the scout hut and play computer games all evening. At this point I bowed out of active scouting and joined the Scout Fellowship, which is an organisation consisting mainly of old scouters and helpers who wanted to help out with the local scout troops.
A few years ago the ‘Vetting and Barring Scheme’ was set up because of pressure from the politically correct do-gooders who were concerned about the increase in paedophilia and child abuse at that time. This meant that the Scout Leaders, helpers, in fact anyone who was connected with the Scouts, Guides and youth groups had to be checked out to see if they had a murky past or not. This scheme also extended to the Scout Fellowship and I was told that I couldn’t work with children or vulnerable people anymore until I was checked out under the Vetting and Barring Scheme. As you can imagine this upset me quite a bit, not because I had anything to hide; I didn’t. I flatly refused to be checked by the faceless wonders in Whitehall who probably had murky past histories themselves. I resigned, as did quite a few of the volunteers and leaders I knew. The result was that there were not enough adults left to work with the kids and three local scout troops closed down.
One last word. If a person is scrutinised and found to be as white as the driven snow, and then allowed to work with children, what’s to stop him/her from going off the rails and molesting a child in the future? The Vetting and Barring Scheme is flawed from the start. Anyone with money, influence and a dubious past can probably get round it anyway.