Refresh LIFESTYLE CHOICE
CONTENTS. 1. Foreword/intro 2. Philosophy
FOREWORD....... This charity ‘Refresh’ has been set up to try and improve the lives of people from various communities and neighbourhoods within the UK.; especially those from deprived and low income areas.. Having looked closely at many of the problems that face society, the ‘Refresh’ charity hopes to bring about initiatives that will not only help those most in need directly, but will also help improve the lives of everyone from the communities that will be improved. This will happen indirectly from the knock-on effects that the various initiatives will have. The work will not try and fight against the various factors that infect our society on a daily basis, but will look at removing most altogether at a root level. The ‘Refresh’ initiative will incorporate both radical and invigorating new aproaches to many of the issues that effect all our daily lives and hope to bring about a healthier and brighter future for us all and a more harmonious and safer place to live, work and play. The initiative is both feasible and realistic and with comparitively little funding can acheive relatively huge positive outcomes. We hope you find the concept inspiring and please take time to visit our website: www.refresh.lifestyles.org where much more information can be found about the charity. Our vision is not just about saying this is how things should be done but mostly about showing a way for things to be done differently with little risk and a lot of potential. Thank you for taking the time to look and please keep an open mind as it is a suggestion open to developement, more than a strict vision we have aimed at.
R e-inventing E volutionary F ree R adical E mpathetic S olutions H olistically Introduction....... This charity is not about creating a utopian society or paradise where everyone is equal and happy, it is however, about improvement of quality of life and reduction of unemployment. We live in a society that has evolved over thousands of years ,in terms of what we think of as civilisation and this has brought about a very complex and intricate life that has both positives and negatives. The ‘Refresh’ aproach will look at trying to reduce many of the negatives and enhance many of the positives by offering choice. We feel that choice is the key to a better society for all and we hope to show that this can be done for many people who often have little choice or oportunity and with very little negative effect, and mosty probably a positive one, on such things like economy, crime, health and even the environment. Many of the principles are similar to the new urbanist movement and we hope to work with various other organisations, councils and movements to have a common aim and agenda; that is simply to offer choice and vision of the way in which we all live. Our ethos is to ‘tolerate, accept each other as individuals and accomodate our differences and uniqueness’. We think that by trying to incorporate this into our everyday lives we will surely be headed in the right direction.
Our Philosophy.... Our philosophy is about overcoming barriers and working together to create a better place for us all. Although we accept that where we live and the way we are treated can have a significant effect on us, especially if we feel over sensitive or lacking in self beleif. We feel that the way we can create real positive change is through self-awareness and self-improvement.. The better we feel as individuals the better we treat each other and so we have a strong ethos of creating our own happiness through helping improve the lives of others. Without us going all ‘treehuggish’ on you, we are mostly about sustainability, love and freedom. We do not consider ourselves religious and do not follow one particular religion, we do however beleive that we are all part of the same energy and therefore it is in our own interests to help eachother be happier and healthier. Even though our energy presently inhabits various bodies, we think that when we leave this planet our energy shall re-unite as one; and how positive or negative our energy is will determine where we go next......If we can get over our own small existences, even though sometimes our troubles feel like the weight of the world, we can start to live for others and the great of good that is ‘mankind’. Our mentality is about putting the past behind us and creating a better future. many of us can’t really help where we are born or what kind of upbringing we have which has a huge effect on us all and can sometimes lead us down ill begotten roads where we can do all manner of things that we end up feeling bad about and then the cycle continues and is passed on to our future generations. Re-fresh is not about a new start but forgiving ourselves and eachother and making a choice as free, independant adults. This choice is the key essential element as we know how hard it can be sometimes to leave what you know and start a new life somewhere else with little chance or hope of it working out. The projects are not about running away from your troubles but about leaving our troubles behind and trying to better ourselves somewhere there is likeminded people, real oportunity, potential and above all hope of a better future.
The charity tries not to take things too seriously as this is very important in most things, but we do try and create better living conditions through genuine care and hardwork. We hope that you can begin this journey with us and we promise it will be both exciting and rewarding.........for us all!!!!!
“ It is not about where we live or what we have, nor is it about our age, skin colour or social status. It is mostly about how we feel on the inside that counts and the effect we have on others as a result of this.”
Our concerns are basically the overall health and happiness of each and every UK citiizen,whether young or old, black or white, rich or poor. There are so many complexities and problems when you look closely below the fabric of society and these would be far to intricate to try and resolve one by one. looking at each problem individually. It is quite clear you canâ€™t make a perfect utopia where everyone is happy, but it seems to us that the numbers of people who are unhappy and unhealthy is unaceptable in this day and age. If you go to the Town or city centre on a midweek day and take a look at people, how many people really could you say look truly happy and glowing with health. I would say it would a rare few and this is a place where people should normally be happier than ussual as they are probably shopping. The statistics say it all really, even without the evidence of seeing things for ourselves. Around 60-80% of UK adults take drugs regularly and around 15 million of us having some kind of mental health problem. at this very moment. We have found however that there is one striking aspect that comes up time and again with most issues that we all face; this is lack of choice as to how we live. Many of us have been born into a world that we are not happy with, whether its because of drugs and alcohol, crime, housing, depressing jobs or the people around us. Thus the cycle continues and the problems get passed down and around, if we are unhappy we then do things ourselves that are not good for our neighbours and vice versa. We may drink too much or take drugs, which can lead on to crime and anti social behaviour, we may be less polite or considerate to others, we may not care so much about our communities and homes and most importantly we may not care so much about ourselves and lose our self respect. Most people who are born into this kind of life-style will probably end up being on benefits and then placed with other people who have similar problems and the negativity and consequences of the aforementioned problems will then be put on to others around them. When you live somewhere like this and the mentality is largely the same throughout the area, it is very difficult for individuals to break away from this or overcome the way they feel because of the mentaility of everyone else around them. If one person tries to better him or herself they are often victimised by others and even rejected or humiliated by their aquiantences. These added stresses and worries mixed with the other problems they have to live with, make it very difficult for self improvement indeed. If you are not particularly strong and have lived a certain way your whole life, it is very dificult for self improvement in the best of circumstances, not to mention in adverse conditions.like we have mentioned.
Our Research.... Having carried out many surveys, interviews, questionaires; and talked to a wide veriety of people, we have been able to bring together a balanced and comprehensive reflection of what the major problems, causes and difficulties facing people with social needs. We have broken down the research and below shows an outline of how happy and healthy people feel, what people are unhappy about, drug and exercise habits and what people want, to improve there everyday lives. There is also some lifestyle data shown to highlight any patterns, which can then be used to validate or disregard the opinions of the people who took part in the research. We have also looked at a lot of research from other organisations and have briefly commentated on these findings and how they all fit together with our own and what this means. Below is a table of our findings.....
Our Analysis.... Our Analyis shows varying results from the research that we carried out, with regards to lifestyles and patterns. The key elements that our reseacrh found was that there is a vicious cycle of the way we feel and the way we are treated, little realistic choice for most and not very much oportunity. Interestingly there was a wide anti establishment mentality and a large distrust of the government, if not a total distrust. this brought about resentment and a feeling of oppresion. Many people did not feel that they could easily live a different lifestyle, as they felt the benefits that would be gained from the changes needed, would not be worth the sacrifices and work involved; especially in such circumstances that they live in. Most people felt that becasuse they did not feel particularly good about themselves or feel like there was much hope; it would only make their life more unbearable by trying to eat healthier, stop taking drugs and work harder. The following quote seems to make things more clear in terms of the research findings and feedback:
‘Although research is important, it does not take much thought, understanding and consideration to figure out that positive change is difficult in a place of negative influences, hardship, depresion with little or no support. “It is much easier to be a Manchester united supporter in Manchester than it is in liverpool”. This means that for people to really change a place is needed to allow this’ It is also evident from various places of human change, such as rehabilitation centres, institutions, and schools., that no matter how much a person improves; if they return to the same place with the same people being in the same state as when they left it will not be long before the hardwork becomes undone and they return to their original state of mind and lifestyle.
Our Theory.... However you look at the underlying problems and social issues that effect many of the lives we have looked at, it is quite aparant that the most fundamental issue, is a lack of realistic choice for people to make significant change in their lives. Our theory is that if you can give people choice and offer alternatives this will reduce the resentment and ill feeling that many people go through when they are told what they can and can’t do by people who have little idea how they really feel and the struggles and difficulties they go through every day. There seems to be lack of understanding and compasion and an attitude of ‘they don’t have to live like that’. Refresh is aimed at, not giving people money to support society indefinately but to give people the tools and oportunity to live their own lives independantly in an alternative environment where they can fend for themselves, take part in a huge number of healthy activities and grow their own food and learn to respect themselves and their community. This will hopefully instill a new mentality and empower the participants to help create positive change in their local community and teach people that little is needed to feel good and live a healthy life.
The Concept.... Each volunteer will attend a health and reconstruction ‘camp’ which will have a very strict ‘no drugs’ policy, this includes no legal drugs including alcohol or tobacco. The site will be located in a remote and ‘foreign’ area which will not only help keep costs down, as the price for land in the UK, which has the woodlands and landscape required, is not viable. Also the UK strict planning laws and climate would also make any site in the UK very difficult indeed and not feasible for the project. The participants will attend for between 6 months and 2 years. This timescale will mean that the different lifestyle approach will be ‘solidly grounded’ in the volunteers nature and will enable the participants to then be strong and robust enough to return to their community and have a positive impact and not be dragged down too quickly if there home environment is not a good or healthy one. The camps will accommodate a whole area or community of the UK (for instance a housing estate) at once, so most if not all people who are deemed detrimental to their community (usually people who have been unemployed for a considerable length of time and who have a drug habit) will undergo the lifestyle camps. This will also make it less daunting as most of the volunteers will know someone attending at the same time. The sites will be in a wooded area and the design will be like a rudimentary center parcs and have around 200-400 cabins. Each cabin will be built from the on-site materials with the exception of windows and some fittings and fixtures that will be necessary to import into the sites from outside sources. The sites will be self-sufficient in terms of food and will have a positive effect on energy use with the use of wind power and hydro or thermal technologies. Water will be harvested and there will be wetlands incorporated into the design for maximum sustainability. Each cabin will house between 3-5 people. The cabins will be within quite close proximity to each other to bring a cohesive and transparent community feel, which will minimise the risk of people shutting themselves off behind four walls and promote friendship and sociability. It will also make it easier for people to know who their neighbours are because people will see, hear and be a part of each other’s lives thus; this will reduce the potential for gossiping and hate preaching as we will all be able to see for ourselves just who in fact everyone is and how we all live. This will be able to help the participants form there own opinion of one and other based on fact and not perception or rumour.
The concept is quite simply a healthy and positive place, where people can go to improve their health, well-being, self-respect and can learn to be a proactive and positive part of their community. Most importantly it will be about working together to create a fun and stimulating environment. There will be oportunity to learn various skills and techniques needed to empower them to be a positive change in their own community and their will be a great emphasis on responsibility and self-determination. Mostly it will be about changing the perspectives and mentalities of residents to help them apreciate life in the UK.
Implimentation.... Each park would be constructed by the first participants and extra volunteers and memebers. There will also be expert knowlege and skills from low paid workers who will be offering their skills via the internet and on-site for free (The charity will however cover expenses and costs). The smaller scale site shall be built within the UK and the skills and knowlege gained from this shall then be transfered and used on a larger site. their will be some kind of remuneration for volunteers who learn any skills needed and who attend any courses which are of benefit to the constrction and maintenance of the site.
Challenges.... Provisional trial park situated in wales The trial site will be between 6-12 acres of woodland in south wales which will be run on a trial basis for around 6 months during the summer periods. This will give the charity an insight and a highly useful means to assess the operational effectiveness of a possible larger and more permanent initiative. It will be a useful tool to assess any difficulties that may arise on a larger site and will offer some invaluable experience to the trustees and future members, as well as volunteers. Below is a rough guideline to some of the specifications and attributes of an initial proposed trial community. Size: 6-12 acres, Cost: £30-50k, Location: South wales,
Costs (of which it is hoped most equipment will be gained through donation) Infrastructure: £15,000, Construction: £4000, Vehicle: £3500, Site materials: £3500, Equipment £3000, Plant: £1500 The Park The park site will be located in Wales, not too close to other towns or cities. It will be a wooded area hopefully of mixed leaf with the majority being of a pine or similar. There are a number of potential sites available which would be adequate for the needs when the certain planning measures have been approved. The following sites would be of similar spec to the site required: http://www.woodlands.co.uk/buying-a-wood/west-and-south-wales/allt-dderw-oak-wood/ http://www.woodlands.co.uk/buying-a-wood/west-and-south-wales/coed-hafen/ It is not possible to complete a detailed site plan with drawings until a site is procured. We have however put together a programme brochure which incorporates an interactive Pdf that has a general draft of how the site would look. The site would have 3 -5 volunteers who would have some relevant skills in the areas of Farming, fishing, food skills, nutrition, agriculture, sports, construction, management or any field related to teaching and Arts and Crafts.
Growth.... We hope hat after a succesful trial with a smaller scale site, we would then be able to go on and build a larger site in either France, Belgium or the Netherlands. This will depend on the price of land, planning regulations and practicality of a site.
The reason a site is not feasible in the UKis because of the strict planning laws and the expense of the land that would be required. There is also scope for other countries to adopt the same initiative and have volunteers attend the sites too.
Their is also potential to then turn the sites into a profitable business as a holiday park; with which the proceeds could be used to help further imrove the lives of the participants to pay for courses, gym membership, social clubs and funds for community projects.