This new section of the website provides SPACE for lengthy pieces. Initially they will report projects created by various Community groups in the Ascot area. Subsequently .... we cast the net wide for Readers contributions. 

Contact Anne theimaginationacts@gmail.com

 

FRIENDS’ TALES

 

TALES returns to heartening words from local Self Employed; they say ‘work for myself… freedom, hard work mostly using my physical strength and long – honed skills and with my HANDS’.

Our Friends’ Tales come from –

 

Dino

Dino’s father Vito, came from Sicily to the UK in 1956. Vito’s father had worked in a sulphur mine. So, at the start of Dino’s Story we honour men and women such as his parents, who brave a new country in order to improve their children’s’ life- chances. Later, his father was joined by Dino’s mother, Maria who worked as a hospital cleaner. One of 6, Dino set out at 14 years on a milk float, then in kitchens at a public school and a high security prison. Determined to be in control of his working life, the young man was a contract window cleaner at two supermarkets Not sufficiently his own master, next Dino went knocking on countless doors, offering Window and outside paint-work cleaning & external drainage maintenance. 30 years later, his order- book is always full. He and his wife have successfully raised 4 children in comfort and respectability. Dino is a proud man; upright, courteous, honourable; a superb worker maintaining customers’ property.

 

Sarah

When I was 24 I decided that the world of working for another was not for me! I didn’t like being told when to get up, when to go to bed, when to take a holiday and when to eat my lunch! I think I fall into the realms of the ‘totally unemployable’ due to my difficulty with authority figures! Rules are always a temptation to be broken, when I am told I can’t do something I want to do it……prove people wrong and find another way!! Maybe not a great personality trait but, I am what I am. So I started a hand-painted clothing company in 1988 and opened a shop in Brighton, then a photography company then a healing company and training school and currently Zephorium, my products business relating to health and well-being. I am actually proud of myself these days, I employ people and I like the feeling of helping people to pay their mortgages. I am busier than I have ever been, but if the sun is shining and I feel like it, I can turn off the computer and go and walk in the woods and no one tells me I can’t! I can create magic, have a thought and turn it into reality, engage others to help me create ‘things’ from ideas. I love searching the world for like minds and really feel there are no limits! I think anyone can carve out a world of self-employment for themselves, the only thing you need is heaps of vision, courage, flexibility and trust that it will all work out in the end.

 

Ken

Ken cuts hair, masterly well. “Should do” he says ‘’been doing it long enough!”

He’s 72. Still cuts, sets, perms, colours mostly grey hair, either in clients’ homes or at the salon in a local Care Home. To go there is an “outing” in itself. Ken’s devoted clients are in their 80s to 90s, living in the Care Home and always full of memories and this day’s gossip.

Ken ventured into self-employment after some years working for others; managed a small Salon in Brighton. He said “I was worried I couldn’t do it… left school, at 15. Not much good at the basics.”    A reflection following on Ken’s open-hearted telling of his sad, sad childhood.

So here is this dear man turning to me as he moves around my head, telling me about his and his partner’s five Siamese cats AND gardening…..then…as Ken continues to snip away at my curls…we speak of our shared interest in Counselling. This together with the ongoing WAIL, recalling the young heroin addict whom Ken has stood-by for many years. AND, Ken added” The proudest time in my life was when I bought my own house with Chris”.

Self Employed. Ageing, Arthritic Ken continues dignifying grey hair, of huge importance to so many of us …that’s Ken.

 

Mike

“Have a go” is Mike’s motto. Owning and running his own garage …has been his “GO”. From boyhood he was drawn to “FAST”. Irritated by school restrictions, he didn’t apply himself. Rather left school for college, but his heart wasn’t in that, either. Could repair cars…so helped out a friend Jim, in his under the arches garage, in Windsor. ‘Work’ was not to be in an Office, rather at garages at Egham and Brookside Ascot, selling petrol; mending cars. ( NOT what Mike’s mother envisaged. She saw him in “A CLEAN job”!! His father was a Tool- Maker. Where Mike’s heart WAS, was fast cars. He has driven in many Rallies, including the prestigious RAC Rallies. After meeting his wife, she joined him as his Co- driver. An altogether splendid companion with Mike, excelling as she did as an Accountant at aged 21; youngest Qualified Accountant in the country, having left school at 15. They both wanted to start their own company, which they did, finally in 2000, owning the freehold of their present garage; taking the risk, in the midst of a very difficult business period. Mike spoke of the long hours running the business, when he sold petrol as well as sold and repaired cars. Today, after withdrawing from the management of petrol sales, life is easier for him and his wife. They have a reliable work- force whom he looks after well, plus good relations with their commercial friends.

What else has been going on in this vigorous fellow’s life? Well! It’s SPEED again. This time RUNNING. Why? “to build up stamina for the Rally driving.” Around 9 stones at school, at running …Mike excelled and has run many Marathon’s including raising, on request, £3,000 for BEN ( Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund). Part of Mike’s regime is being a vegetarian for the past 25 years. Realised “you don’t need meat”. In turn, this view led him to become an Animal Rights Campaigner.

A Muddy Waters fan, you could say “ The Doing Man”, holds much of Mike’s approach to life, including discharging himself from Heatherwoood Hospital, a few days after a major op. Some fella!

 

Dorin

After the fall of the communist regime, I have always tried to set up a business but I failed, just like other people. I was forced by economic reasons to work outside the country in order to offer to my children a chance to continue their studies. From 1995 Romania started to decay economically and even my wife and I, both we have higher education, there were too fewer things to do honestly. My country is passing a dramatically period because of corruption and now, looking backward, I see I did well leave it. Statistics say, after 25 years after communism, around 350 persons leave daily the country in search of a better life.

Working abroad I met many people and different cultures, all people are good in their heart but different in behaviour. I come from a Latin country, I am latin, but I like more English people behaviour; they know to appreciate and support a person who wants to work and I managed to develop myself here, even I had a hard start. Not only the people support me, also the law…. the financial system is encouraging. 

Why don’t I like to be part of the EU? Because from the moment who Romania became part of EU, it was sold piece by piece; because the EU know that Romania is driven by a bunch of thieves, that the Roman people are on the street, protesting against corruption not only from time to time but uninterrupted for more than 15 months and they do nothing.  

I love Romania and I would love to make it known as few know it !. 

 

Frensham Village Shop – A brief history 1995 – 2018

In December 1995, Frensham’s Parish Council was informed that the shop and Post Office would have to close as the owners could no longer run it as a commercially viable family business.  A hastily organised meeting of villagers from Frensham and Dockenfield found enough people willing to join a committee to set up a Community Shop.

With just 3 weeks to closure, £20k was raised in the form of Loan Bonds, by committee members who went knocking on doors.  The redundant Butcher’s shop was offered at a peppercorn rent, pending a more permanent solution.  Volunteers transformed the premises.  Frensham Village Shop opened for business in January 1996.

In 2007, with the impending sale of the premises, and with advice from the Plunkett Foundation, the shop relocated temporarily to a purpose-built container, sited in the recreation ground car park. This required the issue of another tranche of Loan Bonds.  It ensured the survival of the shop and Post Office while developers provided permanent premises in the form of a Parish Room with a shop beneath as part of a re-development of an old garage site.  Frensham Village Shop finally moved to this new home in June 2011.

In 2018, we have approximately 60 volunteers sharing shifts in the shop or carrying out admin or other jobs

In 1996 we had c 10 suppliers.  In 2018 we have more than 45.

In 2007 FVS, became a Community Interest Company, enabling easier access to grants for the final shop move.

Frensham held 3 Scarecrow Festivals, amongst other fund-raising events, to add to the many grants we received to make the shop a reality.

Our 3 premises have shared the same post code, yet each has required planning permission and a new alcohol licence!

 

ROADS LESS TRAVELLED

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
—Robert Frost

 

Jennifer

I have been self-employed for many years now, after an inglorious career in various industries, where my frank opinions and dislike of nonsensical rules were not qualities much appreciated. On the day I found myself sitting at home banging my head on a brick wall – literally – I decided I must change my options, and began my self-employed ‘career’ as an artist. Until 2011, I was a sole practitioner; in 2011 I set up my organisation Outrider Anthems, as a necessary tool in applying for funding open only to not-for-profit organisations. In the last two years, I have begun to understand more about the power inherent in being director of one’s own company, and how that energy can be used efficiently for the greater good, untrammelled by unnecessary agendas, egos, power struggles and wasteful bureaucracy. I relish the direct line available to me between vision and execution; the gift of choosing projects and collaborators; I am beginning to thrive on the process of seeking out funding and honing my budgetary skills. Having just submitted this year’s annual accounts, I can report that even this has (with the help of a professional accountant) become relatively painless. In fact, so positive is the status for me now of being self-employed that I find it inconceivable I would ever become once more someone else’s employee.

The path has not been easy, and will never be so. One can never press the cruise button and enjoy a few months of treading water; any hiatus will mean a reduction in income and in profile, neither of which is beneficial to a self-employed person. The flipside of this is that it is extremely difficult to turn down work; feast or famine is generally the lot of the self-employed, which makes us greedy when offers of work come our way. This is, however, probably less a defining difference than it used to be; with insecurity of tenure in most PAYE positions now, we are all working harder than we can afford to in terms of health and holistic wellbeing.

The financial instability of self-employment is its biggest negative; as are the misconceptions surrounding its status. Fees and charges must take into consideration downtime, holiday pay, sick pay, insurance, overheads, NI contributions and pension, to name but a few. This is much misunderstood, and grumbles over high rates are not uncommon. Nor is the attitude – as much a part of being an artist as being self-employed – that one is indulging greed by charging a living rate for following one’s passion.

The other great difficulty of self-employment is that Director, Treasurer, PR expert, Funding expert, Press & Publicity department, Chief Bottle Washer, and Practitioner are all likely to be one and the same person. It is not a game for the weakhearted. One of my greatest learning curves has been conceding that certain aspects of the work must be delegated; for the good of Outrider Anthems, and for my own well-being. I regard it as a sign of maturing as a self-employed person.

My philosophy has changed over the years and I conclude on this philosophical note: being self-employed has become easier and easier as I have learnt to drop the emphasis on ‘self’, to worry less from a position of duality, and to trust in the Universe. Once I began to trust that the Universe was my ‘employer’ the dance has been that much easier. And that much more of a delight.

 

Georgeanne

For much of my working life I have depended on raising funding for my work or have been self-employed. This piece is not easy to write. Self-employment has felt tougher than I like to acknowledge, and a bit messy and I realise I’d prefer not to think about it. I’m sure many self-employed people manage it much better than I do!

I was employed in an educational centre for eleven years until chronic ill health meant I had to leave. Five years later, recovering after a long illness and approaching 50, specialising in quite an esoteric area -spirituality and transformation – made me hesitate to apply for jobs. Having been out of the market place for so long and coming up with a good CV was not easy. Looking back now I see that I was rather defeatist and lacked confidence and so I became self-employed. But there was another issue in play– I had an intensely strong inner drive to do work in a very specific way that would lead to transformation of consciousness at a practical level. I was committed to that and I could think of no organisation that would employ me to do spirituality and transformation in the workplace so being self-employed seemed the natural path. I think I am a maverick with an unusual set of skills that do not fit in easily to any box.

The good side of being self-employed is that I have been my own master. I set my vision and steer my course and have great freedom to do the work I love in the way I want to do it and I have had the opportunity to live out of my values and do work that expresses that which I hold most dear. I have been completely self-managing and every day has invited me to carve out my day. There is no well-worn route and no ready routine. Self-employment has often required that I be a jack- of- all- trades, doing marketing, sales, publicity, design, admin. book-keeping, project management, all areas in which I had no expertise and zero affinity but they have had to be done. It was far from glamorous. Income has been precarious and erratic which was a challenge when there was a mortgage to pay. Now it is of little consequence.

Without the support of a partner, and the support of great associates I think it would have been impossible.

I have loved the freedom I have had with the remarkable opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives. It has been demanding, often required long days and long 6-day weeks but I love being able to do the work, make the difference, use my strange set of skills and be who I am. A life of bridge, past -times, holidays and comfortable income would leave me feeling empty.  Nothing delights me more than seeing people wake up to what is possible when they turn within. It’s a form of magic; it’s really special.

So, although being self-employed is demanding and I have had very many tough times it has fulfilled me and I am glad I took that path.

 

 

POSTSCRIPT to the previous Tale on The Light House Project

THE LIGHT HOUSE peace education project was launched at Charters School May 2004, in front of three local Mayors and local supporters, as a response to the Invasion of Iraq.

It was and remains an IMAGINATIVE response to the threat of war as a means of resolving conflict.

The Yurt had a short stay in an Ascot garden before being moved to Oaktree Special School in London in April 2018.

Students there will redesign, repaint and have fun in this most beloved space … designed, painted and used by Ascot school children.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our Friends for their Tales of Self – Employment

 

Top Photo acknowledgement – I Brought You the Moon – Fernando Cabrerizo

End Photo acknowledgement – Blue Moon Tree – Eric Houck

 

PREVIOUS TALE –

From Holyhead to Hollywood
– the journey of Graham Wyn Jones :
Storyboard Artist

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PREVIOUS TALE –

Shoulder to Shoulder: With Victims

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PREVIOUS TALE –

The Lighthouse Story

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The beginning of “Wells for India’

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I Paint

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The Circle Works – Celebrating 30 Years

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Alert Ascot

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Ascent Festival

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PREVIOUS TALE –

Aching and yearning for the wild: The experience of children in the garden

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PREVIOUS TALE –
Just Walk to Jerusalem

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PREVIOUS TALE – ‘The NHS Crisis or Opportunity’

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PREVIOUS TALE – ‘Take Two’

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