MAPGAP UNEMPLOYMENT SOLUTIONS TEAM VISITS LONDON RAISING AWARENESS

MapGap Team Searching for Unemployment Solutions Using Maps

Colin and Rupert, two Global MapAid volunteers, left home and took the Waterloo train from Clapham Junction. Lovely conversation with Pret A Manger in Waterloo,  with cup of coffee. They suggested the Foundation at their central office in Victoria.

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Our goal is to spread the work about Global MapAid’s programme MapGap.org which is raising £38,880 to help build a programme to make maps to help inspire sustainable job creation programmes, by mapping of unemployment solutions for all to see, in both the UK and Ethiopia. Vital as there are 960,000 unemployed youth in the UK, aged from 15 to 24 and solutions to their unemployment, for example vocational education, can be mapped. In Ethiopia they also need sustainability in their jobs, but it’s a little different, they suffer from huge gaps in micro-credit, which can be mapped. The need irrigation to safe guard during drought years. Remember 1984 & Band Aid.

Rain, rain, rain

All the free newspapers were talking about heavy rain and gales. Heck, in the UK at least, it’s going to be ten times worse if you don’t have a job and it’s raining. Yet the rain felt cold and fresh and spurred us on…
We departed Waterloo heading north towards Charing Cross. En route we looked at the Mandela sculpture besides Hungerford Bridge with the inscription: “The Struggle is My Life”. We agreed !

Mandela was a man very beloved of our Patron, Desmond Tutu, so we paused for thought. Various souls had laid tributes to Mandela, and there was a quote on a small piece of paper tied to some flowers, which may have been a Martin Luther King Jr quote:-

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that, hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that…..”

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That quote really cut to the mustard.

Arrived at the Department for International Development at Whitehall where someone came down and regretfully said they could not accept a present and card from us on behalf of Justine Greening. So we left, wishing the security guard Happy Christmas (he gave a dazzling smile) and walked to BP in St. James’s Square.

We rang the buzzer and they tried 15 times to buzz us in and eventually the door opened and in we went ! Very nice jovial people at the desk, including a chap we shall just call “Mr.T”. We explained we were giving Bob Dudley, Head of BP a small Christmas present and a MapGap.org letter and Christmas card. Mr T looked a bit alarmed, we just said it was a tin of beans and some bread, typical of what an unemployed youth might eat in our country. We also mentioned we were capitalists promoting sustainable job creation. Not sure if Mr T fully grasped what we were about, he looked amazed, but he promised to scan the tin of beans, in fact scan everything and pass it to Mr Dudley. Hooray !!!

Outside it continued to rain and gusting in sheets. Sweeping across the streets…felt awesome….

Then down the Mall, heading towards Clarence House to see Prince Charlie Boy. However, the two ferocious looking Guardsmen in grey coats and no post box meant we had to  press on. No present for Charlie Boy, but we think his Princes Trust is absolutely amazing and we think Global MapAid could collaborate with them.

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It was raining and raining some more, and more and a bit more, and a bit more. “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day rain…”

Next we walked through St. James’ Park and in fact ran across Horse Guards Parade as rain gusted, and we jumped over low the iron chain fence at the entrance, like horses.

Followed through in Whitehall proper, and towards Downing Street to see David. He wasn’t in, however the policeman at the gate was most sympathetic to the MapGap.org idea and instantly absorbed the concept of vocational education being mapped and overlaid against unemployment poverty.  Maybe he’d seen how youth unemployment could lead to the wreckage of society. And perpetuates down generations. He felt like a total ally.

Off to the Treasury, to see George. He was on holiday, however Andraos, who was from Lithuania was on civilian guard duty in a bright green day glow coat.

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Kindly, bespectacled,  young, he was about 6 ft 9 inches tall, and had a degree in journalism. He was really kind and told us where to deliver the present, “just around the corner”. We remarked that he now worked at George’s treasury he replied: “This is not George’s treasury, he just works here !” We asked: “How are jobs in Lithuania ?” Poor, not good for young people…” he said.

Around the corner, a rather helpful fellow named Matthew took the tin of beans for George, the bread and the Christmas card and the letter explaining MapGap.org.  Off to his scanner. It felt a good visit.

Back into the rain, off to the Houses of Parliament and on the way saw four people’s umbrellas blown inside out, making a cracking sound, like fire works. We asked the bobby at the gate how to give a Christmas present to an MP and he suggested we go to Derby Gate and leave it there. So we arrived and were able to leave something for Justine. They were very nice and helpful, though refused the bread saying it would “go off” over the Christmas break, which is reasonable as nobody likes to come home from holidays to mouldy bread and that includes unemployed people.

A brisk walk along towards Department of Business Innovation and Skills and we passed by a company called Ellwood & Atfield, who are communications specialists. Looking through the window we saw some great pictures and posters they had created. So, taking a grip on the situation and knocking on the door, we went inside and spoke to Tom, who had a terrific smile, giving him some materials for Gavin Ellwood and suggesting a meeting after Christmas.

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Arrived on Victoria Street at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and went inside and took a photo but the guard promptly and kindly asked us not to take a photo, ah well, it was only a photo of a Department of Business Innovation and Skills poster. And they accepted the gift for Vince.

The Wates Group next (pronounced “Waytes”) and Catherine at reception took the tin of beans and bread. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Andrew Wates gave £1.8 million to youth related causes by the end of 2012 fiscal year (to by March 2013 ?). We thought we’d mention this, as he seems to be a jolly good chap.

Next we walked to the Pret A Manger Foundation housed above Victoria Station. They were sweet to us, gave us delicious drinks and a nice place to sit and wait. Then took our materials, making no promises, and we were on our way.

Off to the Telegraph where it was not possible to see anyone, however Joyce Smith spoke with us on the phone and suggested we leave the present downstairs, with the tin of beans and the bread. We did just that.

At this stage my phone unexpectedly died, so no more photos. (It’s a faithful old iPhone. If anyone out there can equip Global MapAid with some great phones we’d say: “Thank you !”)

We saw in the Telegraph a front cover story about immigration in to the UK. Why do people emigrate ? It’s often because of joblessness. Some day wouldn’t it be amazing to make maps in Eastern Europe to show solutions for sustainable job creation that could inspire the European Union ? If there are more jobs at home, surely it’s attractive to stay at home… most of us take the line of least resistance…

It was interesting being in Westminster and Whitehall, where wealth is everywhere and capitalism is show-cased to a marvellous degree, yet only a few miles away there is poverty in our great city.

It’s a case of a 20 minute walk from one world to another – just as it was it was when Charles Booth made his London Poverty Map in 1899. This is the sort of unemployment poverty that would respond well to the vibrant capitalism that Adam Smith promoted – capitalism yes, with a human face.

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                                                 Our Patron Desmond Tutu