Doing this job, you sometimes see the worst of humanity, which can give you a skewed view of the world. For example, I remember having a cup of coffee with a friend (who had a teenage daughter) talking about what I was up to the next week. I mentioned my client was ‘only’ up for a burglary and she had to point out, for the benefit of her offspring, that actually burglary was quite serious and not to be trivialised. It’s easy to get cynical as well and see misery caused and selfish acts.
Sometimes however, something comes along to shake that, and to remind me that actually the vast majority of people are good at heart.
My other half has abandoned a career as a teacher to train as a social worker (we love low paid jobs in the Bunting household) and I was talking to her the other night about one of her clients who was a hugely vulnerable young woman. She had been trafficked in to the UK as a teenager and been the victim of gross abuse. She now had a young daughter (8 months old, but born premature and with various health difficulties so looked much younger) and had just been informed that her application to stay in the UK as a victim of trafficking had been refused (the Home Office has not got a great track record in getting it right first time, so there’s every chance that an appeal will be successful).
This meant that the support that she was getting from the Salvation Army (who are funded by the Home Office in this respect) was cut off. There will be a period of time before the NASS support kicks in, and when it does, it won’t be particularly generous. A more immediate concern was that her baby had been sleeping in a cot that was owned by the Salvation Army, and this had to be handed back.
So I suggested that we ask on twitter to see if anyone could help out with that. I’m not someone with a huge social media presence – I’ve got 1,066 ‘twitter followers’ as I write this, nowhere near Stephen Fry levels for example, but more than my Dad at least.
So I sent this tweet:
The response was phenomenal and so, so heartwarming. 155 people retweeted it. Some of these I know, but most were people who saw it pop on their timeline and wanted to help. But it wasn’t just that people pressed the retweet button on their phone, many chipped in with offers and suggestions of other ways of finding something.
More importantly, people came up with offers. These were people who I don’t know and had never heard of me. I haven’t asked them, so I won’t name them, but it’s a tribute to the generosity of spirit that there is now a very vulnerable young woman who has at least a pram and a place for her baby to sleep.
This is just one little thing, one slice of human kindness. A very small thing in the scheme of things, but something that has made a massive impact on one woman’s life. Forget the Daily Mail, UKIP and the EDL. The true spirit of this country is that there is such a thing as society and that when there is someone in need, our response is to step up and help out. Thank you twitter!