BFP columnist Colin Baker is best known as BBC's Dr Who. Here he gives his view on the issues of the day.
I was appalled to hear this week of the possible demise of Out of the Dark, the local charity that has been doing remarkable work in offering disadvantaged and alienated young people the opportunity to turn their lives round by restoring old and unloved furniture.
The organisation’s title came from the notion of bringing both the young people and the furniture out of the shadows where they were languishing and into the light.
And the work they did was excellent and imaginative. Jade and Jay Blades, the co-founders, met at Bucks New University where she was studying textiles and they discovered a shared passion for design and also for making a difference for many of the troubled and thitherto unmanageable youth of our town. And I know from first-hand how successful their venture was.
Young people who had failed to survive in the community and the workplace and who in many cases came from disadvantaged homes responded to Jay’s inspirational way of identifying with and channelling their energy and anger into constructive activity.
By showing that taking something unloved and giving it a new life and therefore value could at the same time give them money in their pockets, Jay who commanded the respect of even the most intransigent, showed he was as shrewd as he was talented. Some truly striking and contemporary pieces of furniture emerged. It was never an easy ride, but by offering to the young men in particular a male role model they could respect and relate to, when they had previously had none, Jay achieved miracles.
What a crying shame therefore that our town has allowed this venture to fail. A cancelled large order at the wrong time of year and a failed grant bid has forced the charity to declare itself insolvent. I urge the council, or indeed any funding body or any wealthy potential patron with the resources to have a look at the work this remarkable couple have done in a very difficult community area and financial climate and try to find a way to let them continue to trade and do what they do so well. In a town that was built around the furniture industry it would be doubly tragic to lose them.
Had I known about this when I was chairing the hustings at Bucks New University this week I would have certainly asked the Parliamentary candidates to offer their help.