Just a Kid – (A play – 1st draft)

Just a kid


Sharleen Shaha Gul


Noreen: 12 years old

Asef: Noreen’s brother, 16 years old

Female Neighbour: Female voice

Scene 1

It is 3.40 PM, Noreen a 12 year old girl is sat on a large rock outside her school, there is noise and commotion of children trying to get on the 3 buses lined up in front of her. A back drop of green hills and semi detached homes catches her eyes. She is waiting and watching the world.

Asef: Where is he?

Noreen: I have been waiting since 3.15.

Asef sits beside her.

Asef: OK, When these 2 go and its the last bus we will queue up and..

Noreen: I don’t have a pass

Asef: Are you serious, it doesn’t matter, I will sneak you on

Noreen: NO, NO, Miss is there look, oh man, now what

Asef: We just get on, what’s wrong with you, have you got money?

Noreen: Er no why would I have money on me, why is Dad not here, he’s such a..

Asef: Shut up

Noreen: I am scared, she’s not going to let us on, I forgot to fill the form in, for the pass, should have done it after last time. Then I thought he only forgot that once and he always picks us up anyway, but I bet he’s forgotten about us again.

Asef: Its the last bus, now come on

Noreen follows Asef’s and queues up to get on the bus.

Asef: Sit with me at the top yeah

Noreen: OK

Noreen: Look… look Asef they told the other kid he can’t get on, he doesn’t have a bus pass, she isn’t going to let me on without it

Asef: I will sneak you on

Noreen: No..I cant..

Asef: Just trust me..I..

Noreen: No, No,

Asef: Listen to me..

Noreen: No. It’s going to be proper embarrassing if she sees. I told you she is well tight, its just a stupid piece of paper anyway, I don’t get why we have to show it to get on

Asef: Lets wait longer then..for Dad

They walk away from the queue and take their seats on the Rock again

Noreen: There is some other kids walking home.. Look. They live near us.

Asef: Hmm..

Noreen: She is proper tight she is.. That Miss.. shall we go into reception and call home?

Asef: Yeah lets call home to the land-line that has been cut of because your Dad didn’t pay the bill

Noreen: It’s not my fault is it, he has just forgotten about us and he will remember. And he is your dad too so shut up.. something bad could have happened, or someone else might come for us…

Asef: Yeah maybe Uncle Eddy will get us.. come for us.. like once before..or we can walk with them kids

Noreen: Even if we got on the school bus it drops us of miles from home, so its better we just stay here..I cant walk..my leg from that fall last time..it might hurt again. I don’t want another operation

Asef: OK Let’s see..and wait

Scene 2

Asef is lying on the grass next to the large rock. Noreen is sat on the rock and watching the sky.

Asef: Its 3.50 now, he’s not coming, we’ll have to walk. Can you just try

Noreen: How..it’s an hour’s walk at least.

Asef: Come on..we can catch up to the other kids

Noreen: I don’t like them, that one with the dirty clothes he is OK but he is a weirdo though, I mean he is funny..but.. He only started a couple weeks ago, he gets the City circle in the morning sometimes, haven’t you seen him before? Do yo think we can get home for 5, because Mum always worries when we are even a little bit late? Do you know which way to go home? What about the main road there is no where for us to walk, and..

Asef sits up on the grass, rubbing his face and hair back

Asef: Yeah, Yeah.. we will use the bus route, chill man it will be about an hour..no more.. I bet you a tenner

Noreen: Where you going to get that from? I am scared though, I got called names last time we went down that hill for a walk with my friends at lunch time

Asef: I am with you now

Noreen: I feel better here though.. Someone should come for us..Uncle Eddy, Grandad.. Uncle Maj..Lets just wait longer..Why do you think they wouldn’t be here by now?

Asef takes a deep breath and lies back down on the grass, hand in his hair..

Asef: You know what.. you are soooo annoying..Just come, its going to get dark soon!

Noreen: No you are so annoying..You think you are the boss of me..Its a racist area! Why would that cow..Why wouldn’t she let people on without a pass..like so what.. Cant she see we are just kids..my dad normally comes for us and last time

Asef: Last time what..He never came

Noreen: No Miss Shah gave us a lift and we hardly waited for him..and then he shouted at us for not waiting..he got here and we was gone..he was worried

Asef: Look we have got to walk a little bit and then he may see us on the way here, we will stick to the main road! Plus it will be getting dark soon, that’s what I am worried about

Noreen: I know.. Oh..shit it will be getting dark..OK then..

They both get up. A bus drives past, people get out.. and stare at Asef and Noreen, they stare too..

Asef: What? Do you want a picture.. have that

Asef puts his middle finger up to the people

Noreen: Seriously that is so embarrassing, why are you doing that. OK now stop looking at them, they are walking away. Just ignore them.. Asef.. look at me..is my face red

Asef: OK lets wait here. Don’t like the look of people here..I don’t think we will catch up to them other kids now.

They both sit on the large rock

Asef: I got fifty pence on me, do you want a drink from across the road?

Noreen: No.. Just want to go home. What’s happened to Dad..it’s going to get dark soon..and..

Noreen jumps up

Noreen: OH NO..

Asef: What?

Noreen: Asef, Omar what if something’s happened to him?

Asef: Just chill

Noreen: I don’t trust Dad, we have been waiting ages now.. seriously what’s wrong with him. Oh my god.. Mums going to be going mad..she can’t even leave the house..her anxiety..

Asef: OK..we need to move from here and try to get home quick its starting to get dark and the clouds..

Noreen: OK, look shall I go into the office, sometimes the teachers stay back and the care taker might be there.. what time is it? Shall I go to the reception..Asef… Shall we go?

Asef: You go..I’ll wait..its 4.10.

Scene 3

Noreen walks towards Asef and sits on the grass.

Asef: What happened?

Noreen: The teachers are in a meeting, or get together or something..The receptionist called the emergency number for us and guess what..yep no connection..I wish mum could drive..but then why not just give us like 7 quid to get back home in a taxi..like just for emergencies..I never have money.. it is so embarrassing when Sarah and Alia go to the corner shop. I always say I don’t like chocolates.

Asef: Mum is stingy as heck. So the receptionist is not..look is there anyway they can help..

Noreen: Yeah, she told us to wait here and then the teachers will be out..soon. She will get us a taxi or see if they can give us a lift..because even the receptionist had no money..well she said she left her purse at home..and the key to the school safe is with Mrs Metcalfe who is in the meeting.

Asef: OK. That’s OK. Told you just chill

Noreen: I still can’t, you know you are like all boys and men.. Even mum says all men are the same are you not even worried..how do you think Omar has got home..he is a baby

Asef: Look.. my shoes there is a whole in it, I have holy shoes..Now that is what you call embarrassing Noreen

Noreen: I am not worried about your shoes right now..BE SERIOUS Asef..

Asef: What can we do right now? Tell me?

Noreen: When I grow up I am not relying on anyone..and I am not having kids

Asef: HA yeah right..Like grandma will let you do what you want

Noreen: Oh its raining, for god’s sake..why is this happening. I want to go home

Noreen tears up

Asef: OK lets go there, under that bridge..I don’t know why there is no bus shelter here.. Come on

They cross the road and stand under a bridge..watching the school light up..

Asef: Its not safe..its not safe here

Noreen: I hate this place

Asef: We need to go.. get out from under this bridge. Its getting pitch black now.. the street lights are off..not working.

Noreen: Look at them guys

Asef: They have alcohol in their hands..and they have just smashed a bottle on the wall.

Noreen: Lets just go back to reception and sit inside

Asef: Better idea..we should have done that first.

Noreen: Well you just get angry..and cant think..well sometimes your an idiot..Like when you say things about Dad without thinking

Asef: I know..that is completely different to standing under a bridge in the rain OK..but he does not treat me like his own son..

Noreen: Can we just go in..I don’t mind getting wet..Must have be an hour by now.

Scene 4:

Noreen and Asef are sitting on an arm chair each in the reception. The receptionist has placed cookies in front of them. Noreen eats one.

Noreen: Love these cookies..They are making me feel better.

Asef: Put some in your bag..give some to Omar when we get home..Don’t worry about him OK. He will be OK..He is a kid and the teachers don’t let 5 year old’s leave the school by themselves

Noreen: Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we were still living in Afghanistan.. would more people care about us.. I mean look at all the family we have here and they don’t even care..why are they not here by now or called the school..What if Omar’s school has called the social services

Asef: Hmm..It will be OK..OK

Noreen: When I grow up..I will be getting a job..Grandma wont let me.. mum will let me won’t she.. actually they don’t care what I do, if they cared they would have picked us up from school and dropped us off like normal parents

Asef: Yeah..and give us bus fair or some money for emergencies

Noreen: She doesn’t have it that’s why.. because of dad

Noreen puts her hand on her chest,

Noreen: My heart thumps sometimes when I am scared..is that because I am scared or something else is wrong with me

Noreen takes a deep breath

Asef: We talked about stress and anxiety the other day.. I think your anxious..your scared about not being home yet..and Omar.

Noreen: It is..five now..Thank God they are going to come out of the meeting soon..Mum is going to be mad. I have never been home this late, the bus is normally home by now

Asef: Look she will have forgotten by tomorrow, she will have been paranoid..thinking the teachers have killed us..but it will be OK tomorrow..watch.

Noreen: So you think I am like Mum..I don’t want too. I won’t be..She is not well, and she is paranoid and she is going to be really really upset.. Where the hell is Dad..Dad is dodgy you know..I don’t trust him..Something has happened..I feel it.

Asef: It can run in families..but your just a kid right now.

Noreen: So what else did they tell you about Anxiety?

Asef: You will do the same class when your doing your GCSE’S

Noreen: Can’t you just tell me.

Asef: Look, just sit here and wait..we will be home soon..you stress too much..I am also worried…but we just cope differently..I am sick of everything..Your Dad, who has never been a proper step Dad to me..Mum and her brain and the social services..Flipping everything..and now I am sat in school waiting to get home because of you and you want to have a counselling session right now

Noreen: Well this is me..This is how I am coping.


Noreen: Oh my God..where are these stupid teachers..Cant she just go in and get the keys for the safe..get us a taxi

Asef: Why don’t we talk about what we think the year 2020 will be like..What do you think? Flying cars, I think that will happen you know. I am speaking to Uncle Eddy later about working at the Garage on weekends


Noreen: I don’t care about fun stuff

Asef: I am trying to make you think of something else..even though you are stressing me out..why are you no fun..always stressing..

Noreen: Well you can get a job..I am going to get out too..You just watch..and really I don’t need you. I can do things my self OK. I am going to tell them everything..and then I will be OK.. I will be fun and normal

Asef: Who? What?

Noreen: When they come out I am going to tell them my Mum is mad and Dad is never around..and Omar is always crying

Asef: Do you think they will help? Do you know what will happen. Just shut up and wait..We will get home and that’s it..everything will be normal tomorrow..Mum will have forgotten about today and Dad will act normal, like he never left us waiting

Noreen: You can’t tell me what to do..How to feel..I know what is right

Asef: I am with you now aren’t I. I could have got on that bus and left you

Noreen: Asef. I am scared of everything. I am scared Mum might hurt us or Omar and Dad is just out of it

Asef: Seriously just shut up

Scene 5

Asef and Noreen are stood outside a parked car, under a street light. It is raining heavily, they listen to Mrs Metcalfe Knock the door to their home as they watch her. There is no answer. Silence and darkness

Female Neighbour: Asef..Noreen..Your Dad..Oh Hi, is this your teacher..


Female neighbour: Er. Asef come here please.. Hi..She is..she is in..well.. your Dad got stopped by the police..It’s Drugs I think. The police took your mum and dad in for questioning

Asef hears Noreen cry a few steps away, Asef is stood still.

Female Neighbour: Omar is at ours, the police and your parents are happy for you stay here, they will be released hopefully later..and well your Mum isn’t well is she..they said they may ask a Dr to speak to her, so she will be OK. They took her medication with them.. It will be OK..I have a nice hot meal prepared..you guys must be hungry, please come in

Scene 6

Noreen and Asef are sat on a sofa, Omar asleep in Noreen’s arms..watching TV.

Noreen: I am going to make everything better, I am going to tell

Asef is staring into space.

Noreen: Are you listening? I am not going to be like Mum.. I am going to tell them she is not well..OK. And I am going to tell her to leave Dad.

Asef: OK Noreen.

Noreen: I want Omar to be happy..And I want..Actually hope Dad goes to Prison and I want Mum to get help..OK.

Asef: OK

Noreen: I feel much better now Omar is here..I know them 2 will be OK. Asef..

Asef: Yeah.

Noreen: I am sorry..We have to help Mum OK and stick together OK.

Asef: OK, go to sleep now.. put Omar down and just chill yeah.

Noreen: I like this house, I feel safe, I am chilling..but Asef you have to make plans..they even have central heating and a spare bedroom..We can have this when we grow up.

Asef: Yeah, I think you are stronger than you think you know.. Just don’t cry like that again, your snot went everywhere

Noreen: Laughs, I can’t help it.

Asef: I like this house too.

Noreen: We can definitely have this when we grow up.

Asef: I can get a cash in hand job this summer. I am old enough

Noreen: Sometimes I feel your age

Asef: You do act it. Go to sleep before Omar wakes up.

They both exit the room, Omar in Noreen’s arms, his little head over her little shoulders



The Streets that lead me (A Play – first Draft)

It is 3.40 PM, Noreen a 12 year old girl is sat on a large rock outside her school, there is noise and commotion of children trying to get on the 3 buses lined up in front of her. A back drop of green hills and semi detached homes catches her eyes. She is waiting and watching the world.

Asef: Where is he?

Noreen: I have been waiting since 3.15.

Asef sits beside her. Throws his bag down.

Asef: OK, When these 2 go and its the last bus we will que up and..if he’s still not here..

Noreen: I don’t have a pass

Asef: Are you serious… it don’t matter, we’ll sneak on

Noreen: NO, NO, Miss is there look, ohh.. now what..

Asef: We just get on..what’s wrong with you.. have you got money?

Noreen: Er no..why would I have any money, why is Dad not here? He’s such a…

Asef: Shut up,

Noreen: I am scared..she’s not going to let us on..I forgot to fill the form in..for the pass..should have done it after last time..but I thought he only forgot that once he’s picked us up since.. but I bet he’s forgotten about us again.

Asef: Its the last bus.. now! come on.

Reluctantly Noreen follows Asef’s lead and queues up to get on the bus.

Friend: Asef.. you getting on bus today yh?

Asef: Yh me and my sister, are dad’s not here.

Friend: Safe.. sit at the top yh..we all go upstairs.

Asef: Yh safe.

Noreen: Look..Asef..look they told David he can’t get on, he doesn’t have a bus pass

Friend: Just sneak..

Asef: You serious.. shit.. No its alright we’re going to have to walk it now

Noreen: I told you she is tight, its just a stupid piece of paper

Asef: Lets wait for Dad a little longer

They walk away from the queue and take their seats on the Rock again

Noreen: David is walking home, he lives near us..she is proper tight she is.. That Miss.. shall we go into reception and call home

Asef: Er yh lets call home to the land-line that has been cut of because your dad didn’t pay the bill yh

Noreen: It’s not my fault is it, he has just forgotten about us, I

Asef: Again..

Noreen: I am telling you he has just forgotten about us and he is your step-dad, still a dad so shut up!

Asef: Its 3.50 now, he’s not coming, we’ll have to walk

Noreen: How

Asef: With you’re legs dumbo, lets catch up to David, he’s from Fagley yh

Noreen: Yh, he is new in my class, and funny.. He only started a couple weeks ago, he gets the City circle in the morning sometimes, haven’t you seen him before? Do you think we can get home for 5, because Mor always worries when we are just a little bit late? Do you know which way to go home? What about the main road there is no where for us to walk, and..

Asef: Yh, Yh we will use the bus route, chill man it will be about an hour, I bet you a tenner

Noreen: Where you going to get that from then.. dad?

Asef and Noreen run down the hill

Noreen: David, David

David turns around

David: Reeeenyyy

Noreen: Hi..

Asef: We are walking too, to Fagley

David: The bitch wouldn’t let me on the bus, have you got some cash for a taxi or the City Circle

Asef: No, my dad normally comes for us and last time..

David: Just got to walk quick, will be getting dark soon, you fast yh, what about you Reeny?

Noreen: I can walk fast, will it really be getting dark soon?

David: Are you scared of the dark

Noreen: no..Asef..my bags heavy..

Asef: Just come on quick.. we using bus route yh?

David: Only one I know, hate coming all the way here to this stupid school, so far away, my mum cant even drive and she’s skint.

Asef: We got the bus last time, its seventy five pence with a school pass..don’t have any money on us this time.. anyway that bus takes an hour, then you got to change at town or walk home from there.

David: Oh shit look at that..the bus ha we caught up, look at them slow as a snail.

Children call out of the bus and throw rubbish out at David

Asef: What you doing!

Asef puts his middle finger up to the bus

Noreen: Seriously so embarrassing, they know now we are walking home..Asef..look are they looking at me? Is my face red? I think you lot are walking to fast. Can we sit down when we get passed this dumb bus?

Asef: they were looking at your 90’s bag, what you got in their bricks…

Noreen: Mor got me it OK!

Asef: I got fifty pence on me, do you want a drink?

David: What about me?

Asef: sorry mate, that’s all I got..

David: Only joking..

Past the bus and the traffic, the three of them sit on a bench outside a line of high rise flats, watching the traffic and birds sitting on the grass in front of them and the road.

David: Right I have had my rest..

Noreen: Asef..what do you think has happened? What if something’s happened..

Asef: Just chill..

Noreen: I don’t trust dad, seriously what’s wrong with him..

Asef: Lets get home quick its starting to get dark..

Noreen: OK, look at David, he’s fast, eh what’s he doing sitting on the floor

Asef and Noreen run

Asef: What are you doing.. get up

David: Look..my shoes got a hole in.. I have holy shoes ha

Noreen laughs

David: Guys I can sit here and beg, I am not walking any more, we done what forty minutes now..if only the weather was good..

Asef: Yh you carry on, we are walking on..

Noreen: Cant leave him here..

Asef: Seriously! He’ll catch up..keep walking.. Do you want to get home or what?

Noreen: Now you’re being tight, he actually looks like a beggar look at his shoes.. and his coat is dirty too.. Ohhh look at that man there.. He might attack him..

Asef: Come on, its not safe here..need to get out from under this bridge, he knows the route..

Noreen: OK, just slow down, I can’t go up another hill, my feet are hurting..the rain..

Asef: Do you want that tenner?

Noreen: And where are you getting it from!

Asef: Kaka Ji will give me it, I am helping him out this weekend on some cars

Noreen: Not fair..I want some money too

Asef: Get a job then,

Noreen: Do you think when I grow up, mum will let me? Actually they don’t care what I do, if they cared they would have picked us up from school and dropped us off. Looked after us.. How many Asian kids do you see getting the bus outside Fagley at 6.50 AM.

Asef: We’re not special..

Noreen: Them Asian aunties stare at us, they talk about Mor.

Asef: She has lost the plot..like when she looses the plot when she has to give us bus fare..why send us to school and so flippin far away if you can’t afford it..

Noreen: She doesn’t because of dad

David jumps on Asef from behind

Asef: What the.. What you doing man, shit me up

Noreen: Oh my god I thought you was that that man

David: It was a Junkie..the guy had cash..and he asked me for more! Look what I got, some old man threw me a quid, yesss going to get some munchies from the corner shop.

Asef: Can’t you get a bus with that

David: Rather get some food

They run to a corner shop

Noreen: You guys, wait!

David and Asef sit on a bench under a bus stop, its raining and dark now. Noreen is walking towards them. Noreen talks to her self.

Noreen: Cant believe I am walking home, no one cares about us

Noreen stops, and puts her hand on her chest, takes a deep breath and sees a man approach Asef and David, Noreen stops, heart beats

David: What!

Man: Do you want some weed?

Davis: Is it free?

Man: You little shit

Asef: Get lost..

Man: If.. If..yous you..you weren’t kids I would l.l..lamp you, you likle shits

Noreen: who was that

Asef: Don’t know, come on, guess what time it is..five

Noreen: Yes I got money coming in! Make sure Kaka Ji gives you that tenner…Its five O Clock! Mor is going to be mad.. the bus is normally home by now

David: Who is Mor?

Asef and Noreen in sync: Our mum

Noreen: She is not well, and she is paranoid and she is going to be really really upset.. Oh no what about Omar, do you think he is home from school?

Asef: yh yh they would have took him home.. the teachers

Noreen: she is going to be mad, why has no one come looking for us, we are on the main roads..

Asef: Its dark and I don’t know what’s happened, we should have called Kaka ji from the reception

Noreen: Do you have his number, what about Dajee, is his number on the list for emergencies?

Asef: I don’t know, no point now, keep walking and don’t get behind us again

Noreen: I am scared what’s happened to Dad?

Asef: Chill..

Noreen: I feel like something bad has happened…


Overcoming PTSD

Walking on a spring evening in Golden Acre Park – Leeds

I have to do this. Releasing my thoughts onto the world like an eagle spreading its wings above a small stone, but at this moment in time my story has a beginning and no end. I am still in the process of understanding my story, my past and present. It haunts me day after day like a crazy killer on the loose repeatedly stabbing me in the back, in the chest, in my head and in my eyes.

I get up and get on. However for the past 2 years it has eaten me up and there is nothing left in me, I feel empty and numb, sometimes I like it numb, I can numb certain people out of my life, I am a pro at this. You see me and I give you the illusion of ‘I’m listening’.

Just as I gather myself it chases after me again. The killer is let loose.

Just imagine that for a second.

Now imagine this, I am ready to release this image, this symbol of pain and it’s acquaintances – they are;

Low self esteem

Low confidence

Extreme fear

Immense feelings of betrayal

Lifelong loneliness

and tears that never dry.

The stress is real and I am living it, the circumstances which made me a strong independent women are now breaking me, pounding in my face as a reminder of the bad experiences, what I have achieved despite the difficulties is not enough to erase those memories.

So I ask myself why now? Why now?

At least it’s now and not later, maybe?

Releasing all of this in writing is painful yet it is needed for me to overcome and understand my life and what it has made me.

Overcoming PTSD started at the age of 27, I said to a crowded room that I am a carer, economically and socially underprivileged and abused by those I cared for, experienced homelessness and witnessed terrifying violence and people in my life leaving the world too soon.

It has taken me 17 years to say this aloud, to accept and acknowledge this is what I am, I know this sounds insignificantly small to some people but it meant that I no longer pretended to be someone else. Of course I was encouraged to speak out by a supportive group of people around me at the time, fallen in to a group so supportive by chance and destiny, I felt their openness about their own struggles pushed me to do the same.

That small act of acknowledging the fact that I am a carer, that this is what I have done for the majority of my life unleashed the power within me, the power which enabled me to overcome. I then started to talk about all the other things that made me.

Still the trauma attempts to attach it self to me sometimes, in different ways and places and sometimes in peoples faces and actions. Maybe these snippets of trauma are there to show me that I am not superhuman and yes we have complex minds which our very beings will never understand.

Life’s complex situations and experiences has taught me that your past will catch up with you. I would now give advice to my younger self, I would say to my self – take your time, relax, play and be silly, do not carry the burden of the world on your shoulders if you don’t want too and most importantly you don’t have to.

I just wish someone was there to tell me this, but nobody really did. I imagined they were and comforted myself in the ‘adult’s’ presence. I know now as an adult that I would not do what they did.

So now as I sit as a 28 year old thinking, why did they not help me? I realised the comfort I found as a child was imaginary and I no longer have a child’s imagination, therefore I am struggling to comfort myself. The counsellor said imagine your younger self hugging you. This helped me, but strangely I turned on my younger self and questioned her. Maybe this was the snippet of trauma seeping in again – low self esteem or confidence, or the inability to love my self.

I have always used faith and religiosity to attempt healing but this is not enough now. I have used strangers, friends and cliché techniques such as self care tasks to help my self. I have run that hot bath and I have watched that famous soap opera, eaten so much chocolate its made me sick and used nearly every new face mask on the scene.

What has really helped is a connection with people, relating to those who have suffered and overcome, having a listening ear, a sympathetic face and a hug. A walk with no anxieties about getting home on time and daily, weekly or even monthly tasks that push me ever so slightly into changing. I don’t need people to tell me what to do, I need people to hold my hand and tell me I am true, I am right and I will be better someday.

9th January 2017.

4 Innovative Benefits That Help Your Employees Thrive

Guest Blog post by Julie Morris

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With the right offerings, you can position your company as an employer of choice and may have an easier time attracting and retaining talent. Plus, great benefits set your employees up for personal and professional success, increasing their job satisfaction, boosting morale, and ultimately improving productivity.

If you are wondering which innovative benefits can help your employees thrive, here are a few worth offering. Also, make sure to visit Tea at Mine for more empowering content like this article!

4 Innovative Benefits That Help Your Employees Thrive

1. Comprehensive Coaching Options

Most professionals face tough choices on a regular basis. They may have doubts about their career path, questions about the best way to raise their children, concerns about their financial health, or fears that they haven’t discovered their true purpose.

By offering access to a variety of coaches, you can give your team a unique kind of support. They’ll be able to work with subject-matter experts as they work to find answers to the difficult questions that arise in a person’s personal and professional life.

If you aren’t sure what to bring to the table with this benefit, here are some different coaching types that you could offer:

2. Mental Health Support

Overall, 26 percent of American adults have symptoms relating to a mental health disorder. Additionally, many professionals face short-term hardships where they could benefit from professional support and guidance.

Even if your healthcare plan includes some mental health coverage, consider going the extra mile. Offer innovative options like mental health telemedicine services, allowing your team to have easier access to counselors.

Consider allowing support groups to meet in conferencing rooms during lunch breaks or immediately after shifts. Publish digital libraries with helpful mental health information, stress management tips, and similar resources.

By using those approaches, you can give your employees more options for supporting their mental health. As a result, they’ll be more likely to reach out when the need arises.

3. Social Wellness

Social wellness isn’t on most companies’ radars. However, social connections are a critical part of life. After all, people are inherently social creatures. When employees have meaningful relationships in their personal and professional lives, each day is more satisfying overall.

By offering benefits that focus on social wellness, you can facilitate connections among your employees. Monthly lunches or dinners where you don’t spend your time talking about work could be a great place to start. Team-building trips could be another solid option, as well as regular employee appreciation events that encourage mingling.

Allowing for a little social use of company communication resources could also be a wise move. Whether it’s designating channels in your collaboration software for casual conversation or allowing for non-work-related email exchanges, giving your employees space to talk can make a big difference.

4. Time to Volunteer

Many employees have causes that they care about deeply. By offering them paid time off to volunteer for an organization of their choosing, you’re allowing them a chance to make a difference in a way that matters to them.

The volunteer work itself can be incredibly rewarding. However, knowing that their employer is supporting their charitable endeavors makes it all more meaningful. Not only will they feel good about their volunteer efforts, but they’ll also have a more positive opinion of their employer, leading to higher job satisfaction, engagement, and more.

Image via Pexels

You can check out Julie’s work here http://juliemorris.org/

Cultural Mother

You said to be free
So you made me strong
Yet you keep me under your thumb

It’s a heavy thumb
It’s sharp and bumpy
And it hurts me

Like a rose with thorns
I’m pushing through
People can see my beautiful colour on the outside

But you see ugly 
And shame

I try my best to be powerful
To show the world that the freedom you bestowed me with
Is true and real

Beautiful mother believe me there is no shame in bieng me and you

But your culture seeps in
In unreal and unfamiliar language
You shout and curse at me

Maybe it’s not you its the Jinn
You are kind
And once you were the rose
You were free and happy

But you were not under the thumb for so long like me

Please understand
That I am far gone
And the damage is done

Your culture has broken the head of the rose and left the thorns
For me to walk on

With you my mother

Side to side we walk on thorns
If only you weren’t a cultural mother
My world would be a sea of calm.


I grew up in a full household, grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins, neighbours were forever at ours. It was loud and busy everyday. I was brought up by different hands and cultures and languages. At the time it was fun, it was always a party when people came from Halifax, Huddersfield and London to stay over or to have dinner. My grandmother’s friends grandchildren became my friends. Their parents were my parents friends. It was a family affair but we weren’t family.

There came a time when we all lived separately, but still came together. As we got older and through the years people got old, ill and died. With every death the closeness with other families disappeared and became fragmented. My heart felt uneasy, something was missing.

I have a vivid memory of waking up, alone in the attic, scared and confused I ran down 2 floors, heard the commotion of people sat together and chatting, threw myself onto the floor and banged my hands and feet so they could hear my screams. I was throwing a tantrum. Why? Because I was left out. I got scolded and till this day I don’t know if it was genuine fear of being alone in a very quiet space or being left out of adult conversation and the ‘fun’ they were having from what I gathered.

Being alone was equated as lonely and not fun when I was growing up. As I grew older we spent less time at my grandmothers, the nuclear family grew and there was no space for everyone. I mean this in a mental sense not physical. It felt as though there was enough people in the party now and we weren’t always invited. I lost contact with my grandmothers friends and their grandaughters. My mother became isolated and we stopped visiting people including my grandmother.

When my grandmother died, her death was the welcoming of the final thread of friendship and connnections snapping. She went too soon and her friends still lived and still do.

In 2020 my grandfather died 20 years exactly after my grandmother. At his funeral I saw all the old faces, and apparently I have not changed. I still hold that same anxious but smiley face. I felt the warmth of some of my grandparents friends and the coldness. Where had they all gone, and why did they not keep the connection with us. I felt uneasy, angry and sad. I felt that they could have done more for my mother, but it appeared that once my grandmother left they had no reason to stay in touch.

That togetherness was so important to me when I was young, it’s made me who I am. But its also brought fear of loss and loneliness and pangs of anxiety when ‘its too quiet’. I need people around me, the need to feel a part of something or a part of a group.

I don’t know how to be on my own. I wonder if this is the case with other people, do they miss being together when it stops or do they just not realise.

I studied sociology and psychology and I read that there is a deterioration in western society of nuclear families and for example of being part of a culture that needs grandparents, aunties and uncles to always be there, central in decision making all your life.

There is an emphasis on self care, that I have also employed and on being part of a group, something you share in common, but I feel this is always seperate from family and friends and neighbours.

I see being together more deeper, I feel they are connections that have lived a  lifetime, lived with you and for you and breathed the same experiences at the same time. I see this when new groups of migrants and immigrants come to England. They have a togetherness that is different to what I see in my life now.

My grandparents friends were people who they shared the plane with on their journey from India and Pakistan the first time. They needed to be together in order to live at that time. This is something I won’t experience now, but I am so glad I have seen it in my lifetime and I can see it continue in the same way with new waves of migrants.

As the saying goes every little helps..

Amidst a universal pandemic I have found it incredibly hard to help. I have put away the NHS letter asking me I have 90 days to update my training. I am struggling to email or contact them. I am only a bank worker but I have this sense of duty, like I must help out. The fact is I am also working from home full time.

I have tried to support vulnerable people in the community by signing up to delivering parcels to people stuck at home who are shielding or have no access to food without fighting the ques and spending lots of money just to get to the supermarket to find there is nothing left for them all whilst leaning on their zimmer frame.

I did one delivery, it absolutely exhausted me.

I was added to a Facebook page where people can help each other or post information, I added a friend who had been looking for hand sanitiser that she normally uses for her disabled child who uses aids and equipment to eat – these regularly need cleaning. As people became selfish there was non left for her any where and some idiots on the internet decided to sell these at extortionate prices.

Hers was the first post, and she got an instant reply from someone who makes them and could do this for her! I felt super good. I decided that from now on my role will be to be helpful in the little ways like this.

But I could not resist. I can imagine if this was a physical war, I am one to sacrifice my self.

I ended up signing up to a charity that was one of the first to get up and running food parcels for the vulnerable. I agreed to be on the rota on Friday afternoons. So it came to Friday afternoon and NHS COVID Response flashed on my phone. Dubious I still answered the phone, the lady said I have to shield as I am EXTREMELY VULNERABLE.

My reply was, ‘I am not’.

She said ‘did your Consultant Rheumatologist send you a letter about shielding?’

‘yes, but I read it carefully and if I did not take the steroids or other medication listed I was OK’

‘no, you still need to shield because I may need that medication anytime’.

Now at this point, yes my knees have been killing me, my ankles are killing me, in fact my legs are just a pain. How did she know. She did not know that I was never to take medication for these, since the Ibroprofen Retard messed my liver up last year. My consultant said I can call him for the medication whenever I needed them, to be honest I have been trying to loose weight to help my self, with no luck may I add.

Anyway, I said OK to get her off the phone, and thanked her for calling of course. I was worried and panicked nonetheless. I messaged the group chat about shielding and that I cannot do the planned deliveries. I got no reply or support. A friend on the group later messaged me to ask how I was. I noticed others offered to do the deliveries instead of me, I felt shit.

A few days later I asked my Dr about shielding, she confirmed I did not have to. However I decided I wont do any deliveries. I am struggling with demands of my mental and physical health, I have had flashbacks and disassociating behaviours.  My caring duties at home as well as working from home has not been helpful.

It is hard for me to say no and not find things to do. I have realised in the midst of this pandemic that I want to do more and more than I physically and mentally can to avert anxiety and low mood. However it back fires and I crash. This is also the case in my day to day life without a pandemic. It is hard to give this up so I am using this time to practise being kind to myself and rest. I spoke to Anaesthetics Dr on Friday 1st May, he confirmed I had no Sleep Apnea, however my sleeping and breathing patterns could be better.

So I have brought many plants and funky items for my home and garden from businesses that are struggling and this makes me feel like I am helping in some little way. I also still volunteer for an arts festival (virtually), I created a survey a couple of days ago to go out to artists and members. Basically I have been cupid for the arts world, connecting two organisations, that is a recovery college and a theatre company. They have both been instrumental in motivating me, and allowing me to immerse my self into the arts world and into my art again.

So I picked up and delivered some art packs to the tutor for my friends at the college who are more vulnerable than me, these were made by the theatre company. Now the two companies may work together around the shared interest of supporting people who have mental ill health and are isolated.

I have reminded my self that every little helps, I don’t have to go all out before I hurt myself.

Below are a some pictures of my purchases that made me happy and that supported local businesses, also the art packs, there was more on the front seat!

Stay safe everyone!

A quirky bird feeder from The Kindred bizarre https://www.facebook.com/The-Kindred-Bizzare-279244796358886/
Art packs from Blooming Buds Theatre Company for the Recovery College.

Plants from Plant One On Me Cafe. They can be found her https://www.plantoneonmeyorkshire.com/  and here https://www.instagram.com/plantoneonmeyorkshire/

In the Time of Pandemic

I had to google the author of this poem. I wish people would do their research before sharing.


And the people stayed home.

And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without Catherine O’Meara’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s…

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Just a thought.

A visual representation of what my thoughts look like to me. Picture taken in Moray Firth, Scotland 


I thought a strange thought – when you marry and have children, have a home and have your own freedom, what happens when the home becomes a house and the people become just people, almost strangers.

Can you dream more or do the dreams end? 

I mean the dreams you have in broad daylight, wide eyed, with no interruptions. You know that day dream, the pure joy and indulgence that you feel satisfying your desires by just dreaming. Sometimes I wonder what my mother dreams now she has adults in the home and no children.

Can you go back?

I mean is there room to move forward? Are the dreams restricted to a change of scenery, a new dress or a change of wallpaper? I’m just thinking a thought…. what is the worth of becoming a mother. Maybe I’m thinking too much. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched that movie last night. 


I should have made a note of what movie I was watching to prompt such thought. My thoughts on motherhood continue.


May Day

selective focus photography of left hand on top of right hand on white pants
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

She was a quiet lady, but enjoyed the war songs and the tea and cake. She was of course well known, possibly not for her personality or character but her name. 

Sammy came upstairs to the office for some coloured paper, and said May Day is here. I looked at her a little confused and she said oh it’s our service user. Another colleague said why would you call your daughter May Day, I said it was a nice name actually but it conjure up other things in my mind.

She was not fully sure why she was called May Day, Day being her last name, and I don’t think she was married. She was born just as the war started, surely her parents must not have named her after a war time distress call. I thought to myself at least she was not May Day all the time, just May. She must have been bullied at school I told Sammy, what do you think I asked, she didn’t think much of it and went back to the day centre.

I knew another May and maybe that was why I like it so much, me and my siblings and the whole family in fact, children and adults called our grandmother May, lovingly, she liked it but we are not fully sure who came up with this nickname. 

When I would meet my cousins once in a blue moon and whom are scattered across the country, we would talk about May. They always ask me why we called her May and not nana. They just called her grandma. I thought that was boring, common and definitely not as sweet as May but they saw her a lot less than I did, so they would have a standard name for her I guess.

Growing up May Day was just another day off, playing on the streets. May always gave us 20p to buy ice cream from Mr Frosties Ice cream Van. Sometimes as everyone was off work we would go out on a day trip and our uncle would spend a pound on one ice cream, we thought the ice cream must have been extra special because it costs more. He spent a lot of money on 6 children and 5 adults.

Over the years the novelty has worn out, buying an ice cream for a ridiculous amount does not feel worth it, especially when certain family members are causing a scene shouting “it’s too expensive, we can buy a tub from morrisons”. 

I do always wonder what the weather will be like on May Day, whether it’s worth a trip to Blackpool or Scarborough. Sometimes I’ve worked on this day, or just slept in. 

Working is a little more fun when I went to the care home, it always reminds me of May, the warm homely feeling. The quiet afternoon with an old cowboy movie and sometimes the celebrations of spring are the focus on May Day. I have seen Morris dancers entertain residents, picnics in the care homes small garden and sometimes we even took people to the pub.

I found elderly people are no longer worried about the social and economic status of the world and what May Day may represent for some people nowadays.

They are worried about getting out of the arm chair and not falling flat on their face. They are content at times that they don’t have to worry about the fees for the care home and shopping for bread and milk. 

But some elderly men in the care home would tell me stories of horrible working conditions, how they have struggled and how things are so much better. This matches my Mays stories and my grandfathers, whom we call Dajee. 

May and Dajee had to work when they moved here  May worked in a sewing factory and I can’t remember what my grandfather did, but he always had dirty oily hands possibly from working with machinery in a factory. It felt to me that May was more hard working, she was well known for her sewing skills and used to make all sorts, wedding dresses, jeans, bags, curtains the lot, she even bought a ridiculously heavy factory sewing machine and it lived in the family home up until recently. 

My father, his brothers and sisters grew up quick enough to let them rest before they turned 60. In the end it feels we are all destined to work and work until its the next person’s duty to take the burden, for some it comes earlier than expected, for some it never ends, for some they never taste the sweetness of a hard day’s work.  

I like to celebrate May Day as a day of welcoming the changes to the season, although it feels the weather changes everyday. I also like to think of all the hard working people like my May and sometimes I wish I asked May Day a bit more about the origins of her name.

May Day 2019


close up photo of boy s face
Photo by Aa Dil on Pexels.com

He stands, feet solid, a man, a boy, boisterous and what seems arrogant, disrespectful. Shouting and causing a scene is so easy when you are boy, if only they saw and knew, felt pain and felt sad.

I realised when I met him, not through the scars or the obvious self-inflicted abuse but through the intricate figurines on the mantelpiece, a man and women hold hands, a child at their feet looking up, fine colours and smiles painted to evoke memories and belonging. I wondered who gifted this to him. A few cards were decorating his windowsill, Christmas and birthday cards, one with yellowed edges, creased and folded was wedged between two Christmas cards.   

I picked this up to straighten it and find it a place of its own, it had a lovely picture on the front of a vase with flowers sitting on a windowsill of a cottage in a far away place, I read the inside of the card, it said,

“To mum, you are always in my thoughts, I miss you very much and love you dearly. Happy birthday. Love you always and forever”

I wondered why it was in his room, did he forget to send it, was it something he salvaged from his mother’s home, long gone.

Then I turn and find a photograph in a shiny silver frame, its old, I picked up the picture and studied the boy, he is young, with dark hair that has been permed at the top, brown flared trousers and a mustard shirt with a red stripe running through the middle and across the sleeves. The boy has one arm around a women, older, dark hair also in a perm, she is laughing at the camera, one arm on her hip and the other holding the boy close to her. 

He looked happy, I concluded the women was his mother. I wondered what the occasion was, the picture did not give me any signs as they were both stood on grass, no trees, no other person, or buildings, just the blue sky, just them two – happy.

I wipe a tear as I put the picture down on the bedside table, he looked so happy and fine, just smiling a smile a son smiles when his mum is near. I thought to myself, warm and cosy never lasts and a picture hides a thousand pasts. 

His mother had a thousand dreams for her son, I knew before I entered his room that he was no use. Thrown out by society, no family, no friends, just drug dealers keeping him up in the night and care workers filled his hours with questions of the night before in the day.

I finished cleaning his room, it was immaculate anyway, he found me in his room, unplugging the hoover, he asked me to leave it and that he does not like people touching his stuff. I leave and a staff member tells me that he is back early today – its 7.30 AM, he is high on god knows what. 

We hear a bang and he shouts, screams and throws items around his room. We check on him and he is lying on his bed, we crouch and touch him, gently, ask him if he is OK. All the residents here can come and go as they please, he is the youngest at 55, he is dressed in track suit and cap, he looks 25. The drugs have not harmed his skin yet, that may come later. He talks like a 25-year-old, and says “i’ll be right, ta loves, can I have a bacon sandwich please”. We left him to his self, he smashes something else behind us but we know he is OK.

I realised when I met him, you are just a boy who never grew or expressed himself. The drugs help I guess. At the end of the day you are just a body being cared for, I couldn’t tell if the drugs were working at this stage in his life but he no longer beats women up. His mother does not visit anymore, I felt a sadness for him. 

Those with hardened hearts will say, what was the point of acting hard and causing a scene, we are not scared of you screaming now that you are not the hard man, just a body being cared for.

I felt sadness.

He cannot stand solid on his feet no more, he feels pain and numbs it with whatever he can find on the streets, disrespecting himself. Causing damage to your self I thought is so easy, if only others saw and knew, felt pain and felt sad, maybe they could help you.

24th September 2016