Volunteering – it’s not as hard as you think

The European Year of Volunteering tour came to the UK last week, and took up residence in the Coin Street Community Centre. While there I spoke to Stephen Crocker, who ran the Leeds City Council initiative to have a Leeds Year of Volunteering in 2010. He tells me why he thinks more local councils and authorities should do the same in their area, to increase the appreciation of and involvement in volunteering.

Thanks to the tour event I’m now pursuing two very exciting volunteering activities, so thanks EYV!

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The costs of regulation

Came across an interesting article in today’s NY Times on whether product regulation is a cost to business. Some choice excerpts:

Unfortunately, they ignore a vital point: health and safety agencies rarely impose new costs on society when we issue safety regulations. We simply re-allocate who pays the costs.

Anyone who insists that regulations necessarily impose new costs on society shouldn’t be taken seriously. The costs are already there, in the form of deaths and injuries — and are often as much of a drag on our economy as any safety rule. So the real issue is who should bear the costs.

Not all regulation is bad, nor is it always more costly. And one of the ways to ensure that our safety rules are cost-effective is to use thoughtful cost-benefit analysis.

HT to Stefano Soro for finding the article.

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You can’t argue with these people

Our official office Twitter account has attracted some attention from people who don’t like the EU. Fair enough. However, I’m not going to engage with this level of debate:

@EUlondonrep I hate Barrosso! Who voted for the cunt? Answer:No one! How can we vote the cunt out? Answer: We can’t! EU = fascist state

@EUlondonrep = voice of the occupier. We will never surrender, never forgive and we will never forget. Fuck off, you’re not welcome here.

@EUlondonrep @derekvaughan we will never accept the occupation of Britain by EU SCUM.We will NEVER forgive, NEVER forget and NEVER surrender

@EUlondonrep we will never accept the occupation of Britain by EU SCUM. We will NEVER forgive, NEVER forget and we will NEVER surrender

Can’t help thinking someone needs a holiday…

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Social media for humanitarian change

I’m at an event today organised by the World Food Programme on Social media for humanitarian change. Some interesting speakers from the worlds of humanitarian assistance and social media. Hoping to hear about how people are using social media to affect change. If there’s anything exciting I will blog it, or you can also follow #sm4change on Twitter.

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The EU is not banning kids from blowing up balloons

Can I point out a few things?

1) The EU rules can regulate how things are put on the market, but not how they are used in the home. So they recommend supervision for use of balloons etc that children could choke on, but don’t ban children from using them.

2) 25000 British kids are taken to A&E every year after choking on something. I think doing something to try to reduce those numbers is to be commended.

3) The US has similar rules on toys that constitute a choking hazard.

4) There is no change in the rules – this requirement has existed since 1988.

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Off-topic: Well done Greenwich Council

It’s easy to take to Twitter or a blog when something is getting you down (you know who you are…Southeastern Rail) so I thought I would buck the trend by noting when something has gone right. I left my house yesterday morning (bin day in our street) to be confronted by clothes, shoes and bags strewn across the pavement – someone doing a little light fly-tipping. I went back in and went onto the Greenwich Council website and reported it via the online form. The automatic email I got said they would deal within 3 working days, but within 10 minutes I had a reply from someone saying they would send out a van to clear it away. When I went back outside I realised that whoever was responsible for the mess had also nicked one of my wheelie bins. Back inside, to call Greenwich Council and order a new one. All sorted, and he was very apologetic that it would take 2 weeks to get it to me. Within 15 minutes all was sorted, and when I got home last night, they had come by and taken away the mess. Good on you Greenwich. All that and weekly bin collections as well 🙂

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Blogguer dans une autre langue

Notre jour du blogging multilingue est là, et comme je suis encore une fois en voyage, j’ai invité mon collègue traducteur John d’écrire quelque-chose cette année. Voilà sa contribution, et vous trouverez aussi des autres contributions dans les commentaires des postes anterieurs.

I ddathlu’r Diwrnod Ewropeaidd ar gyfer Ieithoedd, rydym yn gobeithio bydd pobol o bob cwr Ewrop a thu hwnt yn cymryd rhan heddiw mewn yr ail Diwrnod Blogio Amlieithog. Fel Cymro, rhaid i mi ddechrau fy mlog i yn y Gymraeg. Ond mae’n rhaid cyfaddef nid ydywf wedi ysgrifennu llawer yn y Gymraeg esr gadael ysgol – digon o siarad wrth gwrs on dim llawer o ysgrifennu, felly ymddiheuraf nawr am unrhyw camgymeridadau. Yn ystod y deunaw blynedd diwethaf, rydw i wedi cael y cyfle i ddysgu sawl iaith yn y prifysgol a trwy fy ngwaith i fel cyfieithydd (yn gwiethio mewn i Saesneg a nid Cymraeg), ond pan roeddwn i yn byw ar y cyfandir, doedd dim teimlad yn debyg i gyrraedd adre a slipio nol mewn i’r Gymraeg a clywed yr hen iaith yn cael ei siarad o amgylch y dre. Gyda’r Cymraeg a’r Cymry mae fy nghalon wedi bod erioed.

Yo diría que mi gran aventura con el castellano comenzó cuando llegué a España por primera vez como estudiante Erasmus en los años noventa y, lamentablemente, dejé atrás a mi primera lengua extranjera, el francés. La lengua francesa llegó a ser la amante desdeñada por la que sigo sintiendo algo pero no sé exactamente qué: una mezcla de vergüenza, culpa y añoranza, por lo que fue y por lo que podría haber sido. Además, a través de mi historia con la lengua de Cervantes, Neruda, Almodóvar y Shakira, he conocido, flirteado y lo he pasado bien con el catalán y el portugués, pero siempre permanecí fiel a la lengua española, una lengua encantadora, con su jota, su erre y su zeta, tan parecidas a los sonidos de las letras ‘ch’ ‘r’ y ‘th’ en galés, pero capaces de producir palabras como juerga, corazón y zorro.

Moja relacja z językiem polskim przypomina natomiast zaaranżowane małżeństwo. Kiedy zacząłem pracować jako tłumacz w Komisji Europejskiej w kwietniu 2005, było to krótko po rozszerzeniu UE na wschód i zachęcano wszystkich tłumaczy w departamencie angielskim do uczenia się języków „nowych” krajów. Co za różnica, czy to język polski, czeski, słoweński czy węgierski? Wydawało mi się, że wszystkie są bardzo trudne. Mimo że nie potrafiłem zliczyć do pięciu, kiedy moje polskie koleżanki próbowały nauczyć mnie liczyć do dziesięciu – wymowa polska była niewiarygodnie trudna w prównaniu z językami romańskimi – za namową polskich kolegów i koleżanek, czy może raczej swatów i swatek, wybrałem polski. Moja relacja z językiem polskim to walka. Przypadki i deklinacja? To z pewnością potencjalne przyczyny rozwodu! Teraz mogę powiedzieć, że to co czuję to prawie miłość, nie wiem jednak czy to uczucie jest odwzajemnione. Język polski, podobnie jak Polki, które znam, jest bardzo wymagający! Mogę przynajmniej powiedzieć, że moja relacja z językiem polskim jest prostsza niż moja relacja z językiem litewskim – ta ostatnia to prawdziwy tragiczny romans! Ale to temat innego blogu.

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