This week's talking point is helping others. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
In what kind of situations do you help other people?
When do you receive help?
How good are you at accepting help?
Are you happy to accept it? Or do you feel it is a sign of weakness?
Have you ever been in a situation where your hands were tied and you felt frustrated because you couldn't help?
In what ways do you lend a helping hand to friends and family?
What kind of help from the government do you think is essential?
To what extent does your country have an infrastructure to help people in need?
Are some charities more worthwhile than others? Which type of charity appeals to you? Use these charities as a reference:
1 anti-gang culture
2 helping the elderly
4 homeless shelter
5 help for seriously ill young people
6 rehabilitation of wounded soldiers
7 animal rescue
8 children’s creative arts theatre
What would you be more willing to donate?
1 money to organisations
2 blood or an organ
3 clothes or furniture
4 your time as a volunteer
To illustrate the point you can watch the BBC video Suspended Coffee.
The idea of suspended coffees originated in Naples, in Italy, and it’s kind of grown worldwide. Suspended coffee is where someone buys a coffee for somebody else who is in need, which can be, they could be homeless, they could be really hard up on their luck or it could be collaborated in the refugee center down the road, and the coffee is already paid for. They just come in and ask for what they would like and it’s also can be carried off from there.
The people who donate can really vary. It can be business people who just grab a coffee on their way to work. It can be mums with young kids. We get a lot of our regular customers who donate regularly.
Can I have a double-shot latte, please and I’ll buy a suspended coffee as well.
I think the scheme is a good idea. We were asked about it as regulars, it’s not intrusive.
We have two ways of doing it, so we hand out cards to some of the local communities are around here, specifically their refugee project, we hand those out to service users who they think can benefit from having someone to come and get a coffee.
May I take a suspended coffee?
And then there are the ones who come in and book in so we have a tally on the wall of how many bookings we have available to someone coming off the street and just say, ‘I’ve heard about suspended coffee, can I have one?’
Would it be possible to have a suspended coffee, please?
Of course one minute.
I’m not getting a lot of money myself at the moment, so there are times when you need a coffee or you want a coffee and just don’t have enough money to get one, and it’s always a place like this you can go and get one thanks to the generosity of other people. It’s good for the community, just ask people to come out with themselves a bit, maybe you’re not stuck in your own little world, and you’re not staring in the same four walls all the time. If I was stuck in the house all day 24/7 I’d be going crazy, and now I can come up here and that makes things a lot easier.
This is more of a local scheme. This is sort of a community café, so I know the people here, they know me. I know the person who runs the asylum project, the renewal programme. I trust everybody. You see your contribution actually working in a direct and local way rather than going off to some international charity.
There are a lot of people who say, oh, you know, this is business making money. Yes, we do profit from it but at the end of the day that profit is always going into building the community. We trust our customers, our customers trust us and I think it’s a really good way of embracing the community’s spirit and for people to feel good.