OUR HEARTS ON OUR SLEEVE
Many people would say that it is better to "sweep bad news under the carpet."
We at jole rider do not believe in such a policy.
Instead, we have a philosophy of "sweeping bad news out with a new broom."
It is with this philosophy in mind that we have chosen to publish the following statements.
What people choose to make of the contents and the decisions they come to is entirely up to them.
For us, we believe in honesty and openness and by these rules we live.
Statement by the founders of the charity JOLE RIDER
As 2016 draws to a close, for the founders and Directors of jole rider, Helen King and David Swettenham, this year will always be remembered
as the year of our most acute test.
In our 10year history, we cannot recall a time when our resolve, our inner strength and our belief have been inwardly examined by us personally so deeply.
The attacks we have experienced this year, including again this month on the charity and our own integrity, have cut very deeply indeed.
We should perhaps have tougher skin, but alas we do not.
If it had not been for the words and actions of support by certain persons, this statement might now tell a different story.
It has been those close friends, partners and supporters of jole rider who know us to be genuine people, honest and true to our word, that have stopped us drawing a line and walking away.
Before progressing, it is important to state here again, as we have on our facebook pages, that the Directors and the charity have nothing whatsoever
to hide or to feel guilty about.
Further, there is little the Directors or the charity would have done differently if time were rolled back to be rerun.
The only exceptions to this being the engaging of certain personnel, the actions of whom over the last 10months or more have given cause for the publishing of this statement.
2. OUR GOALS
3. FIRST PERSON WITH INTENTION TO HARM JOLE RIDER
4. SECOND PERSON WITH THE SAME INTENTION
5. GOING FORWARD INTO 2017
6. Appendix: ANSWERS TO RECENT QUESTIONS RAISED
In the 10years of delivering the programme Bikes4Africa through the registered charity jole rider, many good things have been achieved.
Things clearly which could never have been achieved without the involvement of key people and supporting organisations.
These of course include, the volunteers of jole rider over the years, the long serving partners and, not least, the financial supporters and sponsors of the charity.
It is with the involvement of these people that jole rider has delivered almost 14,000 refurbished bicycles to needy children in Africa - desperate to
progress in life equipped with a school education.
But, it is not just those 14,000 children we have helped through our intervention.
To quote the Gambian government, each bike positively affects at least 10 other children in each school where the bikes are placed, due to
the way the programme has been conceived and operates.
So knowing this to be true, somewhere in excess of 140,000 children have been positively affected by our Bikes4Africa programme.
Additionally, only a few of these bikes have actually been refurbished by jole rider personnel.
A large number have been refurbished with the involvement of organisations caring for mentally or physically challenged people.
It has always been abundantly obvious that these persons enjoy, if not love, the work they contribute to, achieving a sense of pride
in the positive effect they generate for themselves and for others.
And they aren’t the only ones.
The majority of the bikes delivered to schools in Africa have been refurbished by prison inmates across the UK and, in more recent years, Ireland also.
These prisoners have contributed to our global society in a way that was quite unimaginable to them before they volunteered to work in a prison bike workshop for jole rider.
Whilst they are all different individuals, the positive effect the programme has had on many has been marked, profound and life lasting.
The men who have served their time, and are now back in mainstream society, can also reflect on what they have done to put something back.
Many men in prison can point to their teenage years when they bunked off school, or were excluded from school, as the root cause of their following a less than positive path in life.
It has always struck a chord with us, that these same people realise the value of education, education which they either shunned, or were prevented from finishing, but is so desperately needed by children in remote parts of Africa.
Not only that, it is a good thing that those who are also dads can now fix their own children’s bikes with a sense of pride and achievement as a result of learning new skills and working in a prison bike workshop for jole rider.
The positive effects will clearly have gone wider but what we describe above are the most obvious effects of what we do and continue to do.
The journey of jole rider and the Bikes4Africa programme was always going to be long, perhaps even long and arduous.
10years on, given what we know and have learned, we can say we have reached the end of the beginning of that journey.
Our goals, short, medium and long term remain in clear view to us. The achievement of our goals has however been seriously affected by a number of factors.
Chief among these is the disastrous involvement of Nick Howell who was retained to assist the charity in its development in order to expand its reach and capability.
As a result, all our major goals have been put back by a minimum of 12months.
This fact is unbelievably sad of course but it wasn’t our plan or intention.
We are disappointed beyond imagination as one might expect, but the real tragedy lies with those we seek to help in different ways.
Their help has been postponed by 12months at least.
For us, we pick up from where we can and go forward to achieve the goals we have set.
And our near future goals include:
• Recommencing the delivery of Bikes4Africa
• Opening a second destination for our bikes in Africa
• Strengthening our existing partnerships in the near term
• Expanding the involvement of those partners for the future
• Making new partnerships across a wider spectrum of business
• Securing new sources of bicycles to feed an expanding programme
• Leading again our school trips for students to experience real Africa
• Launching education and skills centred activities at The Bike Shed
• Developing The Bike Shed into a most unique centre and venue
• Expanding our objectives with the brand Charity Bike Rides
• Relaunching the Bike Skills Academy and its complementing mission
• Pursuing the projects forming part of our self-supporting framework
THE FIRST PERSON WITH INTENTION TO HARM JOLE RIDER
Business personnel coach at Abintus Ltd in Stroud, Nick Howell was appointed as a contractor to help develop jole rider’s reach and capability.
For reasons we are at a loss to comprehend, Nick Howell has acted in a destructive way towards jole rider and its work, causing this most unsettling of years.
Nick Howell not only had a disastrous professional involvement with jole rider but, for over 10months since the termination of his contract, he has inflicted harm in devious ways and without reason we can understand.
His recent attack, on the charity’s own facebook page, is his latest work and suggests that he has no intention of ceasing.
As already stated, his motives are a complete mystery.
It is also odd that he should be so consumed by his actions against jole rider at a time when one might think he would be concentrating his time and effort on building his new fledgling coaching business.
Instead, Nick Howell has apparently been fixated on a mission to harm the charity for reasons only he knows.
We have published a full statement about Nick Howell and his continued strategy to inflict harm upon us, the founders, the charity jole rider and more importantly the work it strives to deliver.
And this is the gentleman…
Why would someone be motivated
Do please read the statement about Nick Howell as it not only describes more fully his destructive actions but also counters what he claims.
Nick Howell has been working in unison with a second person to deliver attacks on the charity.
Also by way of note, a third but lesser person connected with Nick Howell has similarly posted on the charity’s facebook page as a “Troll”
[an internet term - Meaning].
The Troll’s name is Martin Thompson and you can still view his posts on the charity’s pages.
THE SECOND PERSON WITH INTENTION TO HARM JOLE RIDER
The second person with malicious intent was also a part-time contractor for jole rider until the charity released him from his contract due to an inadequate level of workmanship.
A monetary claim against this person for stock taken remains outstanding and is subject of a court case.
For the moment we will simply identify him as a freelance bike engineer based in the vicinity of Wotton Under Edge in Gloucestershire.
His actions, although not so far reaching as Nick Howell’s, were aimed at spreading defamatory comments about the Directors personally rather than the charity itself.
This he has done in different ways, including by publishing a website he personally created for the sole purpose of causing malicious damage.
The brandjacking website [jolerider.co.uk] was UNpublished by the company hosting it, who took over control as they do in such Abuse cases.
A trace of his website is still today listed on google.
An open facebook review post by this person, with initials AK, posting as Dave Tosser [AK’s pseudonym], asked what David and Helen do with the monthly Jumble takings, suggesting of course the obvious.
A separate and full statement about this person’s actions will be made public, together with his full identity, if and when we deem it appropriate.
GOING FORWARD INTO 2017
The shipment of bikes to Africa is set to recommence again soon with a new second destination and our early target of delivering 15,000 bikes is expected to be achieved in this year.
It is a funny thing, but when bones are broken the effect of the healing process makes the repaired bones even stronger.
We feel the negative events of the last year have had a similar effect.
Standing as we do on the cusp of a New Year, we feel more energised now than at any time in the last 12months.
We sense we may have weathered the attacks, sustained the inevitable damage caused by two persons with questionable character and emerged intact on the other side.
With normality returning along with the most exciting of new opportunities
1. In Africa with new destinations for Bikes4Africa emerging strongly and others expected to follow behind in time
2. In the UK with new partnerships with prisons and schools opening up and, also in the UK
3. New partnerships opening with Rotary Clubs across a wider footing
we look forward to the New Year unfolding before us in a way we wouldn’t have imagined just a very short while ago.
To take full advantage of the opportunities, with a fixed eye on the charity’s goals, a number of significant developments are planned to unfold in the New Year.
Information about those developments will be made available through our increasingly busy media channels as well as via the charity website.
For the moment however, to all those persons who have confirmed their support for jole rider and Helen and David as Directors we say a simple THANK YOU.
Without your support in different ways this note might have read very differently this Christmas.
Your support has kept us in the game and now a whole lot of people are set to benefit from what jole rider delivers.
On a final note, what we as the founders have discovered about ourselves this year above all else is this.
If the writing is on the wall, we are willing to walk away from everything created and achieved to date, pursuing instead a selfish way of life
working for our own personal interests and only those interests.
Helen and David are not short of other pursuits and potential ambitions.
The founders though have for too long perhaps sacrificed opportunity, salary and security provision for themselves, preferring instead to invest their time and efforts in making a difference for people in the ways we have.
Honestly speaking however, we aren’t the kind of people to be selfish and that is probably our main weakness.
Some people reading this will know that all too clearly.
In summary then, we are willing to walk away, but do we wish to?
No, there is far too much we wish to make happen and to see achieved.
With a continued opportunity to do so, working with you and many others we truly look forward to the New Year with glee.
In this rather odd context, in this rather odd style, we wish all our believers a Very Merry Christmas indeed and a fulfilling New Year.
We look forward to seeing you all very soon.
Authored by: Helen King and David Swettenham
APPENDIX: ANSWERS TO RECENT QUESTIONS RAISED
In jole rider’s [16Dec16] posting about Nick Howell on its facebook page, we invited readers with any concerns to offer questions, saying we would welcome the opportunity to answer them on a public platform.
At the day of publishing we have received just two responses:
Steve suggested it might be a good idea to publish this statement, which we had referred to, at the time of the facebook post.
We would have agreed with him but this statement has only just been written.
Barnaby took an in-depth look at our previous submissions to the Charity Commission and asked questions relative to the following topics:
Appointment of additional Trustees
It has been a long term ambition to appoint additional members to the Board of Trustees in order to share the burden of managing the organisation.
The primary purpose then was to add another valuable dimension through the addition of other talents, experience and contacts.
In January 2016 the Directors believed they were close to achieving that ambition but, for a combination of reasons, in particular those described above,
the appointments were put on hold.
The Directors wanted to be sure that the effects of the past year were firmly in the past and not likely to taint the new appointments in any way.
At this point in time, jole rider is expecting to make 3 new appointments in January 2017.
jole rider is also planning a significant strategic development in the New Year which will involve further Trustees being appointed with direct responsibility for Bikes4Africa.
Unauthorised salary payments to the Directors
It was brought to the attention of the Directors in the last annual audit that the authorisation of salaries was not consistent with the charity’s adopted constitution.
Whilst the process of authorisation had not changed since salaries were first drawn some years ago, the Directors were not previously aware of
the infringement which came to light at the time of the December 2015 audit.
Since that time, the Directors have been in communication with the Charity Commission about permanently resolving the issue.
Resolution is expected to be achieved as a result of changes to a raft of constitutional issues which will become evident in the early months of 2017.
Along with the appointment of additional Trustees, a long held ambition of the Directors has been to publish fully detailed accounts.
Whilst the detailed information is available to the Directors, the time and expense burden of producing fully detailed published accounts, beyond the level to which the charity is obligated to do, has to date been considered too great.
There are good arguments, for and against, relative to this issue but the decision to date has been to save time and monetary expense.