The front page story on the cover of the Weekend section of The Times was Child Bloggers. Inside a two page spread and a centrefold picture of the child bloggers.
A diverse range of topics, fashion, politics, football, food.
Martha Payne aka Veg with her blog NeverSeconds writes on food. When she started her blog she expected family and friends to read NeverSeconds. It was quite a surprise to find the next morning 25,000 hits. She has had bully boys at her local council try to shut her down, these with the help of her friends and supporters she has seen off, an endorsement by Jamie Oliver, interview on the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme, nominated for a Great Scot Award, has raised over £110,000 for a food kitchen in Malawi called Friends of NeverSeconds, in September she plans to visit Malawi for the inauguration of Friends of Never Seconds and from where she will blog about Malawi. To date her blog has clocked up nearly 7.6 million hits and they are running at about one every couple of seconds.
Adults, especially teachers and parents, get worried when they see children achieving something. Will it not interfere with their school work? The simple answer, so long as school work is not neglected, is no, it is part of life’s learning process and they are usually life’s high achievers.
Practice makes perfect. We learn to write by writing, and by reading good literature.
Watch Jamie Oliver cook. He makes it so easy. It is as though he has some innate skill. He has been cooking since he was a child.
People who are good at something, be it cooking, music, writing, usually have a love of what they are doing.
Adults too often underestimate what children are capable of or patronise them.
When my niece Jessica was at primary school she wrote about being blind. She did not simply sit down and write, she went and interviewed a blind lady, she wore a blindfold to experience what it was to be blind. I think she also edited a school newspaper.
In the New Year I showed a young friend Alice how to set up a blog. We spent about an hour together. She went home and within a couple of hours had her blog alicemch up and running and had opened a twitter account to promote her blog.
How do these young bloggers cope with evil trolls and their abuse? Easy they recognise them for the pathetic individuals that they are and ignore them.
Unfortunately The Times article on the young bloggers is not available on-line as The Times is owned by the Murdoch Empire and a pay wall intervenes. It is not even possible to find it using google. I read the article in Waitrose but on principle refused to buy.
The web is a global common of information for all to pick from. We pay back by doing what Veg and the other young bloggers are doing.
The London 2012 Olympics, with Bradley Wiggins and Andy Murray winning Gold, with Team GB third in the medal table, has inspired many youngsters to follow suit. Even if only a walk in the park would be better than sat in front of a TV.
But look at the winners. A disproportionate are from public schools and private schools, not state schools. Nothing wrong with that, but where will the legacy be for state schools when the kids lack the facilities, when school playing fields are sold off to developers, when parks are sold off?
If we can get to Number Three in the medals table for London 2012 without the state sector, think what we can do in Rio 2016 if we give them the help and support they deserve.
Contrast Martha with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s as main sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics. With an epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, which these sponsors are helping to fuel, what message does it send out?
I have nominated Martha and NeverSeconds for the Food and Farming Awards, will you?
I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the Derek Cooper Award than Martha and NeverSeconds as a writer who has raised awareness of food, especially with children, and raised more than £100,000 for a food kitchen in Malawi for schoolchildren, to be called Friends of NeverSeconds.