Category: Social exclusion

The countdown is on. From April Fool’s Day 2017, Shropshire Council is predicting that it will no longer be able to fund youth services in the county. Even if it can find money, it will not be enough to fund youth support at the level we are used to or that we need. The future of Ludlow Youth Centre remains uncertain. We want it to be transferred to community ownership to keep it safe for future generations. But we worry that Shropshire Council is planning to move yet move staff into the building, making it more of an office and less of a youth hub. We need the squatters out so that it can become a dedicated youth centre again. Money and bricks and mortar are not the only issues we face.

It’s shocking and wrong that so many people rely on food banks – but you can help

It’s an ugly truth of our sometimes ugly age. Acccording to the Trussell Trust, the number of people making use of its 400 food banks has topped one million (but see this cricisim of the 1 million figure, its perhaps only half a million people a year). I can’t find any data on the total number of food banks in the UK. A lot are run by voluntary organisations, including here in Ludlow. So the number of people in desperate need of food is well over half a million. And yet, the IMF says we are the fifth largest economy in the world. Five years ago, none of us would have expected the need for food banks to have grown so quickly.

He left Ludlow to find help elsewhere. Why can’t we help homelessness people in Shropshire?

I’m struggling today. It was a day of beauty in the way people reacted. But the ugly hand of bureaucracy soured everything. T has been here a couple of days. He was rough sleeping. During the day he sat outside Holland and Barretts on Broad Street. I have been buried in work and hadn’t been to town for a couple of days. I was alerted to his predicament this morning. This afternoon I went to see him and to ask if I could help. We got on really well. I found a really nice gentle man who had fallen out of normal life. He has a military background. He said he mourns the death of his parents. He told me his wife had recently died in horrendous circumstances. It was very clear to me that this good man had mental health issues.

We already struggle with mobile phone signals across much of the south of the county. Fast broadband doesn’t get much beyond the towns and larger villages. Now, South Shropshire is set to lose out on improved digital radio reception. The government has issued plans for upgrading DAB (digital audio broadcasting) transmitters around the country. The idea is that DAB coverage around the country will eventually match that of FM, allowing the government to achieve its long delayed ambition to turn off the FM signal (see this Guardian briefing on DAB). BBC Radio Shropshire is broadcast over transmitters owned and maintained by Free Radio. Free has no FM repeaters in south Shropshire. This means that the existing FM repeaters that relay BBC Radio Shropshire to the Clee and Ludlow area, and to Clun and southwest Shropshire, will not be replaced or upgraded to deliver DAB under the government’s upgrade plan.

How many people are homeless in Shropshire? Shropshire Council answers my questions

As you know, I have been working on housing issues in Ludlow, including homelessness. Next Thursday (18 December), I am will ask a question at Shropshire Council main council meeting on homelessness. The council yesterday published its answer to the question (see below). A few points strike me immediately. Rough sleepers. The estimate of rough sleepers, ten, seems rather low. But it is difficult to estimate this number (see this guide). Cold weather shelter. It is welcome that Shropshire Council is committed to provide temporary accommodation to anyone whom is known to be rough sleeping within Shropshire. This will be available from 15 December until end of February (longer if it’s a severe winter). Emergency accommodation will also be in place if the Met Office predicts the temperature will drop below zero degrees Celsius for three consecutive nights.

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