Category: Social exclusion

I am in tears and really very angry after an abusive attack in the churchyard of St Laurence’s, Ludlow this lunchtime. I was talking to N. He’s the rather eccentric homeless gentleman you’ll see about town, especially in the churchyard. We were chatting about the medieval character of the town. Ludlow’s fairly new to him after he walked here from Oxford. It has taken a while to get a conversation with N going. I’m happy to chat to anyone, but I also have an agenda here. I want to find N help. But you need to be ready for help when you are rough sleeping and we have been talking about that. Beyond this, I can tell you no more other than I will seek help for him as soon as he is ready. This lunchtime, we were having a pleasant chat. We weren’t talking about his situation, just swapping…

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In a packed Methodist Church on Thursday night, Churches Together Around Ludlow launched their latest report on troubles facing Ludlow. The report gives great credit to the community volunteers who are working hard to mitigate the impact of cuts, but offered no support for Shropshire Council’s approach in hard times.

It was a private meeting so I can’t name the Tory councillor that asked: “Surely there are no poor people in Ludlow?” I suspect that she had never been beyond Mill Street [1]. Those of us that know this town intimately recognise that affluent people live cheek by jowl with people who struggle to make ends meet. That’s part of the character of the town. It’s a place where we have the wealth to keep our historic buildings in good order but also need to run a food bank. The seventh most deprived area in Shropshire is here in Ludlow, but other areas are rated as among the least deprived anywhere in England.

On Radio Shropshire earlier this week, portfolio holder Ann Hartley and Karen Bradshaw Director of children’s services announced changes to hikes in post-16 transport to sixth form and college. This follows a consultation which fairly predictably came out against the huge leap in fares. Shropshire Council had planned to hike the cost of a bus pass from £550 to £878 a year from September. Now it is going to phase the increase over three years. Following the consultation, students will have to pay £658 during the next academic year. That’s still an eye-watering hike of £324 a year, but it’s a lot better that Shropshire Council’s initial proposal. But over three years, the cost is set to hike 60%. For students whose families receive benefits, the costs of a pass will rise from £10 to £22.50 a term next year, increasing to £47.50 in 2016. This may not seem a…

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Bus Users Shropshire held a very successful meeting yesterday in Bridgnorth. Around forty people attended, many drawn from villages where the bus service is now minimal or non-existent. The meeting highlighted the substantial problems rural dwellers have faced since the withdrawal of the Shropshire Link service. We were reminded that prior to September 2008 the 141 Ludlow to Bridgnorth service ran four return trips a day. The 141 was one of the major casualties of Link. It now runs just once a day, allowing just 36 minutes in Bridgnorth before returning to Ludlow (1). And it no longer serves Ditton Priors. Several people from Ditton Priors attended the meeting. Since the cancellation of Link, the village is now only served by the pre-booked Bridgnorth Community Bus service. A young mother told the meeting that her children could no longer take part in school activities. Although she had received cancer-related medical…

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