PRESS RELEASE: Response to fierce reaction on @worcesternews from public about closure of night shelter in Worcester tonight (30th Dec 2016)

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PRESS RELEASE ON WEBSITE – 18.45 BST 30/12/16

It has been reported in the Worcester News today that the emergency night shelter which has been activated since Boxing Day is closing tonight, due to the temperature rising above 0 degrees.

Since the Worcester News announced this (on Facebook), we have been watching extremely closely the reaction from the public about this issue. It is clear that the public are angry and upset about why rough sleepers should be subjected to the cold weather when they have been sheltered from it previously. We’d like to side with the public on this matter, however also educate them in why it is not activated tonight;

The temperature is not forecast low enough to deem the Local Authority (Worcester City Council) to open the emergency provision tonight. Since 2015, the Council has moved to a ‘pop-up’ homeless shelter option over the winter months instead of the 14 week sustained night assessment centre. Hugo’s Earthquake feel like this is not the best option for rough sleepers, however as the money for homeless services has been reducing since before 2015, this is now the option we are left with.

A Campaign spokesperson stated the following:

“We understand the frustration from the public about this closure and to some extent we share this frustration. However we would like to reassure the public that shelter for the homeless will be pushed heavily by the Campaign at the new Worcester Homeless Forum being set up in January. Hugo’s Earthquake doesn’t want any rough sleeper to risk their life on the street if they have a safer option, and we will be working towards this goal in the coming months.”

It has been announced that the Night Shelter WILL BE OPEN on the evening of New Year’s Day (01/01/17) at Magg’s Day Centre.


RELEASED BY PRESS OFFICE – press@hugosearthquake.org

Christmas Message 2016 from @HugoSugg, as seen in @WorcesterObs:

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CHRISTMAS is a time where people shift their thinking away from their work and look more towards humanity as a whole.

Homelessness, lonely children and being with family are really thought about around this time of year.

The homeless are some of the most unfortunate at this time of year because they are not only baring the cold weather and the ever societal rejection but often have no family to spend time with. It can be isolating and extremely challenging to survive Christmas without having a stable support structure around you.

Being a homeless campaigner, it will come as no surprise to you that I am focussing on these people and how we together can best support them. If you’re willing to do your bit, asking homeless people what food or drink they would like and reporting them on the StreetLink service is enough to help.
If you are able to offer a room for them, that can also help – but it won’t solve their complex issues because they need professional help.

A list of services in Worcestershire to support the homeless will be [available soon] on the front page of Hugo’s Earthquake website (hugosugg.wordpress.com) and I encourage everyone to take note of the information on there.

I bid you the merriest of Christmases and a pleasant New Year, but remember homelessness isn’t just a Christmas issue.

If you have a spare resolution to make for 2017, please help curb our growing homeless problem.

Hugo Sugg

Founder of Hugo’s Earthquake

 

Thank you to Worcester Observer for publishing this in their paper and on their website.

Statement: Support from @WalkerWorcester for Homeless Forum, and discussions around lessons from Cardon’s death

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Spoken to @WalkerWorcester (Worcester MP) just, very supportive of Homeless Forum. Also believes WSAB is not place for Cardon inquiry. However the Homeless Forum would be the place where lessons can be learnt without the need of County Council involvement, about a City issue.
This is a very good point and listened too. I have stated what is crucial though is people in the City Council, Politicians and Officers, should be held accountable for the decisions made which attributed to Cardon’s tragic situation.

The Homeless Forum will be successful, especially with Robin Walker’s backing. Work on that will start in January 2017 with St Paul’s and others.

Hugo Sugg

16.30 BST 22nd December 2016

WORCESTER HOMELESS FORUM PROGRESS: Co-ordination of services

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Myself and @StPaulsHostel Chief Executive, Jonathan Sutton, have agreed that Hugo’s Earthquake and the Hostel will be working on setting up a forum to strategise and co-ordinate services affecting the homeless in Worcester from January 2017.

This group won’t solve all the issues at once, but what it will do is help group people together and allow for more working together.

Jonathan and I have agreed that we take charge of the creation of this group, and invite organisations to join. Working together is better than working alone, and there is a clear outcome for this Forum that we can see:

Services working together, being accountable and doing the best for the people in the community who are either vulnerable/in need now, or will be in the future.

We will be agreeing with Worcester City Council that they have a role to play in this Forum, but not solely lead it.

The Terms of Reference will be looked at thoroughly in January and Hugo’s Earthquake will be working extremely closely with St. Paul’s to ensure this group happens quickly and efficiently.

Thank you to Jonathan Sutton for agreeing to help take on the Forum which the Earthquake campaigned for in December 2015.

We can now all start looking in a new direction: Working for the vulnerable, in a joined up way.
Let’s create a Worcester Benchmark to co-ordination of homeless services, and set the standard for the rest of the UK.

More news on this in January, but meanwhile we celebrate this achievement.

#JusticeForCardon BREAKING NEWS: Official Appeal timeline

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At 14.45 BST it was formally announced on Twitter the official Appeal against the decision not to investigate Cardon Banfield’s death will be started tonight.

Please offer your thoughts on #JusticeForCardon by emailing hugo@hugosearthquake.org or Tweeting @HugosEarthquake.

 

Nina Warrington’s Homeless Forum commitment from @myworcester City Council:

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This commitment was made in early December 2015. Over a year later, only a Terms of Reference has been drafted but I wasn’t even consulted with.

@myworcester Housing Manager Nina Warrington is directly accountable for not progressing with this.

If the Forum was set up, more joined up services might have been enough to save Cardon from ROTTING and DECOMPOSING on the side of the river in Worcester.

There needs to be #JusticeForCardon. Please help get it – sign and share this petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/make-worcestershire-safeguard-board-investigate-cardon-s-death.

Email sent to David Blake, Head of Place at Worcester City Council (@myworcester)

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6.25pm 20th December 2016 from Hugo Sugg <hugo@hugosearthquake.org>
Dear David,
I write you this email to raise your attention to the fact I have received no response to a perfectly valid email from me to your Housing Manager, Nina Warrington in regards to the Homeless Forum.
As mentioned in the email below, Nina agreed with me last December and committed Worcester City Council to creating a Homeless Forum. Since then, I have received nothing about the creation of this except it was sitting on Ben Bradley’s desk. I have been informed that draft Terms of Reference have been drawn up with the help of Jonathan Sutton, CEO St. Paul’s. These were not passed by me, although I was the one the commitment was made to. I have made a fresh call for the end of January 2017 for Nina to have a Forum meeting to discuss membership.
Firstly, I find this very evasive and undermines the trust I have in your Officers. Secondly, I find the lack of responses to emails from Nina disrespectful and like there is something to hide.
The Homeless Forum is something I campaigned for back in December 2015 after comments made in the “Scarfgate” incident to which the Council publicly apologised for. I find the lack of movement on creating the Forum leaves yourself up to the level of campaigning I have been undertaking.
Trust in the Civil Servants I pay my taxes to, and subsequently they take home through salary, has been severely eroded and I have no confidence in the Housing Department of the City Council.
In another email, which I shall forward to you, I have discovered that in the Worcestershire Homelessness Strategy 2012-2017 (Appendix 4) it states that keeping the Worcestershire LinkUp should be a ‘continued commitment’. This was decommissioned by Nina Warrington in 2014. I have asked her why, to no response.
Cardon Banfield died because of a reason we will never know, but we know he was left to rot, decompose and smell because there was no comprehensive Outreach Service to pick up Cardon. CCP hold the current contract for this, but by their own admission – did not pick up the whereabouts of Cardon.
The responsibility for the decommissioning of WHIT falls on the City Council and the person/people who made the action (including politicians). I’d like to know what other alternatives were looked in to before the decimation of this Service?
Ultimately, Cardon’s decomposing corpse not being discovered by an agency (especially a taxpayer-funded one contracted by Worcester City Council) but instead a member of the public, is one I will not stand for, and neither will others.
I will be launching an 3-pronged appeal to get this situation looked at and have already seemed advice from both Homeless Link and Crisis. I will be recommending the Review to look into the systematic failures which your department and Officers have carried out, dating back to 2012/13 when Cardon lived at the City’s YMCA.
In your Corporate Plan it clearly states “empowerment with accountability”. My view is I have seen only empowerment to make ill-informed, potentially fatal decisions by City Council Officers, but all responsibility disappeared when challenged or worse: A fatality happens.
Please let it be known that I will NOT stop until I get Justice for Cardon and people are held accountable through their official duties as Council Officers or Politicians, then disciplined accordingly.
This Campaign for Cardon to not die in vain will be very directive until the right thing is done – an apology and action taken to prevent it happening again.
After “Scarfgate”, the City Council published a public statement on their website (http://www.worcester.gov.uk/news-alerts/-/blogs/council-manager-apologises-for-comment-on-rough-sleepers?platform=hootsuite) which was welcomed. Calls for Nina’s sacking were made by others and not reinforced by myself.
The Council made a mistake then, and they have since made 2 crucial and fatal mistakes: No Homeless Forum and no comprehensive Outreach Service provision.
Please inform me when will an apology about these two bad decisions, and the subsequent lack of a £500,000 taxpayer-funded outsourced Council service finding a decomposing elderly gentleman be written and made on the Council website?
I will stop Cardon dying and rotting in vain, and I welcome any progress from you, Sheena Ramsey, Elected Members, Nina Warrington and her team. Local and national press have been informed, and the Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign Twitter Account and website has now been dedicated into getting answers and justification for actions by yourselves (including Elected Members), CCP and Maggs Day Centre.
To close this email, I’d like to take away the focus from yourself, Officers and Politicians and state one simple fact: Cardon Banfield was someone’s child. He was left to die by himself, rot, decompose and smell before he was discovered. No cause or time of death could be concluded and no identification could be made until much later.
Cardon lost his held dignity when he died in a tent but he lost everything bar a few personal items found next to him, when found in a state of decay.
I’d appreciate a swift response to this email, answering the concerns I have stated and what your next steps will be. In the meantime, I will not be toning down my fight to get justice.
A death in a tent cannot happen again in Worcestershire under any circumstances.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Regards,
Hugo Sugg

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Hugo Sugg
Director, Hugo’s Earthquake
An epicentre of homelessness awareness since November 2015.
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