Press Statement by @HugosEarthquake Campaign in response to not hold a SAR into Cardon Banfield’s death for 2nd time

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A second application for an Safeguarding Adults Review into Cardon Banfields death made on behalf of the Campaign has been rejected.

This was the unanimous decision of the members present at the meeting which include the organisations of Worcestershire County Council, Worcestershire Health & Care NHS Trust, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Maggs Day Centre, Rooftop Housing Group and other independent providers.

This decision was reached as it was felt that the criteria for an SAR was not met, a decision supported by the Independent Chair, Derek Benson.

It was reached on Thursday 23rd August to review evidence that had been submitted to them though they also considered the recent Worcester City Council Review.

Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign supports the current Government Policy (September 2018) of holding a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR) for every homeless death and encourage Mr Benson and the organisations which sit on the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board to reconsider and initiate a SAR into 74 year-old Mr Banfield’s death.

Hugo’s Earthquake Press Office | Statement released 20.09.18 13.45 BST

Written by Duncan Cushenan, Head of Press Office, PR and Communications

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STATEMENT MADE ON @BBCHW BY @HUGOSUGG ABOUT “LIFESTYLE CHOICE” COMMENTS

The following statement was made by #HugosEarthquake Founder and #JusticeForCardon Campaigner, Hugo Sugg, on BBC Hereford and Worcester at 17:20, 13/03/2018:

I think Mr Benson made his point clear in a private meeting. As the chair of two Safeguarding boards which protect vulnerable people – I don’t agree with the comments but we need to move away from them and ask is it this mindset that prevented the Safeguarding Board doing a SAR into the death of a 74 year old man who partially mummified by a tent 200m from the city Centre.

We know that Cardon WAS in touch with Services – both voluntary and statutory, and the Board even acknowledged he was self-neglecting. Under the Care Act 2014, was Cardon offered a care assessment? If yes, why has this not been gathered in evidence – if no, why was it not undertaken?

We need answers to these and other unanswered questions, and we need lessons to be learnt. My position is a Safeguarding Adults Review NEEDS to be undertaken into the death of Cardon and so we can stop this happening again as this should be based on fact rather than personal opinion.

PRESS RELEASE: @myworcester City Council decide to wait for ANOTHER homeless death before reviewing anything.

03/11/2017 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Earlier it was announced at a Healthwatch Worcestershire board meeting that Worcester City Council will not be carrying out a review of the death of Cardon Banfield. Nor a review in general about the state of homelessness and the safeguarding structure for those who are homeless.

The decision made was that a review would only be carried out if there was another death of a homeless person on the streets of Worcester. Meaning that as it stands if you are homeless in Worcester the structures provided by the City Council, will be remaining as they are with no prospective review in sight.

Hugo’s Earthquake is extremely disappointed by this decision that no review will be taken at all and no potential review is on the horizon. We find that it is of poor judgement that a review is contingent on the death of a second homeless person, as if a review was carried out now it could save that life.

In reaction to the news, our Spokesperson said: “The Campaign is outraged. Worcester City Council are basically saying “let’s wait until another rough sleeper dies before we tackle the problem”. The Council are working backwards”.

Hugo’s Earthquake urges the City Council and the members of the Council to undertake a review now and not to wait for a second death, as one death alone is a tragedy that should be investigated and learned from, there is no good reason to wait for the needless death of a second person.

We in fact urge for two reviews to take place, first and foremost one on the safeguarding measures and structures that are available to the homeless in Worcester and their effectiveness – secondly, a review on the criteria and thresholds which insitgate a review into the safeguarding structures.

The Campaign has approached the Department of Communities and Local Government, Robin Walker MP (Worcester), Crisis and Shelter for comment in light of this decision.

 

-END-

Duncan Cushenan, Senior Press Officer
Twitter: @EarthquakePress
Website: Hugo’s Earthquake Press Office Homepage

#JusticeForCardon gets NATIONAL COVERAGE: Direct call to @myworcester City Council | Press Office

Today the Worcester News published a Front Page headlined “OUR SORROW FOR CARDON” which continued as a full page spread on page 3 of the same paper. Along side this, they also published the article online. This has led to much attention bought to the Campaign, but more importantly – the family. It is vital for them to have the exposure they have because the search to find them obviously was not rigorous enough.

Today the Campaign Press Office has been dealing with enquiries from news agencies and national publications. In the last hour, MailOnline have (independently of a news agency) published an article on their UK website, accessible internationally: You can view this by clicking here (opens a new window).

It has been confirmed that the Press Association have pushed this story out to national papers and may appear in national print tomorrow (Wednesday 18th October).

Keep up to date with the most recent developments via our Press Office Twitter which you can follow here – we recommend you turn on our Twitter notifications.


Press Office release
20.55 GMT 17/10/2017

http://www.hugosugg.wordpress.com | @EarthquakePress

Open Letter calling for dismissal of staff and Elected Members in Worcester City Council and other services due to failings

OPEN LETTER – 16/08/2016

After the appalling situation headlined on the Worcester News front page (14th August 2017), I am writing this letter to openly call for removal of staff and Elected Members responsible for service development and commissioning of community services in Worcester City Council. As well as the Local Authority – members of staff from organisations which are meant to be assisting in reducing vulnerable people from suffering on our streets.

Drug use is on the streets of Worcester, as evident by the three Worcester News articles over the past week. If services were adequate, there would be no need for people to be lying in a doorway in the City Centre begging for money or drugs, or allegedly with a needle sticking out of a limb in the middle of the day during the summer holidays.

Services like homelessness and substance misuse are commissioned (given to organisations via contracts) by the City or County Council.

In the first two months of 2016, the then-Conservative Cabinet Member of Housing of Worcester City Council Cllr Lucy Hodgson along with Council staff agreed to change the Homeless Service which included an Outreach service. By May 2016, Ben Bradley of Worcester City Council had drafted the “Single Person and Childless Couples Homeless Prevention Support Service” which changed the comprehensive Outreach Service seen under the Worcestershire Homelessness Intervention Team (WHIT) to a non-defined “Light Touch” service. This was approved by Nina Warrinton, Strategic Housing Manager – in the department overseen by current Managing Director of Worcester City Council: David Blake.

4.8 The Provider will ensure resources are to be targeted at those newly arrived to
the streets. Entrenched Rough Sleepers are to receive a “light touch” service until
ready to engage with more preventative services that will support them from the
streets and into long term accommodation.

But what does this Light Touch service mean? The winners of the Single Person and Childless Couples Contract, County Community Projects (CCP), refused to challenge the Council on the definition of the service they had to run – and waited until after the service was launched on April 1st 2016. The agreement between the Council and CCP as to what “Light Touch” Outreach meant is CCP staff walking around the streets every 4 weeks.

 

This all comes after a tragedy unfolded on the 5th July 2016. Cardon Banfield, a 74 year old gentleman born in St Vincent and the Grenadines was found meters away from Worcestershire Cricket Club in New Road in a tent – by a warden from the Cricket Club. Cardon’s body was that rotten and heavily decomposed when found that it was impossible to identify him until October.

Cardon Banfield was missed by the service responsible, because the Council reduced the very service that had known and worked with him previously.

Maggs Day Centre, based 10 minutes walk from the location Cardon was found admitted that Cardon had visited them, but they had FAILED to refer him onto CCP. Mel Kirk, CEO of Maggs has tried to abdicate responsibility but fails to understand that intervention into Cardon’s life in 2016 might have saved his life. We call on the Maggs Board of Trustees to cast a Vote of No Confidence in Mel Kirk’s leadership and for Mel Kirk to resign from Maggs Day Centre altogether.

The City Council stated in the press that they did not know of Cardon, however this is likely to be untrue – as Cardon was known on the Council ‘LinkUp’ database before it was commissioned in 2014, and made a Housing Benefit Claim when resident in Worcester YMCA which was processed by South Worcestershire Revenues and Benefits service.

An official investigation into Cardon’s death by the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board which I called for in November got REJECTED just days before Christmas 2016 because Cardon was not known to enough services to warrant an investigation. The Police have not mentioned publicly if they carried out an investigation which is not good enough.

We believe that if there had been an Outreach service still in existence, Cardon might have been found before he rotted and decomposed by a commissioned service. As we won’t ever know the cause of his death because the Coroner recorded an Open Verdict, we cannot say he would still be alive if found earlier.

In fact, the Council’s own Worcestershire Homelessness Review 2016 acknowledges that there is a gap in provision for Outreach and recommends for an Outreach service to be created for entrenched rough sleepers.

Had there been a comprehensive Outreach service still similar to the one pre-April 2016, there would be a team of people walking around daily which would reduce the amount of drug dealers settling on Worcester’s streets begging, injecting or sleeping rough. They would be being referred onto agencies which are there to support them. I have been a vocal opponent to the eradication of Outreach since March 2016.

Due to incompetence shown by the following names, we are calling for the resignation or dismissal from their positions with immediate effect.

Worcester City Council Staff: Nina Warrington (nina.warrington@worcester.gov.uk),
Ben Bradley (ben.bradley@worcester.gov.uk),
David Blake (david.blake@worcester.gov.uk) and
Elected Member Cllr Lucy Hodgson (lucy.hodgson@worcestercity.net).
Maggs Day Centre: Mel Kirk (mkirk@maggsdaycentre.co.uk)
CCP: Adrian Warburton (adrian.warburton@ccprojects.org.uk)

The above names have made or signed off decisions which have meant the most vulnerable in Worcestershire are at greater risk of not receiving help and support for their needs. I call on every one who shares the sentiments in this open letter to write an email to the above people calling for their resignation.

Until these people leave their positions, the lives of the homeless and drug users will be made worse by the impact of past decisions taken.

 

Hugo Sugg
Founder of Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign
hugo@hugosearthquake.org
http://www.hugosugg.wordpress.com

HOW YOU CAN HELP ROUGH SLEEPERS IN THE UK HEATWAVE #SomewhereInSummer | Please LIKE & SHARE

Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign have released the following advice as a response to the current UK heatwave.

As temperatures soar in some parts of, or all of, the UK, it is very important to realise the challenges that face our homeless Rough Sleepers who tend to not have a many places to go in the day time (if any), and this means they are forced to sit in the intense sun and heat.

Water is something most people have available to them within moments, however this is often not the case for rough sleepers. If they have no money, reduced outreach service and no available day centre – it is highly unlikely they have had enough water to survive or cope.

If you wish to help a homeless person on the street, please;

  • Kneel down to their level to talk,
  • Say hi, introduce yourself and ask their name and age,
  • Ask when the last time they had water was,
  • Ask if they feel nauseous, really tired or have a headache,If they present any of these signs, call 999 immediately!
  • Do a “common sense” assessment of how dehydrated they are,
  • Offer to go to a shop to get them waterIf they say yes, do this straight away with no delay and come straight back.
    • If they say no, try ask them why and encourage them.
  • Ask when they last saw a GP, as rough sleepers are the least likely to go
  • Offer to research a day centre or support service near your current location
  • Advise them to seek shade
  • IMPORTANT: Take a mental note of their appearance, hair and location.

After you have left, PLEASE report them to StreetLink. You can do this either by calling 0300 500 0914 or filling out a short form on http://www.streetlink.org.uk/ (opens a new window).

Any one of us can be homeless and it’s important we treat them with the same respect as your best friend, neighbour or family member. Please do share this advice wherever you can, as it could save someone’s life.

Due to it’s huge success in the summer of 2016, Hugo’s Earthquake are launching their #SomewhereInSummer Campaign again to help encourage people to put the needs of the homeless first in times of extreme weather seen in the summer.

Please look after yourself, and others.
Hugo’s Earthquake Team

PRESS RELEASE: Councils to get £48 million to expand provision for homeless in UK

Hugo’s Earthquake supports this extra injection of money being put into homelessness intervention.

News that £48m has been announced is welcome, if spent in the right way. In reaction, Campaign spokesperson Emily Saunders stated “£48 million isn’t a small amount when it comes to supporting the homeless, but we are really keen to make sure money is put in the right place and supports the most vulnerable in a place they feel comfortable.”

This money has been put aside because of the ever-closer Homelessness Reduction Bill becoming law. This Bill is a Private Members Bill by Bob Blackman MP and our reaction to this potential legislation can be found here.

Over the coming months, we will be closely monitoring where this money is going and openly challenge organisations as to what exactly are they going to do with this extra assistance.

The Campaign has been a driving force in Worcester, helping to uncover failings in service provision or commissioning, and we will strive to continue this scrutiny process, whatever part of the UK.


For more information or to contact the Press Office, please email press@hugosearthquake.org.

Press Office and Social Media Team

Hugo’s Earthquake has developed a Press Office and Social Media Team. This Team will be in charge of our media and social media output, with Officers covering different sections of the country and organisation. The purpose of the Press Office is to write Press Releases and manage communication between the media, general public and Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign staff. Anyone can contact the Press Team via email and there should be a response within 3 days – so if you have something that you think the Campaign should focus on or an issue you feel we should respond too – please do get in touch.

The email address for the Team is press@hugosearthquake.org, or you can email them using the contact form below. If it is an urgent request or issue, please put “URGENT” in the subject and we will be sure to priortise this.

Our social media (including website) will start to be run by Press Office staff and we are going to be having separate Twitter accounts for different areas of the Campaign so you can keep up to date with the very latest. We will also shortly be creating a Facebook group to mirror the current Hugo’s Earthquake Facebook Page.

You will be able to see all our social media profiles advertised through website updates, our current social media channels and also in a specific section on the Campaign homepage.

If you would like to volunteer your time and become a Press Officer for Hugo’s Earthquake, please email hugo@hugosearthquake.org and he will be able to discuss this with you.

#HomelessnessReductionBill: Passing Second Reading stage – REACTION from @HugoSugg

The Homelessness Reduction Bill (HRB) has passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons today and will now progress into Committee Stage . It has a way to become law, but its heading that way. See below for Hugo Sugg’s response to the news.

hrb-second-reading-picture
The passage the Bill must go through before Royal Assent which makes it legislation.
“I am pleased with this progress today and would like to congratulate Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for Harrow East for his vision to change 40 year old homeless legislation that one step closer to being changed.

As much as I support this Bill, I heavily scrutinise it as well. The HRB only looks into the immediate point of walking into your Local Authority and presenting as homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. It has to be recognised that this Bill cannot and won’t solve the bigger issues as to how or why people become homeless.

These issues include relationship breakdowns, job losses, high use of Foodbanks and domestic violence.  All of these are part and parcel of human life, and to think differently would be insensitive. This Bill draws little acknowledgement of these situations. Homelessness and housing issues with people goes further than just not having a home or a roof over your head. Extensive research has pointed out that the main homelessness is very rarely just losing a house, but can be more entrenched issues like trauma, loss of trust and family breakdown.

The Bill mentions about an increase on the time that the Local Authority have to assess you – rising to 54 days. This presents a huge issue, and incredibly high expectation for the Council which, unless more resources are guaranteed and provided, will likely make matters worse for both.

Backing Government into a corner to fund and resource this Bill is risky in my eyes, but this is what Mr Blackman has effectively done. The Government and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government have given support to the Bill, however does this mean millions of pounds will be available for emergency accommodation, staff and more social housing?

This Bill makes for better provision for the homeless or threatened with homelessness however if the product at the end is not there (like it tends to be now), we will have even further blockages in an even bigger pipe between acceptances and accommodation, support or help.

The current legislation is a way of filtering out what goes down the pipe, and what gets pushed out – even though that this isn’t the best way of sorting out the homeless (as widely agreed by those in the homeless sector), it is a way of managing resource.

 

I don’t want to be too negative but instead realistic. The Homelessness Reduction Bill is a step forward to dismantling and recreating the jigsaw that is people’s lives and homelessness. Bob Blackman has taken a brave step to make this change, and although I have highlighted issues in this response – there is still time to iron those out.

I want Hugo’s Earthquake, its staff and supporters to work with Mr Blackman, the APPG on Homelessness, Communities and Local Government Committee, Shelter, St Mungo’s, Crisis and other stakeholders in this Parliamentary work to help create a better life and louder voice for the millions that are homeless in this country and need help.

Thanks to all MP’s who were in the Commons Chamber today and made it one step closer to law – it’s a very big achievement. There’s more to be done, and we will make sure to have a crucial say in the development and implementation of this Bill.”

 

Hugo Sugg, Founder of Hugo’s Earthquake.

#HugosEarthquake Press Release: Homelessness Reduction Bill

#HugosEarthquake Press Release: STATEMENT ON HOMELESSNESS REDUCTION BILL, 04 SEPTEMBER 2016 | press@hugosearthquake.org

The Homelessness Reduction Bill is a Private Members’ Bill which was proposed by Bob Blackman MP (Harrow East) on Wednesday 29 June 2016. Although a sitting Conservative Member of Parliament has introduced this Bill, Mr Blackman is not a Government Minister and therefore this Bill is not Government Policy.

In theory, our Campaign supports any move towards reducing homelessness in the United Kingdom, but in reality we know this isn’t an easy issue to combat. Rob Blackman MP’s Bill aims to amend the Housing Act 1996 to make provision about measures for reducing homelessness; and for connected purposes. In essence, this will remove the ‘Priority Need’ test from any homelessness application made in England.

Hugo Sugg, Campaign Founder said:
“It is vital that the Government moves quickly to come up with a strategy to tackle homelessness, however this must come from the relevant Government Department. This Bill is good in theory however doesn’t take into account the huge resources that will drain Local Authorities, charities and organisations when approached by a homeless, or potentially homeless, person or family.

More housing, more support packages and more money will be needed if this Bill goes through. The current system is outdated, however it serves a purpose of sorting out the ones who need housing more than others. If this Bill comes into force, it will mean there is a vacuum where people are accepted as needing help with their homeless situation – however there will not be the resources to cope with this any more than under the current system.

As mentioned in our Response to the Homelessness Inquiry made by the Communities and Local Government Committee, we support the points raised in the Inquiry Report published in August 2016.”

Without Government-backing the resources necessary to meet demand – we don’t support this Bill being made into an Act of Parliament, but instead we would like to work with Government and organisations to help come up with a strategy which can deal with the increasing numbers of homelessness.

-END-

Published on 4th September 2016 at 17.20.


If you have any comments, questions or queries about this Press Release, please email our Press Team at press@hugosearthquake.org.