Tag Archives: Bristol

Anti-homeless Posts Installed to Stop Homeless People Sleeping… Bristol, UK

Bristol businesses and council are trying to take away the limited number of spots in Bristol city where rough sleepers can bed down for the night.

FORTUNATELY… Local people are fighting back and making their voice heard…

The welcome mat and flowers which were placed where a set of anti homeless spikes were removed. See SWNS story SWMAT; Bristolians are fighting anti-homeless sentiments with acts of kindness after controversial spikes were removed from a shopping centre. IT was a place for people to shelter through the cold winter nights, but last week The Galleries installed six silver bollards on Union Street aimed at deterring rough sleepers. Bosses removed the spikes after a public outcry, and now one kind resident had gone one further and extended the hand of friendship to the homeless population. A cat-themed door mat with the word, "welcome", was last night laid in the doorway between the recently closed-down Head record store, and 71 Queens clothing store, where the spikes used to be.
The welcome mat and flowers which were placed where a set of anti homeless spikes were removed. See SWNS story SWMAT; Bristolians are fighting anti-homeless sentiments with acts of kindness after controversial spikes were removed from a shopping centre. IT was a place for people to shelter through the cold winter nights, but last week The Galleries installed six silver bollards on Union Street aimed at deterring rough sleepers. Bosses removed the spikes after a public outcry, and now one kind resident had gone one further and extended the hand of friendship to the homeless population. A cat-themed door mat with the word, “welcome”, was last night laid in the doorway between the recently closed-down Head record store, and 71 Queens clothing store, where the spikes used to be.

 

READ MORE – News Coverage:

Dispatches – Britain’s Street Kids

dispatches britains street kids

Every day hundreds of children are forced to leave home. Some run away, even more are thrown away: discarded and evicted by their parents. This crisis in Britain’s families has created an itinerant population of young people without support or a roof over their heads. The state has to provide, at an immense cost, while voluntary organisations try to plug the gaps in the face of drastic cutbacks and closures.

Directed by award-winning film-maker, Nick Read, and produced by BAFTA-winning team, True Vision (Dispatches: China’s Stolen Children, Chosen), Dispatches follows four teenagers over six months who are struggling to fend for themselves on the streets. Both at risk and a risk to society, for all of them drugs become a way of life, a means of dealing with the stresses and challenges of life away from family and home comforts. All talk candidly and eloquently about why they take flight: family breakdowns; addiction; violence; neglect and abuse. The unspoken truth behind their stories points to both inadequate parenting and severe lack of consistent and effective care once they have left home, which becomes their reality.

In Edinburgh, 16 year old Robyn is a street veteran. She left home aged 12 and soon after she was injected with heroin for the first time. Now she wrestles with her addiction and demons, so that “someone will hear my voice”.

For 16 year old Chelsey, “every day is a battle”, mainly with South London’s housing officers, to find secure accommodation. Having been kicked out of several hostels, she is running out of options.

Seventeen year old Sophie refuses to deal with the ‘system’ at all, preferring to sofa surf in Bristol’s squats in a state of drug-fuelled flux.

Haydon is 17, but barely equipped to face the world on his own. Recently evicted by his mother, he is soon desperate to leave the B&B where he is placed: “I don’t want my independence yet, I’m too young.”

Dispatches: Britain’s Street Kids explores the hidden world of runaway and evicted teenagers, giving them a voice for the first time, and celebrating their extraordinary ability to fend for themselves. – Channel 4, Dispatches

Documentary Notes

  • Hundreds of children are forced to sleep on the streets
  • An estimated 100,000 children under the age of 16 run away from their home every year (stats from the Childrens Society). A large perportion of these children are chucked out of their home and disowned
  • By law all teenagers between ages 16 and 18 who are identified as homeless are the responsibility of local councils.
  • children are drawn away from home because of excitement or possibility of adventure
  • 1 in 9 young people are physically attacked when away from home. Many are sexually assulted.
  • Homeless children who find themselves in long-term hostels have support from social workers around the clock.
  • children often run away from violent families
  • Private landlords and b&b owners take the overflow of homeless children who cannot otherwise be housed in homeless shelters.
  • Many children report that soical authorities are unsympathetic to their needs.
  • Teenage runaways are constantly in transit, searching for refuge to avoid staying on the streets.
  • To survive in a life where violence is normalised, many homeless teenagers try to deal with problems themselves rather than turning to adults for help.
  • 1 in 3 children evicted from home by their parents experienced violence at home.
  • 30% of children brought up in residential care end up running away.
  • In a recent study, the charity railway children interviewed 100 children who had ran away from home under the age of 16. They found that every single child had used either drugs or alcohol.
  • Inconsistent parenting is a common reson why children decide to leave home

Idea Conception

For a number of years whilst I was at university in Bristol I used to volunteer at the Julians Trust Homeless Shelter (also known as the Bristol Night Shelter). It was here I got my first experience of homelessness.

Amongst other things, the shelter provides warm meals, showers and professional support for around 80 people per night. Each night it also supplies 18 emergency beds for the homeless, people that would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.

Like almost all other homeless shelters, the Julians Trust shelter relies on donations and volunteer support to operate. The running costs for such an establishments are very high, and even though the shelter is only open in the evenings through to the morning (9.30pm and 10.30pm), for 5 days a week, it still costs in excess of £1,500 per week to run (2013)).

Personally, I believe there should be more organisations like the Julians Trust to cater for the increasing number of homeless people ending up on the streets each week but I’m a realist and I understand that organisations like the Julians Trust take a lot of time, effort, money and passion to start up and continue operation and these aren’t always in great supply.

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Martin – Where Am I Sleeping Tonight? (Homelessness Documentary)

Martin Where Am I Sleeping Tonight – BBC Documentary 2015

At 16, Martin Read found himself living on the streets. Since then, he’s spent time in prison and suffered from mental health issues. But he has picked himself up and is now a film director. This, his first film, is made in and around Bristol and tells the stories of the young people he meets who are not registered anywhere as homeless but are forced to sleep on friends’ sofas, in tents, in caves, under bridges and on the streets.

Since the introduction of the bedroom tax, benefit sanctions and the privatisation of many hostels, the under-25s have been hit hard. Charities estimate that the real number of ‘hidden homeless’ is three times as high as the official homeless figure, so that almost half a million people are now sleeping rough or being supported by friends.

Martin’s past experiences have enabled him to gain unrivalled access into the worlds of those he meets, and the result is an honest and revealing look at what homelessness for young people really looks like today.

Documentary Notes

  • Documenting the lives of the hidden homeless. Video made in Bristol.
  • Charities think that it’s because of the 7+ billion pounds cut from benefits.
  • Millions of people not technically registered as homeless but are in fact homeless. Sleeping on friends floors, in squats, in caves, in the woods etc.
  • Homelessness shot up 80+ in last 5 years.
  • Meeting people who live in caves near Clifton.
  • Not feeling safe in hostels, fear. This is why people choose to live on the streets.