Santa can’t always bring us that new i-phone, let alone non-fattening mince pies, happiness – or a home. We are faced with difficult decisions, in an imperfect world with limited resources, unevenly shared. We often don’t have enough information, inaccurate post-truth or only part of the picture.
I want: balanced reporting! PT has featured the St Michael’s Gate housing crisis, and many generous responses to homelessness, but hasn’t highlighted the tireless work of the Peterborough City Council Housing Needs and community police teams. Nor how to notify the council if you know someone’s sleeping rough https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/residents/housing/homelessness/ Nor the low uptake of the 12 extra beds provided under the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol. Nor the staff at the New Haven Hostel and Outside Links, who are supplemented from December to March by hundreds of trained volunteers on evening meal, overnight and breakfast shifts at the Peterborough Winter Night Shelter.
The Peterborough Winter Night Shelter offers constructive person-to-person support, treating guests with dignity and honesty. Seven churches offer space and volunteers for 1 night each week over 3 months. And it works, helping many people to move forward to more sustainable accommodation, get jobs and feel part of society again.
They want: If one of the 21 homeless people in Peterborough (as per the official count last November) wants a bed for the night at the shelter, they must:
- have a local connection (if they don’t, they may be offered a travel warrant to return to their own locality e.g. Leeds, and 1 night’s stay before they go)
- be assessed as low risk e.g. clean and dry (I’m not talking about the weather!) and must not have committed a violent or sexual crime
- sign a guest agreement, including a commitment to visit the Housing Needs Team at Bayard Place who can point them to other services.
We want: do we know what we want? Sometimes we want what’s not good for us - too much sweet fatty food, too little exercise. People who voted Brexit tell me they didn’t want to encourage racism or jeopardise their children’s economic future or reduce Britain’s effective power in the world of Putin, Trump and ISIS – Brexit’s only 3 international supporters. If you want a chance to say what you *now* want about Brexit, sign https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/175845. Many say they want simple answers, but there are hard questions, global and local.
Fundamentally, I want a fair, free and open society. As Peterborough LibDems, we want:
- to strengthen our sense of community with our neighbours (as in “people who live near me in Peterborough”), as well as international virtual shared-interest “communities”;
- to foster physical connections between people (celebrating diversity, growing mutual respect) and with our environment (enjoying nature and healthy activity, facilitating mental well-being).
We want a Liberal Britain where individuals believe they have greater control over our shared destiny - and where they actually do! Meet me outside the Town Hall this coming Saturday morning (14 January 10am-noon) to tell me your priorities for a Liberal Peterborough. Or join me: at http://www.libdems.org.uk/ or on shift at the Night Shelter, contact firstname.lastname@example.org