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Health & Fitness New bid to help the homeless as rough sleepers bed down outside £2.4m New Street Wetherspoon pub

00:00  03 december  2022
00:00  03 december  2022 Source:   msn.com

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Council chiefs have asked for the public's help to support the homeless. The issue was thrown into focus by the sight of rough sleepers outside the door of the new £2.4million JD Wetherspoon pub at New Street Station, the London and Northwestern.

Birmingham City Council said it was working in partnership with five other agencies and groups in an ongoing bid to "address" homelessness in the city centre. It today asked for public help to try to resolve the issue of caring for people on the streets. A fresh social media campaign has been launched to support a scheme called Change Into Action.

On Thursday, the Wetherspoon pub was unexpectedly closed because of 'unforeseen circumstances'. The reason turned out to be a 'rogue' pigeon which had found its way inside the 643-capacity bar at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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READ MORE: New Birmingham Wetherspoon pub shut down by a pigeon

One Network Rail employee we spoke to said station staff were trying to manage rough sleeping, but a wider response was needed because 'people can be moved on and they come back again'.

Birmingham City Council today said it was launching a social media campaign to go with a multi-agency scheme called Change into Action. It said if members of the public donated money to that instead of giving money directly to anyone whose circumstances they did not know then more organised help could be provided.

It said every £5 donated could help to buy a bus pass, £10 would fund 'basic kitchen items' and £50 would buy 'a new set off clothes for someone who has none'.

A Wetherspoon spokesperson said: "Staff at London and Northwestern, Birmingham New Street Station have been advised to notify Network Rail and British Transport Police if they encounter someone sleeping rough on the station concourse, with a view to the individual being directed to a safe space where they can receive food and shelter."

Customer forced to clean 'disgusting' Wetherspoon pub loos before using them

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Network Rail said it would comment next week.

City council response

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: "Birmingham City Council are aware of issues at the station and we are working with outreach teams, Network Rail, British Transport Police, West Midlands Police and Community Safety Partnership to address them. We have a daily presence in the area and continue to offer accommodation to everyone who is rough sleeping.

Within two hours of The London and North Western pub reopening again at 3pm on Thursday, December 1 after a pigeon had been removed, the new JD Wetherspoon pub was packed © Graham Young / BirminghamLive Within two hours of The London and North Western pub reopening again at 3pm on Thursday, December 1 after a pigeon had been removed, the new JD Wetherspoon pub was packed

"Today (Friday 2) is our Day of Action in support of Change into Action an alternative giving scheme supporting specialist charities and street teams helping rough sleepers like these people at New Street station.

"Change into Action is a partnership between Birmingham City Council, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority aimed at addressing rough sleeping. We are asking everyone to do three social media posts today with #ChangeintoAction and consider donating. £5 helps to buy a bus pass, £10 basic kitchen items & £50 buys a new set of clothes for someone who has none."

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How to get help

Birmingham City Council stressed that outreach services were available for anyone presenting as homeless 24/7. The spokesperson added: "If you see or know about anyone sleeping rough you can report it to Streetlink where specialist help and support is available day and night."

Coun Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Homelessness said in an online post: "I know the cost of living crisis means money is very tight this year and that people are really struggling. However, if you are able to donate anything, however small, it would mean a great deal of difference to changing the lives of people sleeping rough.

"(If you) want to help rough sleepers, there’s a better way than giving directly to people on the streets. Please consider giving to Change into Action, every penny goes to someone who needs it. And helping organisations like St Basils, Sifa Fireside and Trident Reach. No money goes to the council, the Mayor or the West Midlands Combined Authority."

What is Streetlink?

StreetLink's website said its purpose was 'to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.

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'If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use this website to send an alert to StreetLink.

"The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.It is important to note that if you think the person you are concerned about is under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police."

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    This is interesting!