Moving back to Shropshire late ’90s was like hopping onto Dr Who’s Tardis back in time!
The way homeless were viewed by certain Salopians was appalling! Describing homeless on our Streets ” as the cancer of our Society.”
So; I decided to do something about it it. Thus in 1999 Shropshire Independent Advocacy Scheme was born spending first 3 years of it’s development in my Shrewsbury Town Centre flat.
Initially it was a project dealing with our local homeless Street People with a personal view that many folk seen on our streets had Mental Health issues often ‘masked’ under the outwardly anti-social behaviour some portrayed.
Obviously as a safeguarding factor I didn’t see my homeless clients in my flat. So could be seen at their regular haunts such as the local park; outside on a Library bench; where they busked/begged in Pride Hill. Shrewsbury CAB were brilliant! Offering me a safe environment enabling me to talk more in depth and in total confidence with a client.
The Roy Fletcher Centre Cafe got used to me bringing in a homeless client for beans on toast and a cup of tea, building trust, creating a rapport. However it wasn’t long before I was getting referrals from:
- Clients who were unhappy with what they felt was the lack of Mental Health Aftercare provision.
- Clients within psychiatric care.
- Teenagers in Care who felt let down, rejected by a constant stream of Social Workers all with different approaches on ‘what is best for the child’ often forgetting that particular youngster’s own needs.
- Clients who were victims of domestic violence.
Between beginning of 1999-mid 2000 we had seen 200 people. Using my own front room as an admin office, and only on rare occasions receiving a financial handout. I felt like Oliver Twist bowl in hand, asking for more.
To be continued in next Baggins Blogg