Fight for the Foyer

Latest news 22nd Sept., after the presentation of the petition.

We had a very positive reception at the Council meeting this morning from members of all political persuasions. At the end of the debate, the portfolio holder stated that it had already been decided that the budget proposals for adult social care would not include any cuts to the Foyer’s grant, and that it could be assumed (subject to next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, – see papers here – ) that next year’s grant to the Foyer would be the full £102k. On that basis, the Council agreed no further action was needed in response to our petition.    A good result!
Mike Beazley

[Note added by PAL:
The other concern expressed in Peter Norman’s briefing paper was the effect of the proposed cap on the Local Housing Allowance.  This has been reconsidered by the DWP – a statement by the Minister (Damian Green)  can be read here.  It seems to be the case that the cap will be retained  and a different funding approach, including a ring-fenced amount granted to Local Authorities,  will be  put in place.]

 

Latest news – after the 12th:

Shropshire Council debate

1. Presentation of Petition

The petition to the Council asking them to keep funding the Foyer at the current level next year and in subsequent financial years has gathered over 1300 signatures. That means that it must be debated by the Council in full session. This meeting will take place at 10.00 a.m.  on Thursday 22 September at Shirehall (Council Chamber) . Peter Norman (who launched the petition) is away and he has asked me to present it. A group of supporters will be attending in the public gallery. The meeting starts at 10 am and it is item 5 on the agenda. I am allowed to speak for 5 minutes, after which there will be a debate of up to 15 minutes.  – Mike Beazley

The full meeting agenda is available online at:

https://shropshire.gov.uk/committee-services/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=125&MId=3220&Ver=4


2. The Funding situation.

The broad outline of the funding arrangements is set out in a briefing paper prepared originally for Ludlow Town council (see the Briefing Paper ). The focus of the petition is on continuing the Council contribution of £102k per annum. At the time of writing (September 12th) it is still unclear whether this funding is to continue for at least one more  year. Hilary Paddock is the negotiator for Shropshire Housing Group who is attempting to secure continuation of the supporting people grant. She reports that a meeting with the council as recently as last Friday (9th Sept) was inconclusive although the Council is expected to approve a budget by the end of this month.
Hilary Paddock will pursue up-to-date information through her council contacts (hilary.paddock@sshropsha.co.uk tel. 07980 269359) .
At the Council the chief officer responsible is Andy Begley on 01743 252421 and the person taking day-to-day oversight is Ruth Houghton on 01743 258919. andy.begley@shropshire.gov.uk and ruth.houghton@shrosphire.gov.uk
4. On 22 September
Karen Nixon (below)  can advise whether more than one person can speak in the 5 minutes allotted to the petitioner and will need to be notified of name(s) in advance.
5. If you still have completed petition sheets they can  help to boost total numbers if you could post them to:
Karen Nixon,
Democratic Services
Shirehall, Abbey Foregate
Shrewsbury SY2  6ND
Her number is 01743 257720 karen.nixon@shropshire.gov.uk
Once again – many thanks. Getting so many signatures is a major achievement. With luck it will lead to the Council making the right decision to continue funding the Foyer. Lobby your Councillor!
 Peter Norman.
—————-

Clearly, many of the issues affecting the Ludlow Foyer also have national impact. If you want to find out more, the National Housing Federation are campaigning on this.

 

 

The Sleep-Out

sleep-7

 

sleep-3

sleep-6

 

 

 

 

(Pictures by Tom Morton – Shropshire Star)
Twenty-five people slept out – 15 on the flagged floor of the Buttercross and 10 outside the Shropshire Star office and Poyner’s drapery on Broad Street.
Participants assembled at 9.30 p.m. for a briefing and several then took the petition round nearby pubs for signatures. At 11.30 p.m.we reassembled and distributed cardboard and carpet underlay to supplement the sleeping bags and other equipment people had brought with them.
Participants included:
  – Four current residents of the foyer and two members of staff.
 – Ann Sutcliffe, Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, represented Shropshire Housing Group, owners of the Foyer;
  – Richard Huffer, county councillor for Clee Hill, took part as did
 – Rev. Jeffrey Wilcox of St Laurence’s church and Rev. Kim Stilwell, Minister of the Methodist church on Broad Street.
 – Other participants Included Sandy Robertson, Chair of Ludlow Campaign for Fairness and several other members of the Campaign;
 – also Jane Cullen of the newly formed People4Ludlow – see people4ludlow.org.uk
 – The event was coordinated by Peter Norman on behalf of the Campaign for Fairness
Sleepers had access to toilets in both the Methodist Church and the public toilets in Castle Square carpark by arrangement with Ludlow Town Council. The mayor of Ludlow sent a message of best wishes to all taking part. And during the day, by agreement with the Town Council,  Foyer staff and residents had a stall on the market to distribute information and secure signatures to the petition (attached).
We enjoyed a relatively warm, windless night but also experienced the routine hardships of sleeping rough – regular disturbance of traffic noise, occasional inquisitive revellers, rats on the street and the intrusive intervention of one  aggressive drunk young man who eventually left after a visit from the police.
From 6.30 a.m. we cleared away sleeping materials and equipment to leave the area neat and tidy and were welcomed in the Garden Room of the Methodist church where five church members gave us all a fried breakfast, tea and toast and fresh fruit. After interviews with Ian Perry of BBC Radio Shropshire we  thanked the Methodist church for all their help and support and dispersed at about 8.0 a.m.
The petition will remain open until 12th September and already has two thirds of the 1,000 signatures required to trigger a county council debate. The public are asked to write to their MP and lobby Shropshire council to continue funding the Foyer.

BACKGROUND

Ludlow Foyer is under threat of closure because of proposed changes in Housing Benefit arrangements and cuts in support from Shropshire county.

This  Briefing Note gives the detail.

A national Day of Action coordinated by the National Housing Federation is planned for 1st September (this Thursday) – just before Parliament resumes on 5th September.
Foyer staff and residents will be running a stall on the market square that day (see above)  and supporters will be taking part in a sleep-out that night assembling at the Buttercross from 9.30. p.m. – more details from Peter Norman.
Download a petition to Shropshire Council to maintain present levels of funding.
Please print it off and get signatories. If we get 1,000 signatures the full Council have to debate the matter.

You can support an on-line petition here.

Download and print off a one-page flyer for your notice board!

Please help in the Fight for the Foyer.
Peter Norman 01584 878398 07842 866958

To find out how the Foyer works, go here.

 

 

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