Residents living in the heart of Portsmouth are being asked to name their top policing priorities for action by the local Charles Dickens Neighbourhood Policing team.
Police officers have created an online survey for residents, community groups and local businesses to have their say and asked Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour Leader, and other local representatives, to help promote the opportunity for residents to have their say across the ward.
Sergeant Richard Holland said:
“As a member of the Charles Dickens community, we are interested in what you have to say in how we police the area.
Whether you have been a victim/witness of crime or not, it is important that we have your views on how we can best meet the needs of everyone within the community”.
The brief survey has been designed for the sole purpose of identifying issues within the neighbourhood for action by the neighbourhood team made up of police officers and community safety officers.
Cllr Stephen Morgan said:
“Local people are telling me that crime and safety is one of their top local concerns at the moment. It’s therefore my priority to make sure our streets are safer. I will be working closely with the police to ensure local people see action in our communities.
Spending a few minutes answering the survey will allow the neighbourhood team to gather the information they need to provide a better service and set policing priorities that matter to local people. Please have your say”.
If you live in the Charles Dickens ward then please go to the link below to complete the survey: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dickenscharles
For residents without access to the internet, you can pop into the Portsmouth Central Police station where you can complete a hard copy there.
This week Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour Leader paid a visit to the Portsmouth Foyer on Greetham Street, to learn more about the work of staff and volunteers in providing a range of services and support networks to help young people who are homeless in Portsmouth turn their lives around.
Local charities offering a bed for the night is just the first step on the long road to helping somebody embark on a new life away from homelessness. Yet local groups provide much more than offering safe, secure accommodation.
Services include providing help and support every step of the way to ensure young people move towards finding a home of their own. Charities also work to prevent homelessness by supporting people who already live in their own home, to maintain their independence. This support can take many forms and often includes advice on how to contact specialist agencies.
Other services include:
- advice on resources to housing
- help with filling in forms and claiming benefits
- help and advice with managing money and paying bills
- overcoming problems
- access to specialist services including medical advice or addictions counselling
- connecting with local self help groups.
On Greetham Street in the heart of Portsmouth, Two Saints provide a 48 roomed hostel provides accommodation for young people between 16 and 25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Referrals are made to the service via Portsmouth City Council’s Housing Options team, and the service funded by the city council.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour Leader said:
“These hugely important services provided by local charities and groups in our city help people take control over their lives and helps reduce demand on public services later on down the line. Two Saints’ Portsmouth Foyer is a great example of this.
As well as providing a bed and a range of support networks, they encourage young people to develop their skills and self confidence to help set them back on the path back to a more settled life. These services make a big difference in Portsmouth.
It was great to visit the team this week and see the valuable work staff and volunteers do”.
News that the Society of St James are providing a safe space for people who are homeless to rest during the cold winter nights is welcomed by Portsmouth Labour.
Working in unison with the Portsmouth City Council, the Society of St James (SSJ) are providing beds for 28 rough sleepers as part of a broader Christmas Appeal to tackle homelessness in the city.
The service also hopes to create a cumulative benefit for recipients, as users of the SSJ service will be encouraged to engage with other services for the homeless in the city, in an effort to more permanently secure the health and wellbeing of these people.
The service is aiming to provide rounded care, meaning a hot shower, access to TV and breakfast will also be available to residents.
It is hoped that the service can empower its users to escape the homelessness trap by supporting people with their recovery.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour Leader said:
“We believe no one should ever have to sleep rough in our city but sadly we know from experience that this occurs all too often.
During the harsh winter months, it is simply too cold and too dangerous for some of our most vulnerable people with complex needs.
The night shelter is providing a safe, warm and welcoming space for those who are forced to sleep rough in Portsmouth. I thank the SSJ for their hard work in providing this valuable local service”.
For information as to how you can refer someone to the centre visit www.ssj.org.uk
Portsmouth’s Labour Leader has used the first ever nationally-organised ‘Local Charities Day’ to recognise the hard work and contribution the voluntary and community sector plays in the life of the city.
Local Charities Day taking place on Friday 16 December, 2016 aims to put small, local charities and community groups into the spotlight, helping them thrive and demonstrate the great work they do in their areas.
In celebration of the day Cllr Stephen Morgan, Labour Group Leader on Portsmouth City Council said:
“Pompey should be proud about the energy, commitment, expertise and the benefits local charities bring to our communities.
There are thousands of volunteers and hundreds of local groups and charities across our city doing their bit to make life better for hard working families and the vulnerable in our communities. I thank them for everything they do”.
Praise for the city’s charities follows Labour’s budget response at Full Council on Tuesday, when councillors had their say on Tory proposals to take £9m out of council budgets.
Cllr Morgan tabled investment plans to support charities at a time of crisis for local social care services. He said in response to these proposals:
“Voluntary organisations have a crucial role to play in finding solutions to local challenges.
They can undertake preventative work, meet local needs, address demands and are the glue that binds our communities together.
And not only do they need our support now more than ever, we need theirs”.
Action Portsmouth, a charity which supports other charities to flourish, has produced an online resource which helps identify groups and support available to local people: http://actionhampshire.org/maps/portsmouth-support/
On Tuesday, Cllr Stephen Morgan gave his response to the city council budget – his first as Leader of the Labour Group. It was a speech as memorable for passionate opposition to further service cuts as for the clarity of Labour’s alternative vision for Portsmouth.
Cllr Morgan acknowledged that, under Liberal Democrat and now Conservative administrations, Portsmouth has “weathered the biggest cuts in public spending since before the Second World War.”
He spoke of people “struggling to get by as wages remain low, welfare slashed even as food and energy bills, rents and petrol prices continue to rise.”
Damningly, he outlined the reality of life in the ward he represents, Charles Dickens: “Up to 67% of children are living in poverty. Life expectancy is 10 years less than in other parts of our city. And recently homelessness has more than doubled.”
Cllr Morgan left the council chamber in no doubt as to the reasons why “hard working families and the vulnerable are struggling.” He explained:
“The unprecedented cuts which government has foisted upon this council are not the result of overspending by any government or even of the global financial crisis. These cuts were never inevitable. They were – and are – a choice.”
Speaking of the importance of investing in skills and jobs, his message to the Conservatives running the council was clear:
“This council must and should do more than simply managing a dwindling budget. It must lobby its friends in Whitehall harder. It must seek a better deal from Government.”
As well as insisting that the council should appeal for a higher allocation of the funding distributed from London, he proposed an amendment to the new council budget. The Labour Group budget amendment is built around three themes.
First, a reduction in the cost of local democracy, which would involve streamlining the number of Cabinet posts; cutting some of the allowances councillors gain, and moving to four-yearly ‘all out’ elections to reduce costs and bring political stability to the authority.
Second, a reduction in management overheads. This would be achieved by developing new and innovative ways to provide public services; reducing the cost of communications and admin by going ‘paperless’, and working in partnership with more neighbouring authorities to share costs in everything from management to HR and finance.
Finally, greater investment in frontline social care services. Social care is set to bear the biggest cuts in council spending under current proposals, with a risk that the NHS will come under further pressure to pick up the pieces. Labour’s proposals include using the savings they have identified to invest in social care services; enabling the voluntary sector to be more creative in meeting local demands and supporting the community, and redesigning funding criteria to focus more on services which deliver or support social care priorities.
In conclusion, Cllr Morgan spoke of his “belief that our council can improve people’s lives and change things for the better.” He said:
“We’ll keep trying to make Portsmouth a better place for all local people and to strengthen our communities. And to make hope possible at a time when despair could otherwise be truly convincing.”
Homelessness, wherever it is found is a sorry thing to behold and something we should all be concerned about.
After all the way a society cares for those in need is ultimately what speaks most about the priorities of a society as often these people have no voice other than that which is provided by those who are prepared to stand up and fight for them.
Homelessness is something that all parties should rally against and in all things work towards its elimination, especially as the Winter cold sets in. Portsmouth Labour answers this call with enthusiasm and a willingness to help.
Portsmouth Labour is firmly backing The News’ Christmas Appeal to aid those in need in our local communities.
The Labour Group is concerned that homelessness has more than doubled nationally under the Tory government – an increase we have seen in Portsmouth too.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour Leader said:
“We’re joining community leaders and local faith groups in this sensible campaign.
I encourage anyone who can give this Christmas to support The News’ appeal at a time of year when the smallest gift can make the biggest difference and change a life”.