Archive for Kent County Council

I’m Back

Yes, that’s right dear readers, I am now back to full-time blogging. After two weeks of feeling demotivated and having enough of job applications, I am finally back to where I should be. I am once again ‘posi’ (tive).

Over the next few days I will be discussing the following:

  • Is Gordon Brown a ‘comeback kid’?
  • Is the CWU really prepared to pull the plug on Labour?
  • How would an RMT electoral challenge shape Labour’s General Election campaign?
  • Super marginal seats in the South-East come May 2010
  • The campaign in Brighton Pavilion
  • Could Canterbury ever be anything but Tory Blue?

In other news, it is with great regret for me to announce, but the Scrine Foundation will be closing it’s doors on November 1st. Kent County Council has offered pre-existing contracts with Scrine to another homelessness charity, Porchlight. However, Porchlight will not be taking over the Open Centre located just outside Canterbury East station. Of all the services that Scrine provided it’s Open Centre was the frontline service that it offered to all homeless and marginalised people throughout Kent. After November 1st there will no longer be an Open Centre for Kent’s homeless. Whilst I believe Scrine is attempting to do what it can to keep the centre open, it does not look likely unless a major donor comes forward. It is disappointing news and one that would have major consequences across the community. I can only hope that a last minute miracle happens to ensure that every homeless person in Canterbury and Kent has a roof over their heads on the long, cold nights.

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Save the Scrine Foundation

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The Scrine Foundation is a leading homeless charity in Canterbury, but back in July Kent County Council (KCC) decided to withdraw three service contracts worth £660,000; the charity’s 66 full-time and part-time staff have been put on notice of losing their jobs sometime next month.

The Scrine’s Open Centre in Canterbury is the only place in Kent where homeless people can stay overnight in a safe place, the loss of this crucial service for the dozens of homeless people who rely on the shelter, and the service Scrine provides, would have a detrimental affect on the welfare and safety of the city’s homeless, especially over the coming Winter months.

At present Scrine’s Board of Trustees have voted to appeal KCC’s decision to withdraw the contracts and to “assign them over to an alternative” provider, as one KCC spokesman as said. However, it remains to be seen which other ‘providers’ would offer the Open Centre service that Scrine provides, meaning the loss of the Open Centre would have wide-reaching repercussions for not only the homeless and vulnerable people that rely on the centre, but also on the local community, of whom many are passive towards Canterbury’s homeless, but others are deeply compassionate towards.  

The deadline is looming and time is running out to resolve the issue with KCC. I would be very interested to see who KCC has approached as an ‘alternative provider’, and would be very suspicious as to their motivations in switching provider, despite the resounding endorsements Scrine has recieved from former residents. The local Conservative MP, Julian Brazier, who continually trumps up his ‘support’ for local homeless charities, has made no public comment on the issue, instead he’s flying about all over the place…literally!

The story has been covered in the local Kent papers over recent weeks, and has even been picked up by the BBC.

I for one hope a solution can be found, and quickly. I know already that the University of Kent student group, Students Against Homelessness, are planning to work their socks off at ‘Fresher’s Fair’ next week to get as many students involved as possible. Last year they held a very successful sleepout and I hope this becomes an annual event to send a strong reminder to all that Canterbury cares.

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