Success! UK Town Council to Remove Hostile Anti-Homeless Metal Bars

Homelessness in the U.K. increased in 2017, for the seventh year in a row.

An estimated 4,751 people slept rough on the streets of the U.K. last year, a 15 percent increase on the previous year.

The numbers are up a whopping 169 percent since 2010, but charities for the homeless caution that even these increased numbers do not reflect the real level of street homelessness. They do not include, for example, people in hostels or shelters, or the so-called “hidden homeless”: people sofa-surfing or sleeping on public transport.

People become homeless for a variety of reasons, including enormous cuts to social services and the National Health Service by the Tory government and an economic crisis in the U.K. Certainly, most people do not choose to become homeless, and yet they are often punished for the tragedies that have befallen them.

We’ve seen spikes attached to doorways, ledges and the ground to prevent people from sleeping there, and loud music played all night to make sure sleep is impossible.

Last month in the U.S., 12 people were arrested  for daring to offer food to some homeless people.

In Bournemouth, a seaside resort on the south coast of England, the Borough Council decided to instal metal bars across benches to prevent people from lying down on them.

When Frances Donnelly, a former resident of the town, heard about this, she was angered at this hostile approach to a community that deserves support and respect, not condemnation.

She decided to create a Care2 petition demanding that these hostile bars, a statement that homeless people were not welcome in Bournemouth, be removed from public benches.

Success!

Donnelly was thrilled when over 61,000 Care2 activists signed her petition and even more excited when Bournemouth Borough Council announced on February 5 that it would remove the “anti-homeless” bars in the following few days.

Councillor Robert Lawton said, “We have listened to the extensive feedback over the last week and in light of the depth of feeling, have today reviewed that decision (to instal the bars) and agreed to have the bars removed.”

Congratulations to Frances Donnelly and thank you to all the Care2 members who signed up to support her.

The BBC cited an online petition as contributing to this success; They also mentioned the rapper Professor Green, who filmed a friend carefully removing bars from a bench last week, and the work of protestors who this week decorated the benches with colorful blankets, cushions and balloons.

They were inspired by local artist Stuart Stemple, seen above, who posted a photo of a bench last month.

This is not the first time Bournemouth has shown its total lack of empathy for homeless people. In 2015, the Borough Council played AlvIn and the Chipmunks songs and some bagpipe music all night long at Bournemouth Bus Station, and in 2016 they purchased one-way train tickets to persuade the homeless to leave town.

But Care2 petitions can change minds.

If you are inspired by Donnelly’s success, why not start your own petition about an issue that troubles you? By reading these guidelines, you’ll discover it’s really easy to get started. It won’t be long before you find the vibrant Care2 community signing up to support you in your cause.

 

Photo Credit: Screenshot from Bournemouth Echo online video

98 comments

DAVID f
Dave f2 months ago

Tfs

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Chad Anderson
Chad A2 months ago

Nice!

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Claire Jeffrey
Claire Jeffrey3 months ago

Tfs

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Jack Y
Jack Y3 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y3 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Sara C
Sara C3 months ago

It is wonderful but it would not have been placed there in the first place! Where is the humanity in some people?

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M4 months ago

Tfs

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