VIDEO UK austerity & Birmingham homelessness epidemic

Tony Gosling tony at
Mon Feb 4 00:55:26 GMT 2013

Street's all you've got: Heavy-handed UK govt austerity exposed
Published on 3 Feb 2013
Britain which was once proud of having some of 
the most effective legislation in the world to 
fend off homelessness, now has over 50,000 people sleeping rough.
And as the government attempts to battle 
country's financial troubles, the number of 
homeless people is expected to rise.
RT's Polly Boiko went to meet some of those living on the streets.

The Archbishop of Birmingham reacts with shock 
and sadness after the killing of two Birmingham Big Issue vendors
"See all homeless people as our brothers and sisters"- Jan 28, 2013
Homeless people in our society face many 
problems, and in Birmingham on January 11 this 
extended to brutal murder. I was shocked and 
immensely saddened to hear of the killings of 
Wayne Lee Busst and Ian Watson-Gladwish.
My thoughts and prayers are with their families, 
their friends, and those who have offered Wayne 
and Ian support and friendship here in Birmingham.
This tragic event has the potential to make us 
all more aware of the hardships faced by 
individuals and families who are looking for a 
permanent home or searching for work.
Our cities can be harsh places for those who 
suddenly find themselves without friends and 
material resources. Cuts in benefits and council 
services combined with job losses as businesses 
close down are making the year ahead look very grim.
If we can think of Wayne and Ian as someone’s 
son, brother, father or friend, then that should 
encourage us to see all homeless or jobless people as our brothers and sisters.
As a Christian I cannot forget the words of Jesus 
Christ about himself and his ministry travelling 
through the villages and towns of Galilee yet 
never certain about how he would be received or 
where he would find a welcome or hospitality.
Jesus said: “Foxes have holes and the birds of 
the air their nests, but the Son of Man has 
nowhere to lay his head.” The words of Jesus 
touch our hearts and draw from us a generous 
response. People of faith are prompted by their 
beliefs to act justly towards those who are 
homeless and to try to walk a while in their 
shoe, to see life through their eyes.
There are many practical ways in which we can 
make this sentiment a reality – buying the Big 
Issue regularly is a good start. We can support 
the voluntary agencies throughout the country 
that are trying to steer people towards permanent 
accommodation and work opportunities.
We can support local initiatives like the 
Birmingham Churches winter night shelter which 
opened on 18 January and which, for the next six 
weeks, will offer beds and food to those who are homeless in the City.
Alternatively we can join in with Poverty & 
Homelessness Action Week which begins on 26 
January and is focussed on challenging the stigma 
and blame that often accompanies stories about 
poor and homeless people in the media.
Most important of all, however, is to treat every 
person we meet, whatever their circumstances, 
with dignity and respect, and to avoid unfounded 
judgements. Homelessness can affect anyone and 
what homeless people need is a hand up, not a disdainful look - or worse.
The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley

Tolkien tower Perrott's Folly in Edgbaston sold to charity for £1
By Jane Tyler - Jan 31 2013
Perrott’s Folly tower in Birmingham, said to have 
inspired JRR Tolkien in writing the Lord Of The 
Rings, has been sold for just £1.
It has now launched a £1 million fund-raising 
campaign to find the money needed for the renovations.

The plan of work includes proposals to reinstate 
the first floor, which has completely 
disappeared, renovate the tower’s ornate rooms 
and make the building structurally sound.
Trident’s Ben Bradley said: “In high winds it 
does shake a bit, but our quantity surveyors have 
assured us it is structurally safe and won’t fall down – for now.
“But they have said if work isn’t done soon it will start to crumble.”
He said the project would also include the 
addition of a new building on the front of the tower.
It would feature a cafe and small community 
centre where arts exhibitions could be staged, as 
well as hosting social events for groups, such as 
parents and toddlers, and the homeless. The top 
and bottom floors of the main tower will be used 
as exhibition space, with the rest of the 
building playing host to exhibitions and workshops.
Mr Bradley said the tower would remain open for 
the next 12 to 18 months before shutting for the 
renovation. In the meantime, a public 
fund-raising campaign is set to begin, which will 
include asking people to “sponsor a brick”.
Trident Reach is part of the main Trident housing 
association group and specialises in projects for 
the homeless and vulnerable people.
Mr Bradley said: “The area in which it is in is 
deprived, so the project will not only provide 
volunteering opportunities, but will also allow 
us to provide support services for residents. It 
won’t just be a case of the building being used 
now and again, it will be in constant use.”
Scores of Lord of the Rings fans already visit 
the tower each year as part of the Tolkien Trail, 
an unofficial route established by die-hard fans of the fantasy series.
Perrott’s Folly itself was built in the centre of 
a magnificent medieval hunting park by eccentric 
landowner John Perrott in 1758. 
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