Working through the crisis in systematic way

Across our neighbourhoods, or (in this 21st Century, I might more accurately say) extended networks, all kinds of people are making all kinds of arrangements to support each other when we are ill, or isolated, or socially distancing.
At times like these, people will be getting on with getting on.
And where they can’t, they will be looking to the NHS or the council or their social landlord or the emergency services to do what is necessary.
Including reporting neighbours who thought it was fun to have a street party yesterday to the Police.

Now as an elected representative, I feel this urge to do something more; and that people might expect it of me.
But the reality is people need a structured, organised and (dare I say it) a properly financed set of services to assist.
So I won’t be putting out any special leaflets to say I can help as an individual. Cos the systems should provide and I expect that of them.
Part of this is cos I don’t want to confuse any organised systems and messages.
And part of this is cos I might be carrying the virus and not know it.

What I can, should and do do is report failings in the systems set up to help.
I am going to expect that people know that I do that already.
Cos this ain’t the time to be trying to fix, or even make, reputations.

Meanwhile, my main political criticisms are –
1. if we are “at war”, all available capacity should be mobilised for a purpose through our public services; people no longer selling holidays, or serving in shops or on public transport, could be commissioned to help the public services; and others could be mobilised to keep their immediate neighbourhood looking neat (not litter or waste, obviously, but grass cutting and weeding);
2. councils should be told publicly that they are to receive finance to provide more capacity;
3. the economic packages should be emphasising funding people and consumer demand rather than financing businesses.

Helping Rough Sleepers in Nottingham

MyNottingham reports “Lots is being done to help people who are experiencing homelessness in Nottingham this winter. Tell us when you see anyone who needs our help: tel: 0800 066 5356; text80800 and a message; surf: Real Change, not Small Change https://crowd.in/aMqGV0

A reminder that when Jezza visited Nottingham, he did commit to sorting this issue as. his first priority. Government money really does help on this; and then tackling the conditions that create the need helps too. Meanwhile the BBC chose to report someone saying no politician can help when it’s plain how this has become such a problem under the Conservatives.

Meadows Advice Group AGM 2019

“The ‘normal’ work of delivering advice in The Meadows and elsewhere is still being driven by the joint forces of poverty and the ongoing changes to people’s benefits and by repeat demands on clients by the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs.
“Universal Credit began to affect people in Nottingham in a major way in October We are not yet seeing the longer term problems as most people are just starting on it. The immediate problem is being without income for several weeks or taking out an advance payment which then reduces the amount of Universal Credit received for up to 12 months. As we expected many people are struggling with dealing with everything online. The Department for Work and Pensions are already struggling to cope with replies to online queries taking weeks to be dealt with and the advice given to us is to use the phone!
“We identified a problem in The Meadows with the amount of help given to people with their rent, who have a private landlord. The amount has been frozen for several years and rents have risen considerably. This means even the poorest families having to pay towards their rent. This was identified first as a Citywide problem and was taken up by Advice Nottingham and then as a nationwide issue which was raised by Lilian Greenwood MP in the House of Commons
“Our fuel debt project continues to provide extra support for people struggling to pay for gas and electricity and, increasingly, water charges as well.
‘This year we helped 624 people, raised a total of £922978 in additional benefits for them and managed £177182 in debts for them.’

Special AGM at Meadows Advice Group celebrates 40 years.
Although the names of those involved at the outset are known, none could be found to be invited, although Paddy Tipping sent a message and former local City Councillor Di Clausen attended.

Abolishing Universal Credit

Channel 4 news worked too hard on doubting Labour’s commitment to abolish Universal Credit, because their definition of Universal Credit is that it means 6 previous payments are rolled into 1, and that Labour won’t get rid of that.(Of course, there are other payments not included, so “Universal” was never right.)
Margaret Greenwood countered that Labour will deal with the most damaging parts of the new system first – the five week gap to the first payment and the 2 child limit.
I’d also point out the appeals system, with places for appointments reduced and moved away from where claimants live.
https://www.channel4.com/news/corbyn-announces-plans-to-scrap-cruel-and-inhumane-universal-credit

Children in the care of Nottinghamshire Councils

A report published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, with a lot to take in. “The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine the institutional responses to such allegations of Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottingham City Council, and other organisations such as Nottinghamshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, and to consider the adequacy of steps taken to protect children from abuse.

David Mellen has issued a statement on the report.

I know how in 1994/5, Notts. County Council showed vigour and resolve in reviewing the death of a child in Ashfield District.
The report on abuse is long and I will be interested to see what the report fully says. For now, the City Council’s Leader response is presented.

East Midlands Today
Coverage on East Midlands News (BBC tv) is worth looking up, especially for survivors saying that they now feel they have been listened to. Interviewed on the programme, David Mellen explained clearly that we are apologising for what happened and I’ve re-published his apology made on *our* behalf.
There are 161 pages in the report, with quite a section on Beechwood.  
May well say more when I’ve properly read it.

Funeral of a 59 year old man

Attended a funeral of a 59 year old man.
The second of a family of six from Netherfield.
Was a fan of Lou Reed and the Sex Pistols. 
Things went wrong for him and he spent 25 years living on the streets of 6 of our big English cities, before coming back to Nottingham.
He’s helped by Framework and the Friary, and Nottingham City Homes are able to offer him a flat in one of their former warden-aided complexes in The Meadows.
He makes friends with the neighbours, frequently hailed people and joined them for a chat, and often handed out lollipops as a gesture of friendship. He found contentment.  
He died on City Council Election Day from lung cancer and complications.
Some days later, a sister is found and informed of his death.
See the floral tribute.  

Much more to be known I’m sure.
Plenty to reflect on.