Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Crisis critique - a response

May 21 2009
Rough sleepers are Crisis‘s first priority at Crisis Open Christmas and the charity welcomes feedback, says Micky Walsh We contacted Crisis, forwarding Outsider's letter from last issue (Letters, The Pavement, 28), asking for comment on his criticism of Crisis Open Christmas. Micky Walsh, director of client services at Crisis, told us: "We are very sorry that [Outsider's] experience of Crisis Open Christmas (COC) was not a positive one this year. COC is a huge logistical operation, and particularly due to space restrictions in Westminster this year it is a challenge to completely meet the needs of all the roughly 1,500 guests we take in over the Christmas period. "Rough sleepers are our first priority at this event. If his needs as a rough sleeper were not catered for we would welcome his feedback to ensure this is not repeated at next year's event. "Mick Bateman, the head of COC, has been forwarded the letter, and should readers wish to contact him personally, they can do so by emailing him: mick.bateman@crisis.org.uk "COC was on the whole a very successful event in 2007, offering almost 1,500 people companionship, food, warmth and a range of services that would otherwise be unavailable throughout the year. "With reader's feedback, hopefully we can make the event even better in 2008." --- Dear Sir, Mike, the driver of the Silver Lady Van (Letters and News, The Pavement, 28), is a likeable old rogue whom I got to know during his early-morning pie round. There is not, and never was, a parking problem at the Festival Hall. Clients were few because of the spasmodic days that he condescended to turn up, so he stopped going - I was one of the steadfast few who stood there in the rain on the off-chance. If he is now on Southwark Bridge Road, could you please find out the precise location and times, as I am disabled and cannot walk up and down the road for hours on the chance he is going to be there. I am also a critic of Crisis Open Christmas (Letters, The Pavement, 28). The main problem with this event is that those who have accommodation take full advantage of it at the expense of homeless people. How many well-wishers would donate to the cause if they knew people in accommodation were sponging off their good intentions? I have seen many cases which, to say the least, annoy homeless people. One gentleman had accumulated so much free clothing to sell in the markets that he was going to need three journeys to transport it all. This is also a common occurrence at the handouts during the year: people with flats often take as much food as they can carry to fill up their kitchens. The volunteers I spoke to this Christmas were astounded to find the majority of the clients were not homeless - some pretended to be, but were shown up for the charlatans they are. There needs to be a way of giving badges that cannot be copied to the homeless before this event, so that they are given their due, and the people in accommodation can be excluded to separate event sites. Segregation is the only way there will be peace amongst the two parties; there is now a deep-seated anger against those in accommodation whose selfish, conceited, self-opinionated attitude is detrimental to the welfare of the homeless. If this email found its way to whoever runs Crisis, I would be interested in an answer. Peter Tourle Dear Peter, Thank you for your letter, but as we've already asked Crisis to respond to Outsider's letter from last issue, we'll not forward this to them. However, as you can read on the previous page, you can email them directly with your criticism. If you do, please let us know what you said and how they replied - cc: office@thepavement.org.uk Certainly, on the clothing issue, Crisis is already aware that some people do try to sell clothes, which is why they started cutting labels out of donated items. On the Silver Lady Fund, we'll look into it again, and get details on when and where to find the van. Editor
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