@BBCDevon Breakfast Show with Simon Bates


06 December 2016

News headlines at 08:00

Angela Kalwaites [AK]:
Exeter City Council voted unanimously last night night to approve a scheme to convert the old Richard’s Aquatics shop on Market Street into a homeless shelter.

Supporters of the plan said that if it didn’t go ahead, there was a high risk that people would die on the streets this winter.

But some businesses in the West Quarter of the city were worried it could bring trouble at a busy time of year, and put off  customers.

Exeter City Councillor Paul Bull says the shelter is much needed, and this is a good result.

Paul Bull [PB]: 
We need a city centre location. 40 rough sleepers on the street in the city centre are what’s needed to be housed.

If we look to locations outside the main city centre, the fear is the rough sleepers won’t take up the offer of a warm, safe environment, where we can engage with them.

[…more news…]

it’s just coming up to 10 past 8.

Simon Bates [SB]: 
More news about the vote last night at the Council meeting to decide whether or not to go ahead with temporary winter shelter for rough sleepers in Exeter…


It’s 22 minutes past 8.

If you were listening last Thursday, you’ll remember the story about Exeter City Council considering that plan to turn an old shop on Market Street into a temporary winter shelter…for rough sleepers. It was controversial, with many local businesses unhappy about the idea.

We spoke to Andrew, who’s been homeless on and off for 25 years – he’s slept rough as well, but he’s making a go of things by selling the Big Issue and that’s what he’s been doing in Exeter for the last 6 months. He gave us his thoughts on why winter shelters are important.

In the wintertime, it’s so cold and so freezing you try and get through 8 and half, 9 hours no warmth, no hot soup, no cup of tea, no anything  – it’s really tough. Sometimes the winter just takes people’s lives because of the cold, it takes a few and it’s really tough at this time of year. So anything where people can benefit  – hot soup, pasty, or shelter – is a great asset.

yes, I can see that.

The City Council met last night and unanimously decided to approve the scheme to convert old Richard’s Aquatics shop into a homeless shelter.

Cllr Paul Bull spoke to Harriet Bradshaw last night.

Paul Bull [PB]: 
We need a city centre location. 40 rough sleepers on the street in the city centre are what’s needed to be housed.

If we look to locations outside the main city centre, the fear is the rough sleepers won’t take up the offer of a warm, safe environment, where we can engage with them.

I’ve seen and read the reports on what Julian House has done up in Bath – they’ve been working in Bath for 40 years, the’ve been dealing with this sort of problem. I have faith in the, they say they are going to put in high-definitions CCTV cameras networked so that they can actually record instances of anti-social behaviour – and when it happen, and I don’t believe it will, they’ve taken on board the comments of the Devon & Cornwall Police’s Designing Out Crime Officer to make sure all the elements surrounding the facility of the building are addressed to reduce and eliminate crime.

Well, John Isserlis is the Ops Director of Julian House, the charity which is going to manage this shelter for the City Council. He’s on the line now.

Mr Isserlis, good morning.

John Isserlis [JI]: 
Good morning.

Thank you very much for taking the call.

The first thing – and the most important thing, I think – is that there have been concerns from local traders about this, about drinking and swearing in the Market Street area, ant-social behaviour. Can you reassure them that isn’t going to happen?

We can’t give a 100% guarantee that there won’t be any anti-social behaviour, I think the city centre is an area which experiences some anti-social behaviour already. What we can assure traders and local residents of is that we will manage the environment around the Market Street hostel. We do have a lot of experience in working with rough sleepers   on the street and in hostel accommodation, and we take our responsibility beyond the gates – or the doors – of the hostel, and take responsibility for the environment around it. We want to very much work with the local community there , and we recognise their objections and concerns, that hopefully we can change some attitudes as time goes on and get their support.

What are you actually going to offer? And for how many people?

it’s going to 90 nights accommodation, which is a replication on what Exeter City Council offered last year – over divided premises, which was St Petrock’s and Gabriel House. 90 nights of cold weather accommodation.

Up to 40 beds a night for men and women, and which would make a sizeable dent in the number of rough sleepers out on the streets. The current count is 41, but that’s a fluctuating number.

We will offer them accommodation, and try and encourage people to stay – so that people don’t stay just for 1 or 2 days, they stay consistently throughout the period. We will work with them, engage with them ,to try and create a plan where they don’t return to the streets at the end of Safe Sleep, but they move into something more considered, more appropriate for their needs and is more long lasting.

John Isserlis, I’m really sorry – we’ve got to stop it there because the line quality is so bad…but thank you very much for joining us.

John Isserlis who is the Ops Director for Julian House, the charity which is going to manage this shelter.

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