Community Pledge Support for Callum King Who Died After Falling From Eastbourne Pier Last Weekend

Callum King 19 Eastbourne Pier Drowning
Remembering Callum King, Lost But NOT Forgotten!

Callum King who would have been 19 today died last weekend after falling from Eastbourne Pier, as reported in The Argus, the article details the incident, but not the facts or history of Callum, who was a popular resident and member of ETHRAG. Callum drowned and The East Sussex coroner’s office has been informed and an inquest will follow.

How I Met Callum King

I first came across Callum last May when I was living in Percival Terrace, which is unsupported emergency accomodation, I remember seeing him outside with residents who were not the type he should’ve been hanging around with.

He would be outside a lot because he used to use the wifi, which some residents had access to, although the provider was not keen to give out the code. I remember thinking he looked really young, much younger than the 18 years he was at the time.

It was only a little later when I was in another residents room that I got to talk to Callum, he was quite shy but took a shine to another resident and former teaching assistant who often looked after some of the most vulnerable residents, he often chilled out with the elders who would look out for him.

He told me he was under the care of social services and explained he was placed in Percival Terrace by Social Services, he also told me he was a care leaver. He didn’t have a huge amount of money so residents would often band together and cook for him, I asked if he wanted help moving somewhere with more support and he said yes, so I contacted his ward councillor and Lead for Children’s Services

A Request For Help

In the email which I sent on 09/06/2016 to Cllr’s Tom Bewick and a Former Cllr for the East Brighton ward, I pleaded for help saying

Hi Tom,

Its been a mad few weeks but being a care leaver no one can say we
aren’t resilient. Anyway there is an 18 year old vulnerable care leaver in
percival terrace and i am worried about his safety.

I really this under gvmnt leglislation we should be helping this young
man get back on track, i cant allow him to slip through the net, he has
no idea what his rights are which is sad.

Tom Responded by saying

Hello Daniel,

Good to hear from you.

I’m asking Faye to set something up with me and Maggie.

I don’t like what I’m hearing about Percival Terrace and I’d like to
understand more.

Also, if the care leaver you’re assisting wants to share any details,
I’m happy to see if I can do anything.

Go well.

Tom

In a reply I provided contact details and advised

He’s got a section 17, he has a probation officer, who is putting in an
appeal to get him a duty of care until 21.

He shouldn’t be in here and we can save him.

Tom then Replied

Thanks Daniel.

Maggie and I are in close touch on this.

I did a couple of months later meet with Tom, although not much came from the 20 minute meeting, I understand that Pinaki Ghosal Director of Children’s Services was also aware of Callum’s case, however Callum was evicted from Percival Terrace for bringing friends back to his room.

There is a No Visitor Rule in place, which he breached and therefore the manager at the time called Phil ended his licence, even after we pleaded to allow him to stay.

Callum was moved to Grand Parade which was a much worse accomodation, he hated it there. After then Callum sadly like many others fell off the radar.

Moved To Eastbourne

Callum was then moved to Eastbourne, a tactic often used for residents with difficulties, as I said previously Callum wasn’t difficult, he was hiding pain which I will not go into.

Sources in Callum’s family said Callum made friends in Eastbourne, but the events surrounding his death will come out, but thats is not for this blog post, that is for later. He was not rough sleeping, he was sofa surfing due to previous evictions from emergency accomodation with a friend.

He was loved and often supported by family, he was NOT neglected by his family and he certainly DID NOT commit Suicide. The Truth Will Come Out!

Community React and Pledge Support

I have been so affected by Callum’s passing, that I thought it would be a nice touch to honour Callum and help his family during this difficult time, they are firstly wanting answers around what happened on the day of Callum’s death and obviously need to grieve.

I have set up a Crowdfunding campaign to help toward the funeral costs and the local community and donors from across the country have acted pledged support.

If you knew Callum or want to help his family you can do so by going to Callum’s JustGiving page.

Did You Know Callum?

If you want you can like and comment on a Memorial Facebook page which has been set up by family here.

You can also leave your messages of goodwill below in the comments section below.

Happy 19th Birthday Callum, your cheeky personality, smile and kindness to others will be remembered by your friends at ETHRAG. Your Family loved you loads and loads and I truly hope the answers everyone seek are provided.

Sleep tight young man xx

 

 

18 Year Old Care Leaver Found In Azaro Doorway Hove Sleeping Rough

18 Year Old Care Leaver Found Rough Sleeping In A Hove Doorway: Community Activists Rally in Support To Re-house.

On Monday 1st of May I was walking home in Hove when I noticed a young lad sleeping in a doorway outside a closed commercial restaurant, If you live in Brighton and Hove you will be used to seeing people sleeping rough, but its rare to see someone so young so I approached him.

It was a wet, cold and windy night, normally when I approach rough sleepers I give my name first to break the ice as I know it can be intimidating when approaching people in the evening, I gave him a few quid and explained I was homeless last year.

I asked his name and he reluctantly muttered his name Joey back, I asked his age and he said he was 18 and a care leaver, I explained I was also a previously looked after child, which I think made he relax a little more, I was quite taken aback myself and told him to wrap up warm.

I explained to Joey I was a housing campaigner and asked how long he was rough sleeping he said “4 weeks this time”, and I could tell he was streetwise, I then went home. I couldn’t get the thought that a care leaver so young was living on the streets, and in particular Joey’s story evoked some emotion me as I had a little cry for the lad. I had to go back to help him, so I returned 30 minutes later.

After hearing Joey’s story I simply had to help, he was in foster care from 2 years old, due to a difficult start to his life, essentially neglected! – Having spent his whole childhood in foster care, Joey as teenager was left to fend for himself, in and out of leaving care placements Joey, like many other previously looked after children got into crime and difficulty, some of which he describes as bad treatment from staff.

I instantly wanted to help him and agreed to meet Joey the next day to help advocate and provide support and advice, which I do on a voluntary basis which recovering from my own homelessness experience.

Step One: Register Joey At Arch Homeless Healthcare Centre in Brighton

Joey mentioned he had no registered Doctor so I took him to Arch Healthcare, a new Healthcare trust co partnered by Dr Tim Worthley, as well respected homelessness medical Dr and GP.

Arch-Healthcare Brighton & Hove Tim Worthley

The process was simple, there were a few forms which needed to be completed in order for the surgery to be to able to find Joey, This took around 10 – 15 minutes to complete, later on that afternoon, the receptionist contacted Joey to confirm she had found his records and his registration was complete.

If you are a rough sleeper and want more information on Arch Healthcare you can you can call them on 01273 003930, alternatively why not visit the Arch website.

Step Two: Register With YAC (Youth Advice Centre) For Under 26 Year Old’s

We initially we to Brighton and Hove City Council to complete a homelessness application, however I was informed because Joey is under 26 years old that he would be required to attend YAC in Brighton.ymca-logo-footer-Brighton

This is a sub-contracted service run by the YMCA.

The process was simple we needed to attend a review meeting, so we dropped in, the staff were extreamly helpful and within 15 minutes after I explained his circumstances, Joey was seen by a student social worker.

The interview took around an 1 hour, Joey was nervous due to the bureaucratic questioning, however having a non authoritarian advocate like me by his side enabled Joey to relax and open up.

At the end of the interview, the staff member left the room to consult with colleagues, this basically took into account what Joey had said and accessed his priory need around homelessness and housing. Joey fulfilled the requirement for housing being a care leaver and the social worker provided a letter to hand into the council when presenting as homeless.

Although the process went around the houses and took longer, the staff were much more friendly than many I have encountered at Brighton and Hove City Council, of late!

If you are under 26 years old and want housing advice in Brighton and Hove, you can contact YAC, here’s how:

01273 624432 yacservices@ymcadlg.org 11, St Georges Place Brighton BN1 4GB YAC Website

Step Three: Present At Brighton and Hove City Council Housing Options.

Normally the most difficult stage for people, however Joey had me to advocate and fight his corner, the first staff member Elizabeth was professional, caring and polite, we then presented the letter from YAC, and was then passed to a senior advisor, called Parminder.

I wish I could praise Parminder, but she was quite rude, and at one point walked off in a strop, this is not my first encounter with Parminder and on form she failed to provide advice and forced her negative and uncooperative attitude on Joey a vulnerable 18 year old.

I wont get into the in and out’s for safeguarding and confidentiality reasons, but she was perfectly willing had I have not stepped in to allow him back on the streets.

Thankfully Housing Options Manager Jerry Aldous was more helpful in conjunction with Bob Proctor Senior Manager in helping to get Joey placed that evening, although an emergency placement, it was in a local emergency accommodation property.

Step Four: Escort To Emergency Placement Property

I cant reveal the location, but it was a property run by Helgor Trading.

I asked Joey for feedback, he advised the Manager was welcoming, the room was good and I understand he felt comfortable, which is nice to hear.

Obviously being a rough sleeper, Joey had nothing but the clothes he had on, whilst not showering for 4 weeks, I sent out a plea to community activists and they answered in there droves.

A colleague and DBS Checked Activist called Jim Deans provided Joey with toiletries, and fresh clothing, I understand Helgor gave Joey fresh towels, and through ETHRAG, I was able to get Joey a small food package.

Conclusion

I hope this blog post gives those of you reading a greater understanding of the process and challenges as well as providing insight into peoples generosity locally, it just goes to show that with co-operation we can indeed change peoples lives.

I saw Joey’s face when he was placed into secure accommodation and I can tell you that it was well worth all the stress and complication.

Brighton and Hove City Council have promised to bring a Temporary Accommodation Board into the City and I hope this process demonstrates that collaboration and feedback between service providers, landlords, council staff and residents shows that we can make a difference to peoples lives and take people off the street and house them securely.

Thank you for reading and if you want to get involved you can always email me on daniel@survivorblog.co.uk or add me on Facebook



 

 

DESTRUCTION: Safety Fears With Council Emergency Accommodation

Destruction Leaves Residents In Fear After A Ceiling Collapses

Last year I exposed a similar emergency accommodation story, a families ceiling collapsed due to structural and disrepair issues which almost collapsed in on him. Just one year later the same thing has happened again.

The premises on Westbourne Villas Hove is an Emergency Accommodation building housing  vulnerable people, I was contacted by a concerned resident with these images.

brighton-emergency-accommodation
Four inch thick plaster covering the whole room and soaked in water

One resident said:

They’ve already been and cleaned the flat up and ushered the resident to another building, the clean up has started

I understand the initial fall happened on the Thursday evening, whilst the resident was out.

Emergency-Accomodation-Westbourne-Villas
Collapsed Ceiling at Baron Homes Emergency Accomodation Building

I was then informed on the Friday that at around 1:30pm in the afternoon, the Emergency Accommodation building began shaking and then another fall happened.

emergency accomodation two huge holes in the ceiling baron homes
Two huge holes left after the ceiling collapses

ETHRAG (Emergency And Temporary Housing Residents Action Group) have raised this and other incidents with ward councillor’s Tom Bewick and the lead for homelessness Clare Moonan with the images and our concerns.

Clare Moonan was contacted by ETHRAG and has responded saying:

I will make some enquiries into this property and get back to you.

Emergency Accommodation Tips For The Council

  1. 19-20 Westbourne Villas, Hove needs to be inspected by Health and Safety and Council Structural Surveyors.
  2. The Building needs to be given the green light as safe.
  3. Ward Councillors need to ask for the inspections reports for these properties and see if these issues have been raised previously.
  4. Ward Councillors need to visit the building and talk with residents.
  5. Brighton and Hove City Council need to change the regulations around Temporary Accommodation and require landlords to provide structural surveys to ensure safety standards.

At A Recent Committee Meeting

Watch me ask the question at the Housing & New Homes Committee – Wed, 18th Jan 2017 – 4:00 pm – via the Brighton & Hove City Council Webcasting here.

On the 18th January I asked the council this question:

Can the council explain why they do not request and record structural survey reports for Emergency Accommodation buildings which house the vulnerable?

The Chair Anne Meadows said this

Structural Surveys remain the responsibility of the building owner or head licensee, the contracts contain standards required of the accommodation.

I then raised a further question stating the the Town, Country and Planning Act states that when buildings are listed that its the councils responsibility to enforce action to retain the buildings structure in accordance with the grade listed status.

The response was 

I think we are going to have to get a written response to this, a full written response will be sent on to you. We will circulate the response to all members of the committee.

Basically people they the council are actually liable when these buildings are listed and they knew this, so they accepted it requires a written response, basically I was armed with knowledge know they would provide a pitiful response to my initial response which has to be submitted 7 days before to give them time to respond.

Your supplementary question is hidden and thats the key question in these matters, get the avoidance of responsibility in response to question number one and follow up with a killer question.

The Labour Council Needs To Do More

The images above, this blog and the people out there daily helping others deserve a voice and need to be heard, on some issues we are being heard, quietly! We are actually giving the councillors heads up yet they are still not listening.

The fact is these landlords like Baron Homes, are making over £1100 in total per room when you include management fees, now this regular income spread across literally 100’s of rooms in the city provides a nice regular income, which can be borrowed against and even re-mortgaged.

But the income continues, this capital is then used to buy more buildings and feed the role they now play in society, that is to literally suck the welfare state dry, if you consider tenants are vulnerable and often unemployed then this money is coming from housing benefit money.

The tax payer is paying for this poor practice, which has little regulation and safeguarding in place to protect the vulnerable with a legally binding housing duty, its these people who ultimately suffer and until this council realises this and walks with the people, I fear for the day when we have a catastrophe here in Brighton and Hove and lose lives.

Change needs to happen and it needs to happen fast Labour and Brighton and Hove City Council.

19-20 Westbourne Villas Hove, Baron Homes Ceiling Collapse Image

Ceiling Collapses as Emergency Accommodation Building Shakes Violently in Westbourne Villas Hove

Last year I told the story of a 26 year old care leaver who was and is still living in Percival Terrace, you see a ceiling collapsed due to structural and disrepair issues which almost collapsed on him and his family, one year later its happened again in Westbourne Villas.

19-20 Westbourne Villas in Hove is an Emergency Accommodation building housing the some of most vulnerable people, on Friday I was contacted by a concerned resident with these images.

19-20 Westbourne Villas Hove, Baron Homes Ceiling Collapse Image
4 inch thick plaster covering the whole room, it looks like a sight from a disaster movie.

One resident said

They’ve already been and cleaned the flat up and ushered the resident to another building, the clean up has started

I understand the initial fall happened on the Thursday evening, whilst the resident was out.

Collapsed Ceiling at Baron Homes Emergency Accomodation Building Image Westbourne Villas
Collapsed Ceiling at Baron Homes Emergency Accomodation Building

I was then informed on the Friday that at around 1:30pm in the afternoon, the building began shaking and another fall happened.

Two Huge Holes in The Ceiling Baron Homes
Two Huge Holes in the Ceiling

ETHRAG The Emergency And Temporary Housing Residents Action Group, which I founded and am secretary of have discussed this and other incidents and contacted the ward Councillor Tom Bewick and the lead for homelessness Councillor Clare Moonan with the images and our concerns.

Clare Moonan was contacted by ETHRAG and has responded saying:

I will make some enquiries into this property and get back to you.

What Needs To Happen

  1. 19-20 Westbourne Villas, Hove needs to be inspected by Health and Safety and Council Structural Surveyors.
  2. The Building needs to be given the green light as safe.
  3. Ward Councillors need to ask for the inspections reports for these properties and see if these issues have been raised previously.
  4. Ward Councillors need to visit the building and talk with residents.
  5. Brighton and Hove City Council need to change the regulations around Temporary Accommodation and require landlords to provide structural surveys to ensure safety standards.

At A Recent Committee Meeting

Watch me ask the question at the Housing & New Homes Committee – Wed, 18th Jan 2017 – 4:00 pm – via the Brighton & Hove City Council Webcasting here.

On the 18th January I asked the council this question:

Can the council explain why they do not request and record structural survey reports for Emergency Accommodation buildings which house the vulnerable?

The Chair Anne Meadows said this

Structural Surveys remain the responsibility of the building owner or head licensee, the contracts contain standards required of the accommodation.

I then raised a further question stating the the Town, Country and Planning Act states that when buildings are listed that its the councils responsibility to enforce action to retain the buildings structure in accordance with the grade listed status.

The response was 

I think we are going to have to get a written response to this, a full written response will be sent on to you. We will circulate the response to all members of the committee.

Basically people they the council are actually liable when these buildings are listed and they knew this, so they accepted it requires a written response, basically I was armed with knowledge know they would provide a pitiful response to my initial response which has to be submitted 7 days before to give them time to respond.

Your supplementary question is hidden and thats the key question in these matters, get the avoidance of responsibility in response to question number one and follow up with a killer question.

The Labour Council Needs To Do More

The images above, this blog and the people out there daily helping others deserve a voice and need to be heard, on some issues we are being heard, quietly! We are actually giving the councillors heads up yet they are still not listening.

The fact is these landlords like Baron Homes, are making over £1100 in total per room when you include management fees, now this regular income spread across literally 100’s of rooms in the city provides a nice regular income, which can be borrowed against and even remortgaged.

But the income continues, this capital is then used to buy more buildings and feed the role they now play in society, that is to literally suck the welfare state dry, if you consider tenants are vulnerable and often unemployed then this money is coming from housing benefit money.

The tax payer is paying for this poor practice, which has little regulation and safeguarding in place to protect the vulnerable with a legally binding housing duty, its these people who ultimately suffer and until this council realises this and walks with the people, I fear for the day when we have a catastrophe here in Brighton and Hove and lose lives.

Change needs to happen and it needs to happen fast Labour and Brighton and Hove City Council.

Growing Concerns For A Victim of crime after trail of blood is found leading from emergency accommodation building in Brighton and Hove

As you know I like to set the record straight, I was contacted at 6am this morning from a resident and member of ETHRAG, saying “Someone has been stabbed at the baytree” The Baytree is an Emergency Accommodation Building in Brighton and Hove, recently sold by the Brighton Housing Trust to Lincar Investments Limited.

The Initial Pictures Received From A Distressed Resident

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can imagine the accounts and the initial evidence concerned me, there was an incident a few months back where I witnessed somebody jacking up outside this same building and false promises from Angelique Shareholder of Lincar Investments have not helped to prevent this. We were promised CCTV after reports of burglaries and violence to protect the residents.

The Vulnerable residents some 25 or so really have had enough, there is currently no 24 hour staff coverage of this property, which just like percival terrace has no full time manned staff. There is a ban on visitors, which I believe is helping to cause these issues, the company will say the people are vulnerable as do the council and that visitors risk harm to residents, however if they really cared then why has it taken them over one year to fit CCTV?

Yes folks following this incident they have finally fitted CCTV! – tell that to the victims of crime over the last 12 months. The no visitor rule and no 24 hour staff is a result of cut backs, this company receive over £850 a month in payments from Brighton and Hove City Council, plus bonuses so they are quids in, why are they putting profit before people?

Walking up St James’s Street in Kemptown I discovered Blood Trail

Just on the corner of Camelford Street I found a puddle of blood which had dried, I followed the trail some 350 yards to the entrance of the Baytree Emergency Hostel(images below)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was a police car on site and a forensic vehicle, I saw a policeman come out and said I was the founder of ETHRAG and received a report of a stabbing, the policeman reported to me it was a burglary, my initial thought was why the blood?

Nonetheless we will find out what happened, residents were concerned for a young female who lived in the room, who has not been seen. The trail of blood ended on Camelford Street in the middle of the road almost as if the person got into a vehicle.

Here is a video I made walking back down St James Street in Brighton and Hove this morning.

Sussex Police have asked anyone who may have witnessed anything or seen anything out of the ordinary to contact 101 quoting reference 118 of the 25/11.

Meeting Tonight

I’ve also been informed that at 6pm tonight residents were invited to percival terrace for a meeting, as of yet I have no details of what the meeting was about, this is because just two weeks ago I was banned from entering any Helgor Trading Limited and Lincar Investments Properties, hopefully I can update later on what has come to light.

Do you Live in Emergency or Temporary Accommodation in Brighton and Hove?

If so ETHRAG is the first residents association in the UK which is specifically for residents living in emergency and temporary accommodation. We started to help provide you with a voice, you can join us by going to our Facebook page or by emailing daniel@survivorblog.co.uk.
Remember together we can change things forever!
I really hope the city council work to come up with a safeguarding policy standard to protect the vulnerably housed in the city and fast, before we have more deaths and victims of crime, in places which are safe and secure.
Caroline Visiting Windsor Court in 2015 Image

Damp, Dark & Depressing: Caroline Lucas on Windsor Court Brighton

Today I came across an article related to a visit from the Co Leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas last year, she said

Each of the rooms I’ve seen has been damp, dark, and depressing. The inner courtyard reminds me of a prison with the metal staircases and floors that run off it.

Prison indeed, I remember when I went to Windsor Court to leaflet for ETHRAG, I literally thought of the ITV Prison Drama, Bad Girls.

The Lift was broken and residents informed me that there was a guy in a wheelchair who was stranded and housebound for three weeks.

So why do Brighton and Hove City Council keep trying to place the most vulnerable people in Windsor Court?

Why indeed? – I personally believe that the officers have some connection with the owners, these are the same owners that recently evicted two single mothers.

Bobby Carver, A Paraplegic stranded in a Temporary Accommodation attic flat told me today that Jerry Aldous a Housing Options Manager is trying to house him in Emergency Accommodation, but guess where….. Windsor Court!

He is utterly livid and said “I am in no way moving in there couldn’t even get in the bloody building anyway they can f**k of if they think there moving me into that mould filled drug den”

Bobby went on to say he would “only end up a prisoner in there as well”.

Exciting News

Caroline Lucas and Peter Kyle both MP’s In Brighton and Hove have agreed to meet with ETHRAG residents in a ground breaking move set up and organised by myself to see if we can tackle the issues surrounding Temporary Accommodation.

Do you live in Emergency or Temporary Accommodation?

If you live in Brighton and Hove, you can join ETHRAG! We are a residents association run by people who are insecurely housed.

Check out our Facebook Page for more information.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: