On Tuesday 14th February at 3pm, support services from across Birmingham gathered in Victoria Square to say no to cuts to supporting people. Supporters of the #saveoursupport campaign made their voices heard to Birmingham City Council by expressing their opinions on the impacts these cuts would have on the vital services these organisations provide.
Speakers from all walks of life voiced their concerns, including our own Chief Executive Jean Templeton. Here is what she had to say.
“Good afternoon, my name is Jean Templeton and I'm Chief Executive of St Basils. We provide accommodation and support for young people who are homeless or at risk in this City.
Why are we here? Alongside everyone else here today, we are here to show that housing and support services for the most vulnerable: those who are homeless, those who have experienced domestic violence and abuse, those who have mental health problems or physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and those who have nowhere to turn are important to the people of Birmingham.
We are fighting for the protection of the funds for those who are not always able to speak up and who don’t want to fall back on charity. We are speaking up because the people who depend on Supporting People services rely on all of us to provide a safe base and skilled support to enable them to turn their lives around.
I would like nothing more than to be in a position to close services because the need was no longer there, because together we had ended homelessness. However that is not the case. Instead we have a situation where homelessness is soaring; 50% more people are living on our streets than last year and the plan is to cut good quality accommodation and support services…. Does that make sense? Will this save money? No… It is perverse to be closing the very services which tackle and prevent homelessness at such a time. It is false economy because the costs will fall elsewhere on social care and health and on the criminal justice system. The social costs will fall on individuals and communities.
The line in the budget may seem like a soft target; the line in the sand must be, that as a City, we are proud of our track record of supporting the most vulnerable and whatever it takes, we will not cut that provision. It is a line we ask the Council not to cross!
We welcome the fact that the Council are listening and have already made changes to their proposals. However the proposed cuts would still mean that 450 supported housing bed spaces would be lost and 2000 people would lose the support they desperately need. We think this is unacceptable. We call on the Council to reconsider and make the right decision: NO CUTS to Supporting People and lets work together to end homelessness in Birmingham.”
If you haven't already signed our online petition to Save Our Support, please do so now:
The vote on whether the proposed cuts are implemented will be made on Tuesday 28th February. If the cuts are approved, Birmingham will lose 450 bed spaces for vulnerable people. 450 will have nowhere safe to go. And what does that mean? More people sleeping rough on our streets. This cannot be allowed to happen.
If was wonderful to see so many of our supporters in the crowd today, but we need your help again for one final push.
On Monday 27th February at 12pm #saveoursupport supporters will gather in Victoria Square for one final time to help show the council the grave consequences these cuts will have for our city. We are asking you to join us in Victoria Square to stage a sit down protest to demonstrate what these cuts will look like. We ask that you bring a blanket with you. At 12:15pm sit down in Victoria Square and wrap the blanket around you. The sad reality is that, if these cuts are approved, this will be a sight that will become much more familiar in our city.
Do we really think that is okay?
Please join us on Monday 27th February at 12pm in Victoria Square to give vulnerable people a voice.