Town centres after dark

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seahermit
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Town centres after dark

Postby seahermit » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:24 am

There have been several comments on the forum about the numerous tramps, beggars and alcoholics hanging around the centres of both Hastings and St Leonards.

Well .. it may surprise some people to learn that Hastings area may not be so bad by comparison! I went away last weekend to Dover and Folkestone. On the Friday evening soon after dark, the town-centre of Dover was largely deserted except for the down-and-outs etc. who were everywhere. I was accosted several times - even found myself being watched and then followed by a trio of dark foreign-looking characters. They changed course when I moved towards a brightly-lit convenience store, but obviously I felt very tense and intimidated. I started walking down to the docks, then realised that half the street lights were out and the area was full of dark alleys and subways - and fled back to my BnB for an early night!

Folkestone the following night wasn't quite so bad but the town centre is sprawling, again after dark the beggars and other rough-looking guys were everywhere and of course I saw no police or street wardens whatsoever in either town.

I don't understand why the authorities seem to have abandoned any attempts to regulate the situation and it appears to be a problem endemic to all town centres. I felt extremely unsafe and not surprisingly there were no well-dressed, reasonably "normal" adults at all walking about.

Back in Hastings, off the train on Sunday evening, I was astonished at my sense of relief, there were people strolling about and I felt considerably safer! Of course things do sometimes happen and it's wise to keep to main, well-lit streets. But I'm getting the impression that little Hastings isn't so bad and many other run-down town centres are probably much worse.

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Richard
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby Richard » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:17 pm

I have not seen any "dark foreign-looking characters" following me around in Hastings because they all seem to be setting up shop along Queens Road.
Many 'foreigners' are able to work as hairdressers or in mini-markets, with immediate payment and no great outlay beyond rental and equipment.
These people work in a much more cohesive manner, passing contacts and opportunities amongst themselves alone.
In Hastings there is a culture amongst some of the less well-qualified locals of going 'on the scratch' (or 'Rock & Roll' - dole) and working where they can without declaring it.

Our culture sends educated young people off to work in outfits where nobody is connected to anyone else (if they can get it) and performance is rated and rewarded (or not) according to how well they manage to suit the management targets and even hard-working individuals can be abused at the whim of a difficult manager.
Additionally this may not be the better path to follow as there are not a lot of ready-made employment opportunities locally in the first place and thus the youth tends to escape to London or elsewhere and take their chance, as before...

I don't see any EU citizens on the streets and claiming dole in Hastings and non-EU immigrants have found a niche as already explained.
Expectations are raised by the colleges claiming unlimited opportunities for enrolling on hair-brained courses that come to nought.
Our own culture is to blame and on more than one level, or so it seems to me at any rate!

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seahermit
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby seahermit » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:48 pm

There are of course many "dark" foreigners in Hastings and a number of European nationals - good luck to them, there doesn't seem to be a problem and they seem to be willing to work harder and for longer hours than many indigenous people. The reason I felt unsafe in Dover had nothing to do with anyone's ethnicity, I just felt that the whole town centre was run-down, scruffy, unpoliced and a free-run for any idle and mal-intentioned characters.

It is hard to know what stance to take towards the current culture of living on the dole/alcohol/drugs, all heavily inter-related and it is hard for agencies to help those people. The fact is that some people just give up the struggle to live in a proper fashion and need to escape in whatever fashion. They are resistant to help, many homeless persons go from hostels back to the streets because they cannot cope with the rules and restrictions. How much sympathy should one feel? Dismissing that culture as idleness/laziness is the easy and quite unrealistic (right-wing?) attitude, it would be more pertinent if politicians examined the kind of society we live in and the pressures and lack of fulfillment which drive some people to the margins, so that they feel they don't belong or matter.

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Richard
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby Richard » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:23 pm

That's a lot to take on board - seahermit.

Generally speaking, I have a lot of sympathy for individuals who are willing to offer work in return for money - as is sometimes (all too infrequently) declared visually, on placards next to some rather more intelligent individuals in the street who are then clearly worth helping.
"If you pay me I will do odd jobs" etcetera.
That is all absolutely fine and okay with me but if people want to take the proverbial and expect all of us to pay for reckless behaviour, with drugs or alcohol, then I have a lot against that mindless attitude.

I am not sure if politics are particularly relevant, because 'when push comes to shove' we can and should demand the opportunity for the unemployed to work in turn for reward.
If society prevents people from working, when money is just dished out for any number of disability conditions, then we may have to think again.

For some reason Job Centres can do no more than require vague proof of job-searches in return for payment, for those yet able-bodied and unable to hide behind a plethora of medical reasons for not working. Job Centres cannot provide work or even manage to insist upon the unemployed (and able-bodied) doing voluntary work because the effort of providing opportunities is beyond their remit or control.

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seahermit
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby seahermit » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:00 pm

I have never seen more intelligent guys in the street offering odd jobs in return for cash! If such people existed, I'd actually be interested because finding anyone to help me out with some odd jobs, which I'd find useful sometimes as I get older, has proved to be impossible! Besides the fact that I wouldn't begrudge a few quid to help some of these people if they were genuinely willing to give something back ..

I have little sympathy with those who (presumably) are on benefits but are clearly blowing quite a lot of it on alcohol/drugs instead of trying to sort out their problems. Unfortunately I know more than a few people in Hastings who seem perfectly fit but haven't worked for many years. Amongst my friends I am quite rude about them but publicly you have to be more polite and sound a bit more tolerant!

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Richard
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby Richard » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:26 pm

We will be inundated with unemployed and willing to work at this rate - assuming they can square it with the income they receive from the Universal Credit and therein lies the rub!
You know I will always help you seahermit if you need anything doing - perhaps we could start a section for people able to offer help in return for some reward?

What amused me recently was a beggar in the old town with a placard asking for money because he was trying to save up for the deposit on a flat!
I know employed people in London who are in the same predicament, let alone street-beggars in Hastings.

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seahermit
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby seahermit » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:10 am

I was trying to write (on a smartphone) a reply to your great suggestion of a "help section" on the forum - but three times my message was wiped before I could post it! It's a quirk of the website (or possibly the phone?) that, if you take too long to write a message, it times you out and tells you to log in again - even though at the top of the screen your username still clearly appears!

Never mind, tomorrow on the PC.

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seahermit
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby seahermit » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:54 pm

Richard, that was a nice thing to say, about the help. If somewhat rash! I like to be busy, also to live in an organised way, but it's been getting more difficult to achieve those things as age creeps up! When I get a little more desperate and somewhat slower, I just might take you up on that ..

I did have a useful younger guy who came in at times, helped me with shifting furniture, doing paint jobs etc. but unfortunately, like a lot of them in Hastings, he's gone a bit off his head and could do with help himself!

Your suggestion of a "help section" in the forum is absolutely excellent, should have happened before maybe. I worked for a while in a government office, then in insurance, later for a charity in Brixton (hairy!) and those experiences have often enabled me to help out people struggling with simple legal issues, filling in forms, writing letters of complaint etc. I would be quite happy to offer some skills (some DIY as well) in return for maybe a small sum or (rather like the Gumtree site) as a skills exchange or for free on occasions. How it worked would be a matter for Geoff of course but, if he likes the idea, it would probably be best for would-be helpers to submit their details plus a sentence about themselves - then that could be edited and included in some sort of listing /index. That way, it would be easier for people to find what they wanted than if they had to wade through a random series of posts.

Stay with it and nag Geoff! I think it is a brilliant idea and I can't think of anything currently operating in Hastings which is similar or would be so useful to the community.

Re: the guy displaying a notice that he was trying to gather the deposit for a flat, I'm afraid I was rather sceptical! Apart from the fact that begging would take a helluva time to deliver many hundreds of pounds, there was absolutely no way of knowing how genuine the fellow was or what proportion of the proceeds would go on liquid refreshment!

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seahermit
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby seahermit » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:24 am

No reaction?! I am surprised. A good suggestion raised here I thought, but ..

I do feel that this is a way the forum could be made more relevant and actually useful to the community, but it would of course need active interest and participation from people. Maybe it's been tried before!

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Richard
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Re: Town centres after dark

Postby Richard » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:25 pm

"I was trying to write (on a smartphone) a reply to your great suggestion of a "help section" on the forum - but three times my message was wiped before I could post it! It's a quirk of the website (or possibly the phone?) that, if you take too long to write a message, it times you out and tells you to log in again - even though at the top of the screen your username still clearly appears!"

seahermit, I have experienced this exact situation on numerous occasions from my desktop computer and it is really infuriating. Definitely a bug on this website, no offence to the wonderful Geoff intended.
The only sure way to combat this is to do a copy of the text before you post it in case it results in the request to log in, even though you were logged in already and then log in again and paste the message back in and post it again.


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