‘Swimming against tide’ to aid vulnerable in Staple Hill

Published on: 02 May 2016

STAPLE Hill councillors have reacted to a report claiming “problematic individuals” were being moved into the area.
The document, which was presented to South Gloucestershire Council’s Communities Committee, revealed the Pendennis Road area is still the authority’s most deprived area.
It said Merlin Housing Association had moved people into the Pendennis estate, “reducing confidence and increasing crime”.
But Labour councillors Ian Boulton and Shirley Potts say these “problematic individuals” are the victims of poverty and blamed the knock-on effect of government cuts for many of the issues in the area.
“While Staple Hill continues to be a great place to live and work for many people, we know that a significant minority of our residents are victims of poverty and the associated problems this can bring,” they said.
“Cuts to support for our most vulnerable residents can have a desperate effect on them and our poorest families are usually the hardest hit. For example we recently learned that 62 per cent of all Merlin Housing Association tenants who now have to pay Bedroom Tax are in arrears with their rent and we know that more and more people are now reliant on foodbanks to feed themselves.
“We are working hard to get the local resources to help lift people out of poverty, however with the current Government it often feels as if we are swimming against the
tide.”
The report went on to say the closure of the City of Bristol’s Soundwell campus had a “major effect” on residents living in both Staple Hill and Kingswood.
The two areas, which border each other, are among the council’s six Priority Neighbourhoods. This means they are areas “where higher numbers of people don’t achieve their full potential, have poorer health outcomes, are employed in less well paid jobs or are unemployed and there are some higher levels of crime”.
There are initiatives in place to support people in Staple Hill, including the Staple Hill Regeneration Partnership.
Among other schemes, the partnership runs Our Place Community Flat in Berkeley House, Nelson Road which provides computer and kitchen facilities and a meeting room.
Councillors Boulton and Potts said people from the partnership were dedicated to helping  residents affected by poverty.
“We urge local people to play their part by supporting the Staple Hill Regeneration Partnership whose members are working hard with the council and other agencies to improve the quality of life of residents,” they said.

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