Camborne: Do big issues show town's two faces?
THE FRONT page of the West Briton dated August 18 shows exactly what kindness, generosity and compassion exists in Camborne.
The response to the provision of food for the foodbank was overwhelming. This leads me to the reported remarks from the Rev Firbank in Cornwall Community News. What makes it OK for the Mr Firbank to air his views, but not a young Camborne man? Also, why are the views of the residents being viewed as controversial and unwelcome? These are the same residents who care for the community, they live in Camborne and have a right to have an opinion. To quote Mr Firbank, "Sometimes when you start something you don't know where it will end and you cannot control where it will end". He was speaking about the Facebook campaign but this quote and other quotes he made could easily have applied 20 years ago to the start-up of the New Connection tiny drop-in centre. According to the Coastline website, New Connection now offers crisis accommodation to 500 people every year. The people are a mix of homeless, rough sleepers, offenders, people with drug and alcohol problems, mental health issues and learning disabilities. It has 50 units of accommodation: nine in Redruth, eight in Pool, 22 in Camborne and 11 at Tarne West. The maximum stay is two years. There are 30 full and part-time staff. On the website is a map showing where the New Connection Centre is in Camborne and how it can be accessed from the railway station. It appears that from a well-meaning conception, the New Connection Centre has grown to an overpowering size. Perhaps it is time for a public debate. I am sure many would like to know why it is necessary to publish a map and directions.
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THE TWO faces of Camborne (West Briton, August 18): 1 – Foodbank shelves filling up fast with food for the needy; 2– Facebook campaign to force the closure of a Camborne centre for the homeless.
I READ the article in last week's West Briton about the foodbank being run in Camborne. There was a similar story on the local ITV news programme the day before.
In both articles it was stressed that some people were literally starving having not eaten for, in some cases, days.
The only question nobody seems to ask is, "what have these people spent their generous Social Security benefits on?"
I WAS "invited" to join the Facebook group, Get the New Connection out of Camborne, from a person on my friends' list. This particular group makes you a member without your knowledge or consent. If you happen to spot that you are on their members' list it is down to you to take yourself off. I was horrified at this. So although the group claims to have 1,800 members to date it is not clear how many of these members have chosen to join. Before I took my name off I looked at the content and was shocked to read that it was in part, hate crime.
To keep it brief the claims made about the people that use the New Connection Centre appeared libellous and salacious. It was so sad to read the anger and bitterness from people in our community. If indeed any of the events described were accurate then the police should be involved so matters can be dealt within the law, not by means reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials.
I am from Camborne and visit the shops regularly with my young family. I have not felt intimidated or threatened. I use the town square and notice that a variety of people also do. If I were to witness any illegal/offensive behaviours I would report it to the police. So far I have not had any problems.
I do not know a lot about the New Connections Service. Having just looked at their web page I am impressed at the description of the service offered to this disadvantaged minority. I know people with alcohol problems and it is true to say that many alcoholics could be one or two steps away from needing a service such as New Connections. The service also works with people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and drug dependence. I dread to imagine our town if we kick one disadvantaged minority out of town. Who would we pick on next? Who else does not fit in? There must be other people that we could boot through the door too? If we keep picking on vulnerable groups one day Camborne will be empty.
Camborne has many big issues. Can we use the wasted energy on banishing New Connections and channel it creatively to change the big things? Can we tackle the poverty and deprivation? The high levels of child abuse and domestic violence?
Can we decrease the teenage pregnancy rate? Can we improve health outcomes? Can we increase the levels of employment? What is going on behind closed doors in our town is much more worrying with deeper ramifications than people being drunk and disorderly in public areas.