Over the year and a bit since my election I have prioritised local homeless services, writes Mansfield MP Ben Bradley.
I have tried to find out as much as possible about what causes homelessness in Mansfield, as well as what services are available and how things could be made better.
It’s been so positive to see just how many local people give their time to volunteer in all sorts of local charities.
And there have been some wins in this area recently, including Government funding in the form of the flexible Homelessness Support Grant, which is new money for the area, which, when combined with other funding pots locally, has allowed Mansfield Council to take on new frontline staff in recent months.
That includes new drugs officers to help deal with the challenge of Mamba and Spice on the streets, to protect local residents, clean up the streets, and help users access services.
I’ve been able to raise Mansfield’s specific issues with both the Homelessness Minister and the Home Secretary, who have both visited Mansfield and met local stakeholders too.
I’ve been raising money for town charities, and in particular the Beacon Project homeless centre, where I managed to secure £3,000 in new funding, and then an additional £1,000 working with the Sir John Cockle Pub, who named an ale after me and donated 10p a pint to the Beacon (a huge thank you to them).
That money will go a long way to improving services and helping more people.
This week, I held the latest of my ‘summits’ with service providers to look into future actions that could be taken.
It’s great to hear about the good work being done by people like Framework, Nottingham Community Housing and MDC too.
I’ve raised some practical suggestions to fill some gaps, and we’ll see if we can take these ideas forward.
I’ve raised the issue at the very highest level, particularly talking about drugs like Mamba and Spice in the House of Commons as I press Government to take action too.
You can find the full debate on my Facebook page.