Homeless service under threat of closure

Six homeless people have said they, and many others, will have nowhere to go if a homeless shelter is closed down at the end of this month.

Hull Homeless and Rootless Project (Hull HARP) is due to close at the end of this month due to a lack of funding but service users want it open because it’s their only means of getting a bed for the night.

Gary Haagensen said; “I came out of prison on 3rd February after doing three months, I had two nights on the streets and the only reason I’m not on the streets now is because of this place, there’s nowhere else I can go!”

Chris Sever was in prison for four and a half months and was released on 19th December; “I had nowhere else to go so I came here,”

Hubert Lawanson was released from prison on 27th January and came to the night hostel for the first time tonight and also said there was nowhere else he could go.

The homeless problem, however, reaches much further than just people who have just come out of prison.

David Wilkinson became homeless on 19th November because his benefits were put under sanction and he found himself unable to pay his rent and bills, he said; “I haven’t got anywhere else I can go, I’m not well so they put me up in the sick room here;”

John Daddy lost his council flat in 2013, he was sofa surfing for a while and then just sleeping rough and has been going to stay at Dock House since it reopened in the run up to Christmas but again he says there’ll be nowhere for him to go if it closes down again.

Malcolm Geoffrey Stork said he’s been let down by his probation officer who was apparently more interested in “Having a cup of coffee;” than helping him with a housing application.”

Mr Daddy also said; “They need to set up a bonding process again so people can get help with paying a bond to secure accommodation.

Mr Sever said it “Winds me up more than anything else;” when he sees an empty council property.

A member of Dock House staff said he couldn’t speak about the projects current situation but someone would be able to speak to the manager the next morning.

Mr Wilkinson also said that it offers help such as getting regulars into hostels, an outreach service which sees staff going out to give hot drinks to people who are out on the streets at night and a breakfast club for people who have been on the streets overnight.

While I was there talking to them a man arrived in a white van and handed out 5 meals from a fish and chip shop, including sausage and chips, pattie and chips and fish and chips.

As a previously homeless person myself I know how much these people are suffering, almost feeling crushed by life itself, something needs to be done to save this service and very quickly.

Huddersfield Giants 0 Hull FC 19

Hull FC started their Super League XX campaign with a resounding win over top 4 side Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium yesterday.

From minute 1 the Airlie Birds controlled their opponents and never released the grip they had on them.

Being handed penalty after penalty, possession and territory Huddersfield were afforded many chances but a cast iron defence from Hull was more than a match for what appeared to be an attack that lacked fluidity and creativity.

With 2013 Man of Steel Danny Brough having a retched game against his former club the Giants looked disjointed and never really threatened to break Hull’s vice like grip on proceedings.

Hull took the lead halfway through the first half with a well worked try. New signing Marc Sneyd worked a space on the last tackle with fast feet and passed to Kirk Yeaman, with the home defence closing in on the centre he managed to get the ball to winger Fetuli Talanoa who squeezed over in the corner.

Sneyd missed the touchline conversion to that try but was on target shortly before half time with a penalty which saw his team go into the break with a very deserved 6-0 lead.

The second half started much the same way as the first half had gone as both sides searched for weaknesses in their opposition but it was Hull who struck again on 51 minutes as full back Jamie Shaul got on the end of a deft little grubber kick by Sneyd for his first try of the game despite the attention of several Huddersfield defenders.

Huddersfield were clearly becoming more and more frustrated, Brough in particular, and the inevitable mistakes began to creep in.

Shaul made the game safe for the visitor’s in the 58th minute, skirting across the Huddersfield defensive line he suddenly raced past Brough and went through a huge gap to dash 30 meters and touchdown under the posts, Sneyd adding the conversion.

A drop goal from Sneyd put the icing on the cake and with sheer defensive resolve the black and white’s held on to stop the Giants scoring and lay a particular ghost to rest by holding a team who had inflicted a club record defeat on them less than 18 months ago to nil on their own ground.

Comparisons will no doubt be drawn between this performance and the 28-0 humiliation Hull handed to their neighbour’s Hull KR six months ago but they don’t really bare comparison, this Hull FC team look a very different proposition compared to the class of 2014 and now Super League has been warned.

Attendance 7,737

Man of the Match. Marc Sneyd



Hull: Tries Talanoa, Shaul 2. Goals Sneyd 3 plus 1 Drop Goal

Martin Green Presentation

City of Culture company Chief Executive Martin Green has delivered a presentation of his previous work and ongoing work to students, lecturers and officials of Hull School of Art and Design in the Horncastle Building.

Featuring much on his experience as Executive Producer for the opening and closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Mr Green laid out extremely impressive credentials to a captivated audience as to why he is the man to deliver the City of Culture celebrations in 2017.

“Ceremonies show who we were, who we are and, most importantly, who we wish to be,” Mr Green told the audience.

He showed videos of the opening ceremony for the London Olympics and the Beijing Olympics as well as videos of the preparations for the opening ceremony in 2012.

Being both engaging and entertaining he explained, sometimes in quite comedic ways, how he helped deliver on promises that had been made about the games, he also spoke of his involvement with the o2 Arena.

He then carried on by explaining about what is expected for Hull 2017 saying “We’re not at the end of the road, we’re at the beginning of it, we’re the gateway to Yorkshire,”

Mr Green also said that a volunteering initiative will begin at the start of 2016 because of the size and complexity of such an operation.

Taking questions from the audience he continued to engage with everybody there and still had time, despite his busy schedule, to talk to people afterwards, both inside and outside the building.

One man from the south bank said; “When Hull won the bid I was dreading it, I thought typical, more money to Hull and still nothing for us, but after today I’m actually genuinely looking forward to it,”

Mr Green also explained that Hull will do City of Culture in a unique way because it is a unique place.

“I believe culture can move mountains,

“The bid was good, it won, we’re curating what is in the bid, that’s our central act,” He concluded.

HSAD Commission for Green Port Hull

Hull School of Art and Design (HSAD) hosted a launch for their commission for artwork to be shown at the Siemens development at Green Port Hull.

ABP Projects Manager, Humber Laura Morrish and ABP Engineering Manager Paul Hatley gave a presentation laying out the size of the plan for the development which will cover 57 Hectares, the equivalent of 130 football pitches, and will see 7.5 Hectares of land reclaimed from Alexandra Dock.

The site will include a facility for the manufacture, assembly, testing shipment and on-going maintenance of offshore turbines which will be more than double the size of the wind turbines that we see inland.

The commission for HSAD is for 6 sculptures that will be placed along a public right of way at the north end of the site which will be placed on concrete plinths which are 2 meters in diameter and raised 450 millimeters.

There will also be 3 exhibition boards measuring 5.9 meters by 2.9 meters and 4 information boards.

Students from HSAD are expected to come up with their individual design ideas. The students will visit the site on 9th February and will have time from March to May to work up their designs before issuing them on May 8th.

A review panel will choose the design on 26th May and students will then have June to October to produce final designs and then October to March to actually prepare the artwork before it is installed in April 2016.

There was also a presentation from Spearfish, who students will work alongside if their design is successful. Spearfish were started in Manchester as a small artistic company but these days are internationally known for their institution of the Eurocultured Festival and the artistic workshops they offer which are delivered all over Europe.

After the main presentations and a short break there was a split into 5 break out groups to facilitate candidates with information they need regarding the work space and what is expected of them.

The themed break out groups included themes of Project Purpose, Benefits and Spin offs, Place and Site, Material Scope, Connections, Audience and Interaction and Ephemeral Pieces.

After about half an hour the break out groups came back together to give their feedback which included discussion about potential artwork, artists maybe working together and about research needed like a public consultation with the residents of Victoria Dock who will be affected by this installation.

ABP also provided drawings of the plans for the development and also stats and facts such as the fact that they handle around one quarter of the UK’s seaborne trade and contribute ¬£5.6 Billion to the economy.

Rosie Millard, Hull and City of Culture

When Hull won the bid for City of Culture 2017 Rosie Millard could have been forgiven for climbing to the top of the building she was in at the time and screaming about it with sheer excitement.

She may have been born and raised in Wimbledon but she has enduring memories of her adopted city from her time studying English and Drama at University of Hull.

Now talking to me in the bar area of the Holiday Inn on the marina she cuts a very relaxed figure but one which has a burning desire bubbling just under the surface. It is a desire to see Hull as a place of growth and economic stability in 2017 and beyond.

Upon being asked how the plans are going so far for Hull’s year in the spotlight she says “The plans are going very well so far.

She continues to tell me “The year will be broken up into 4 quarters based on Hull, the first quarter will be Made in Hull, the second is Roots and Routes, the third is Freedom and will tie in with the Freedom Festival and the final quarter will be based on Quirkey and Hullness.

Going more in depth she says that the first quarter is all about things that have come from Hull such as bridges and works of art. She also explains that the second quarter is more about Hull’s heritage, what it’s known for and why people want to come here because it’s removed enough from the glare of London and has its own identity.

The third quarter is to be based around the exploits of William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery and the final quarter will be celebrating Hull’s quirks like cream telephone boxes.

“We’ve looked at the bid to see what made it so strong and why Hull won and now we’re expanding on it.

Telling me that it will be totally unique and will not resemble anything like what places like Liverpool and Derry did in their year in the spotlight she says “It will be great that all the events will only be seen in Hull.

Continuing with great excitement she says “UK City of Culture is for places that have had economic difficulty but now you can see the growth that Hull is attracting.

“We won’t build a hotel in Hull but I would think that somebody will now.”

I asked her what she thinks to what’s happening at Hull Truck Theatre with the announcement of them receiving an 8th bailout in 4 years, she replied “Many contemporary theatres are regularly in trouble and it was always going to be difficult moving from Spring Street but Mark Babych is a great artistic director and I’m sure he’ll get it back on an even keel.”

She also tells me that Rufus Sewell is the man behind the recently announced deal between the National Theatre and Hull and says it’s great that they will bring more great shows to venues like Hull New Theatre.

She says that having Hull City in the Premier League has also brought growth and she thinks Steve Bruce is a great manager and that he will get them away from the relegation zone.

Asking her about rugby league she answers with great purpose “I think it’s fantastic that Hull has 2 Super League teams. Rugby is very strong and important in Hull and it’s great that there are 2 teams who are so connected to different areas of the city.”

She also reminds me of Hull Stingrays Ice Hockey team saying “My son loves Ice Hockey.”

Asking her about Kardomah 94 and what might a small place like that bring to the party Rosie tells me “It has a lot of potential, Malcolm Scott has got some great plans there like a projection from across the road onto the outside of the building.”

Mentioning her comments about how she thought “Grafton Street was the coolest place to live in Hull” when she was studying at the university she says “Yes it was, with Paul Heaton at one end and Roland Gift at the other.”

I ask her what she thinks to the culture here now and if it is as exciting now as it was in 1984 and she assures me it’s every bit as exciting now and more.

She also tells me that when she was studying here that there was nothing on the marina and says it is now an amazing place.

The overriding fact that has come out of our conversation seems very much to be that City of Culture is about engaging with the people here and not from anywhere else, Rosie Millard is one very energetic cog in what appears to be a very well oiled machine, and with her boundless enthusiasm for the job at hand I believe Hull really can’t go far wrong.

York City Knights v Hull FC report

A much stronger Hull FC team took to the pitch for the second game of the double header at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster yesterday against York City Knights as preperations for the upcoming Super League season continued with urgency.

A 62-0 victory over lower league opposition was never going to mean anything other than a training run but what it did, in the context of the double header, was provide Head Coach Lee Radford and the fans with a look at the whole squad at his disposal and show where combinations are working and what deficiencies need working on before the sterner tests to come.

York stood up to the test, as expected, for the first 5 or 10 minutes before ultimately succumbing to the inevitable onslaught by the fitter, stronger, faster and more agile Super League opposition.

Stand out performances for the Airlie Birds were supplied by Setaimata Sa and Jamie Shaul while new half back pairing Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd worked very well in conjunction with each other.

The one dark note for Radford was the removal of Jordan Rankin with what looked like a worrying shoulder injury, he will go for a scan today but the prognosis appears to be he will only be out for a few weeks rather than months.

Sa grabbed himself a hat-trick and provided the try scoring pass for Tom Lineham to score against his old club.

There was also a brace of tries for last years player of the year Fetuli Talanoa and, after coming on to replace Rankin, Jamie Shaul also scored a hat-trick.

Other tries were contributed by Kirk Yeaman and Dean Hadley in a completely one sided affair.

The difference between the hat-trick’s was that Sa’s was all about the brute force and aggression that he looks ready to unleash on Super League while the hat-trick from Shaul owed much to his sublime, silky skills and blinding pace.

Sa stood out not just because of his tryscoring but because of his obviously increased bulk and his sublime handling skills, he isn’t a centre who will go 70 or 80 metres to score a try but given a chance within 20 metres he looks capable of knocking the biggest forwards out of his way to get over the line.

Much of Hull’s attack will revolve around Pryce and Sneyd and, if this match was anything at all to go by, the black and white’s do appear to have answered that age old problem in emphatic style as both halves showed a willingness to work hard even in this easiest of stroles to victory with precise passing and kicking in particular.

With Sneyd adding 9 goals from 11 attempts Hull also seem to have an excellent new goalkicker although the returns of players such as Richard Whiting and Joe Westerman does give Hull other options in this department, along with Curtis Naughton who kicked well in the first game of the day.

Doncaster RL v Hull FC report

A largely youthful Hull FC side got the clubs 150th Anniversary year off to a winning start with a hard fought 29-28 victory against Championship side Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium yesterday.

With Feka Paleaaesina, Chris Green and Liam Watts the only senior players in the side for the first game of a double header for the visitors it was a team that had its roots in the aspiring under 19s team who were all out to impress the watching Lee Radford against stern opposition.

New signing Curtis Naughton was handed the chance to shine in the battle for the full back position and this he did with 2 tries and 4 goals for a personal haul of 16 points.

After a very physical opening to the game it was the visitors who settled into their rhythm first and were soon rattling up points and showing some great handling skills and stand off Jordan Abdull stood out as he swaggered around the pitch pushing even his more senior colleagues into the right areas.

Hull raced into a 16-0 lead inside the opening quarter of an hour, the first try came from Naughton after he supported a great break down the left by Abdull.

Shortly after that some fast hands from left to right allowed winger Callum Smith to finish assuredly in the corner and then scrum half Harry Tyson-Wilson made a smart break in broken play and handed on to Jack Logan for the centre to race in under the posts.

Two soft penalties allowed Doncaster to build pressure on the Hull line and Mike Kelly took advantage to barge over for the hosts first try which was converted by winger Stewart Sanderson.

A few minutes later Doncaster were in again as a fast move down their left exposed some more defensive frailties and allowed Sanderson to score in the corner, the winger hit the post with the conversion attempt but still Doncaster were back in the game at 16-10.

Hull built pressure again on the Doncaster line but a chance was spurned as the ball was dropped just 10 metres from the Doncaster line.

Hull finished the half more sprightly and a 40 metre break from Callum Lancaster down the left wing was supported by Curtis Naughton who cantered in under the posts and added the conversion as the half time hooter sounded to give Hull a 22-10 lead going into the break.

Hull started off the 2nd half with another try, fast hands between Naughton, Joe Arundel and Lancaster led to a gaping hole in the Doncaster defence which Abdull strolled through to get the try that his performance deserved, another Naughton conversion left the score at 28-10.

Russ Spiers grabbed a smart try for Doncaster to reduce the arrears to 28-16 and then a moment of controversy led to the gap being reduced to 6 points. The worrying factor for Hull was Dave Scott brushed off 5 would-be tacklers on his way to scoring but during his run a Hull player was clearly obstructed by Scott running behind one of his own team mates, but with the new obstruction rule in place the referee allowed play to carry on as Scott went over beside the posts.

By this point Doncaster were very much in the ascendency and sniffing a shock comeback victory and another try came from Jack Walton for them despite a forward pass which the referee clearly missed and so with less than 10 minutes to go the scores were level at 28 all.

However with just 4 minutes remaining Hull again showed some smart game management to build pressure on the home line and Abdull capped a man of the match performance by stroking over a drop goal to claim the victory that they deserved.

There was still time for some drama as Doncaster forced a scrum on the Hull 10 metre line but the defence scrambled well to keep them at bay and prevent any further addition to the scoring.

Feature article assignment

This following article would be written for the magazine called Real People. The target audience would be the over 30s especially those who have an interest in the problem of homelessness and also those who are maybe not aware of how much of a problem it still is. As of 2014 it is estimated that nearly 27,000 people are homeless in the UK that have been accounted for, unfortunately there are likely to be many more that we don’t yet know about. There are many council run services and also voluntary and largely church led services that aim to help people living rough and now a new service has been set up by a group in Hull to help combat this growing problem and try to get people off the streets and out the hostels and into their own home. The Genesis Project has been set up by Hull man Jerome Whittingham. When I spoke to him Mr Whittingham came across very passionately about his hopes for the new mentoring service which came about from a discussion between 12 people from different churches in Hull City Centre. Mr Whittingham said “There’s not much daytime activity to help homeless people so we discussed possibly opening a day centre but we don’t have anywhere near enough funding for that so we decided on the mentoring scheme instead. “We will put volunteer mentor’s 1 to 1 with homeless people, the idea is for the mentor and the service user to have weekly meetings so mentor’s can be a point of contact and stability. “The weekly meeting is meant to be creative, whether it be to encourage the person to use a creative skill they might have, acquire things like clothes or even furniture should they get a tenancy or just go to something like a creative writing course each week.” The Genesis Project is going to work alongside a service called Community Links who provide adult learning at William Booth House hostel as well but the overriding factor behind the project is to get homeless people into a tenancy and off the streets or out of the various hostels in the area. Mentor’s will also signpost clients to services such as charities who can help them once they achieve a tenancy but they will still also be able to use the Genesis Project mentor’s for as long as they feel they need them. The idea is that the Genesis Project will add support to what is already available. Church volunteer’s like at a soup kitchen will contact Mr Whittingham if they see someone attending there or at their church regularly who they believe may benefit from the service provided by the project. The service is available now and so far they have recruited 6 volunteer mentors but they don’t see any reason why that can’t be doubled in time. The project is receiving funding from the Church Urban Fund. Mr Whittingham is currently working three days a week developing the project and he is in charge of co-ordinating the mentors. He tells me that mentor’s expenses will be funded to a point but they don’t get a great deal of funding. There is also a hope that they would like to get mentors and clients together to go to any sort of artistic event. “We’re not jumping on the 2017 bandwagon but there are classes and events that do require attending and there will be lot’s of opportunities during City of Culture and that includes for people using our service so if there is an opportunity for them they will be encouraged to grab it.” Said Mr Whittingham. I also asked him about the few rough sleepers who appear to choose that way of life for whatever reason. He said “I know there are certain people living rough who don’t want to change their lifestyle at the moment but I hope that the project will be running for many years to come and hopefully as they get older and more vulnerable to illness they will decide to do something about their situation.” Jerome tells me that other projects that give emergency supplies like clothes, blankets, hot food and drink are still, and will continue to be, very important but the Genesis Project is hoping to be a more permanent answer to the homeless problem that exists in Hull. According to the Shelter website the most commonly held view about why people become homeless is due to that persons failings, when actually the truth is far different. There are many different personal and social factors that can contribute towards a person becoming homeless these may include any of the following factors. Individual factors such as, lack of qualifications or social support, debt- especially mortgage or rent arrears, poor physical and mental health, relationship breakdown or getting involved in crime at an early age. Family background including family breakdown and disputes, sexual and physical abuse in childhood or adolescence, having parents with drug or alcohol problems or previous experience of family homelessness. Institutional background like, having been in care, previously served in the armed forces or been in prison. There are also structural factors that can cause a person¬†to become homeless. Structural causes of homelessness are social and/or economic in nature and are often outside of the control of the individual and family concerned. They include unemployment, poverty, a lack of affordable housing, housing policies, the structure and administration of housing benefit or wider policy developments such as the closure of long-stay psychiatric hospitals. These problems require long-term policy solutions such as changes in the housing benefit system, the building of more affordable homes and ensuring that a wider cross-section of society benefits from the fruits of economic growth. The website goes on to say the three main reasons given by applicants for homelessness support from local councils are, Parents, friends or relatives unwilling or unable to accommodate them, relationship breakdown including domestic violence or loss of an assured shorthold tenancy. However these reasons are only the catalysts that trigger people into seeking assistance, and not the underlying reason that have caused the crisis to build up in the first place. For many people there’s no single event that causes sudden homelessness. Instead homelessness is due to a number of unresolved problems building up over a period of time. Mr Whittingham said there are maybe about two dozen council and voluntary services in Hull to help the homeless but they are more geared towards providing temporary relief which could be misconstrued as making rough living seem like a more viable option rather than actually reducing numbers of people who are homeless. There is a belief within the project staff that the specific problems that lead people into homelessness are better to be dealt with once the person has found suitable accommodation and is no longer living rough. Mr Whittingham went on to say, “We want to help people who have a chaotic way of life and get them standing on their own two feet, but the service we aim to provide won’t stop there, if a person believes we can still help them once they have a roof over their head we will still be there to help for as long as they need us.” There are other services for the homeless in Hull including a project called the Futures Project and there is also Humbercare who provide support once a person has found accommodation among many other projects. Now homeless people in Hull have another service to rely on.

All You Need is Hull, The Beatles and Me

Speaking to Lynda Hill, who compiled the above named book, you get a sense of just how much the fab four from Liverpool still mean to her now.

With a smile on her face and a glint in her eye in the magnificent surroundings of Holy Trinity Church it’s plain to see that she has a great enthusiasm for the band that has seemingly stood the test of time and passed it with flying colours.

The front cover of the book carries a picture of Lynda with the band. She explains to me that the photo was taken at The ABC on 24th November 1963 and goes on to say that they visited Hull 4 times.

She says “The book is my story about me and The Beatles. But not only that, it’s also the stories of other fans who had a connection to the band or other related experiences.

She continues “It’s about 1 city, 2 venues and 4 appearances. They had 2 performances at the Majestic Ballroom and 2 appearances at The ABC.

“One of the performances at the Majestic Ballroom was in 1962 and there was hardly anybody there, when they returned the following year to The ABC the place was jam packed to the rafters.”

The book was released on 20th September and Lynda did book signings in WH Smith in the Prospect Centre and at Waterstones on Jameson Street in the town centre.

The book can be bought at either of those outlets or directly via Facebook by sending a message to Lynda Hill personally or to her alternative page on there called All You Need is Hull The Beatles and Me- Book.

She also tells me about how, at the event last year marking fifty years since The Beatles had been at The ABC, she stood in St. Stephen’s on the exact same spot where she had stood fifty years before, when it was The ABC, at exactly the same time.

I also learned from her about how people from as far flung places as South America, Russia, Australia, Canada, Italy and Greece have ordered the book from her via Facebook..

Lynda is obviously a very genuinely heartwarming lady who recounts certain experiences she had with The Beatles with great zest, but don’t just take my word for it, buy her book and I’m sure you’ll also see her enthusiasm shining back at you.

Live Nativity a big hit again

Thousands of Christmas shoppers were treated to another magical Live Nativity this afternoon.

Flash mobs at St. Stephen’s and Princes Quay shopping centre’s surprised shoppers with impromptu performances that gave a new modern twist to the nativity story while other performers from NAPA took the parts of Mary, Joseph, shepherds and the three king’s.

With 2 donkey’s involved as well the performers made their way through Hull Town Centre, along Whitefriargate all the way to Holy Trinity Church for another celebratory piece of music and dancing.

Inside the church from 10 o clock in the morning was Trinity Open Market with several stalls doing a strong trade in gifts such as pictures, books and many other items all set in the magnificent surroundings of the church along with its Christmas Tree and decorations and nativity scene.

After the massive success of the recent Victorian Christmas Market trader Julie Buffey was once again involved with this market event and said that trade was going well again.

Outside the church in the afternoon there was Christmas Carol singing from the NAPA Choir before the live nativity arrived.

After the live nativity performance outside the church there was a candlelit service inside with all the lights off and many Christingle’s burning brightly with the live nativity, including the donkey’s, having made their way to the front of the church.

All in all the event again seemed to be very well run and was obviously another big hit with hundreds of people gathering outside the church for the arrival and performance of the live nativity, and many also taking places in the church for the candlelit service.