Over the past month I have personally recovered eight needles beach side in Redcar. This, where we take our children to play and run barefoot. I'm hearing a lot of sightings of needles in alleys, shelters and doorways right along the high street and seafront. Many users are conscientious, educated and responsible enough to dispose sensibly, however this obviously isn't the case with many others. How do we tackle this?
Lifeline www.lifeline.org.uk/about/ is a charity doing valuable work to assist and support users "We work with individuals, families and communities both to prevent and reduce harm, to promote recovery, and to challenge the inequalities linked to alcohol and drug misuse’.
We respect Lifeline and admire their work however the unit in Redcar is wholly in the wrong location as the majority of users reside in the west of Redcar not the east. This means we are encouraging the behaviour we are experiencing and the evidence is undeniable. Relocate Lifeline nearer to those who require their services and I'm sure we will see a dramatic decline in abandoned needles.
Aside from this the anti social element in and around our town is on the increase. Attempted break ins, impromptu fires, public drinking, vandalism, neighbourhood issues and I've hardly even begun. People are sitting amongst rubbish. Dog fouling anywhere in our open spaces is common place and when you look around at each other, you may believe you're on your own in your concern with all these factors. You aren't. People are resilient and often don't like to make a fuss.
We are dogged by Network Rail's negligence over a seemingly easy level crossing fix, gas works dug up on our main streets during a national holiday and a neighbourhood department not cleaning the beach or emptying bins from the night before. They aren't sending staff out until 7am and therefore limit their cleaning times.
The issues mentioned are not impossible to solve. They can be managed but there has to be a willingness to do so on all levels within the council, police and community. We need decision makers to work together on a strategic long and short term plan.
This is not happening and that's why things are breaking down and steadily getting worse. For all the noise we make at FRED to get cogs rolling, the machine stops when we (all of us residents) don't complain. I know that this has been said at management level in the council. If we don't complain they will save on their budget by cutting hours and services.
Currently within the council we have managers off at the same time whereas staff cannot be, long term sick with no interim replacement, officers covering different departments and overworked, confusion over who takes responsibility of certain issues and a depleted ground force and services following the 53% cut in government funding during this administration. We desperately need an MP and administration who can deliver better central funding to Redcar so we can replenish our internal structure and grow.
Our community groups are amazing and together with dog walkers can work with the authorities to be the eyes and ears and idea creators for this town. These doors need to be flung wide open.
In the meantime though... Here's your opportunity to share my frustration. Click the link and save the page to your browser. Use it and use it often. Complaining is good. Never be afraid to do so. Complaining shows you care. Thank you.