Petition launched in protest against Shardeloes Road drug and alcohol treatment centre

Lewisham Council recently announced plans to locate a rehab centre on Shardeloes Road, which it deems a commercial centre due to the proximity of the small cluster of businesses (two of which are childcare centres) around Brockley Cross. The Brockley Cross Action Group has already declared its opposition to the proposal and now local resident Louisa has launched a petition against the plan, after she attended a recent consultation event. She writes:

I went along to the consultation last week, held in St Andrews Church in Brockley for the proposed Drug and Alcohol Treatment centre in Brockley Cross – bank building on Shardeloes Road. I was surprised by the small number of Brockley Residents – around 20 people. In the meeting we worked out that only one street had received the ‘official’ consultation document of the proposal, a survey that is totally biased. Here is the link http://lewisham-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/community_services/crsp/das

When asked, for example, what the local business shops and businesses thought of the proposal to the council a blank face was drawn by them. Majority of the prepared questions asked by the residents received either a ‘I don’t know’ answer or a blank face.  

It seems to me the council are doing their very best to keep this low key, getting this signed off by the Mayor after the consultation ends on 18thNovember.  Please see below what we can do to change that!

1. COMPLETE THE ONLINE CONSULTATION DOCUMENT
For the Council’s official consultation document, please follow this link: http://lewisham-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/community_services/crsp/das

2. ATTEND THE NEXT CONSULTATION  
Lewisham Council’s Drug & Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) are holding a consultation event Wednesday 2 November between 10am – 12 noon, 1 – 3pm or 5 – 8pm at St Peter’s Church Wickham Road, Brockley. If you would like to attend any of this event please let them know on 020 8314 3263. Depending on demand further consultation sessions may be planned.

3. SIGN THE PETITION AGAINST THE PROPOSAL

157 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great news - let's all sign this to make sure this facility isn't put in this very inappropriate location ...

Anonymous said...

Mung news - let's all react in a completely over the top fashion to something we barely understand.

Brockley Ben said...

Anon news - let's all contribute meaningfully to the debate by throwing around pointless, hackneyed "insults" instead.

Hugh said...

Just keep them away from me and my property.

Anonymous said...

At least we now have a way to collectively oppose this - council take note!

Ben said...

Not in my backyard etc etc etc.

Next there'll be more of these immigrant people etc etc

Ben said...

Not to mention the single mum asylum seekers who blight my walk to Browns every morning for a fair trade latte.

Can something be done about them too?

Mr Breakspears said...

You don't have to sign it, but it doesn't make you right. People will always have opinions. It is no good being insulting, you should come up with a great argument for your opinion instead.

Hugh said...

Most political arguments reduce to 'Whatever I prefer' or 'Me first'. Why beat about the bush? Just say what you want, don't bother rationalising it, and see which view gets the most support.

This approach has two virtues. (1) It's honest. (2) It's what happens anyway.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that everyone that signs the petition (and especially those organising it) go and spend a day volunteering at a centre like this. It may not change your views but you'll probably find it quite enlightening. I know I did.

Anonymous said...

Mr Breakspears

You're obviously quite a learned guy, where would you put so you didn't have to see it?

My own two cents would suggest places like this need to go somewhere, so why not Shardeloes Road?

50/50 said...

Yes Hugh, but "what I prefer" may be something that benefits others. I'm good like that.

We need these facilities in lewisham, not clear on the case for why it's moving here though.

Some will object no matter where it's located because of some high minded judgemental instinct or tabloid moral panic, they are wrong.

Wild Bill said...

I was surprised by the small number of Brockley Residents, and rather than consider the possibility that the rehab center wasn't actually of much concern to most normal, well adjusted people, I decided that the council must be running some kind of shady cover up scheme. 'To the blog!', I thought smugly to myself. 'I made people on the internet care about the cab company and the white vans, and now I'll make them care about this'.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people care about this - we'll see in the number who sign the survey ...

Confused.com said...

Was that satire?

Deptford Dame said...

According to the survey:

'Why Shardeloes Road, Brockley?

As we want to cover a larger area of Lewisham to help more people access treatment, we aim to have a treatment service in the north of the borough. Most areas of the country have drug services based within local communities and Brockley has been identified as being in need of services to provide help and support to local people.

The building is on the main road and has good public transport services. The railway station is close by, and bus services are frequent. It is therefore an ideal location, making the centre accessible to local residents. The building is appropriate for drug and alcohol treatment, as it offers space for the kinds of services and interventions required.'

Anonymous said...

Wild Bill, read the post again and when you get the word 'Louisa' punch yourself in the crotch 21 times.

Anonymous said...

According to what research?

Anonymous said...

The building is on the main road and has good public transport services. The railway station is close by, and bus services are frequent.

so is the existing building in lewisham

Wild Bill said...

D'oh. Balls punched.

Still absolutely hate the vile reaction this center is getting from the likes of Louisa, and the author of this blog.

Brockley Nick said...

@Dame - there are lots of locations which are equally or more accessible to people from Deptford, New Cross and Brockley (there are no direct public transport links between Deptford and Shardeloes Road, for example).

So the question then ought to be which is the best location. No one, including those who suggest any opposition is shameful nimbyism - particularly wants to live next to a rehab centre. I don't want to, but I will put up with it if it is the best option, because I recognise that these centres are necessary. But surely the most sensible location would be very accessible but not residential. Shardeoloes Road is residential. Why not locate it on a trading estate or some other commercial centre? It's not like there aren't a lot of empty commercial properties in the borough.

If they've explored all options and this is the best one, then fine, but I would like to see the evidence.

Brockley Nick said...

Wild Bill, please can you give some examples of "vile" comments made by me about this centre. Initially, I took a heap of crap from readers for being too neutral on the topic. I hope that in all circumstances, I have remained balanced.

Kate said...

Anyone considered the Waldron as a potential alternative - excellent public transport links. Also those who may be using the centre to come clean may not want to be readily identifiable. A specific centre on Shardeloes Rd may not be a great idea in that regard. Whereas the Waldron you'd never know.... just a thought

Brockley Nick said...

@Kate that is a very good example. Again, personally, I would be happy if the Council could tell us that they considered that (and other seemingly sensible alternatives) as an option, but they were ruled out on various grounds.

So far, the consultation is light on detail and people are right to ask such questions without being called vile.

Ben said...

to Brockley Nick -

Why do you imagine a trading estate would be a suitable location for a rehab centre?

The "not in my backyard" stance of this blog is disgusting.

Simon said...

It seems to me that the arguments for locating this centre in a residential area don't stack up. I realise the need for such centres and I accept they have to go somewhere.
Hugh makes a some very interesting points with regard to how many people will view this centre and I agree with him.
If they wanted to put this on the road I lived on with my children then I would most certainly be against it.
If I could be persuaded that this particular site was the best place to put it then I would have to put up and shut up.
As far as I can see, this most certainly isn't the best site for a centre such as this and regardless of if I want it on my road or not, that is a good enough reason for me to oppose the Council's plans.

Simon said...

@Ben-you are the one who's disgusting. You are not interested in debate, you just want to accuse anyone of nimbyism who questions the relocation of this centre to Shardeloes Road.
I have walked past the present centre on many an occasion and the people stood outside are usually drinking and often behaving erratically. I wouldn't want them all congregating on my road near my children and yes, for that reason I am a nimby and proud of it.
To tar everyone who is against the centre with the same brush is totally unfair. Nick has put a very good case against having the centre on Shardeloes Road and you should respect his right to an opinion.

Hugh said...

Could we put it in Downham? The place couldn't get any grimmer.

ex-user in Brockley said...

I filled in the councils consultation and I am in favour of this treatment centre, its a good site and it's a secure building -and I know how important these kind of services are.

Brockley Nick said...

Ben - so far, I have not ventured any opinions "above the line". I have reported three other opinions. The first was the Council's view in favour, the second was from the BXAG, the third was from a person who went to the consultation and was dismayed by what she heard. All three perspectives deserve to be heard.

I have kept my views (muted as they are) to below the line.

As to why a commercial estate of some kind? Well they tend to be a) accessible (the Council's primary concern), b) spacious (plenty of room to install facilities), c) minimise impact on residential communities. That seems sensible to me and it doesn't stigmatise people receiving treatment (arguably it's less stigmatising). If I'm missing a good reason why that would not be appropriate, please share, I am genuinely willing to change my mind on this.

FizzA said...

This centre is a much needed facility in an area that badly needs it. Drug and alcohol treatment benefits everyone, not just the individual. All the issues people worry about expressed on here such as crime, asb etc REDUCE with successful treatment therefore the community benefits as well.

If the people of Brockley want a nicer, safer, healthier community they will support this centre.

Brockley Nick said...

@FizzA - yes, I have a lot of time for that argument. However, there are a few other factors for consideration:

1. Is it the best location in the area?
2. Will the benefits of local treatment be offset by a increased number of people with problems coming to the area for treatment. As others have argued in previous threads, a lot of this comes down to a) how well the centre is run and b) whether the people receiving treatment are going voluntarily or because they have been forced to do so. It seems reasonable to ask for some more detail about both these things.

sigh... said...

"Hugh makes a some very interesting points" erm...he's stating the bleedin obvious like a overconfident 6th former who wants to be head boy.

You will tend to vote for the option you prefer, kind of how voting or petitions work. Some people moderate their vote taking into account some greater good. I'd rather pay zero tax, I wouldn't vote for a complete neo-con admninistration that allows the weak to sink without a trace. I grudgingly accept that we're all better off with some social provision.

whatever, man said...

Wouldn't it be great if the BXAG got involved with the treatment centre and invited those receiving treatment there to participate in some of their activities to improve the community?

Transpontine said...

I am in favour of this project, there are plenty of people with drug and alcohol problems round here and they need services. Also if the services work (which they certainly do for some), they actually make the area safer.

Brockley Cross is as good a place as any, and is no more or less residential than most parts of New Cross and Deptford (e.g. the people living in the flats by the Waldron are residents too).

Still not sure exactly what building we are talking about though. Do we know?

The problem I have with the original post is that it doesn't say why people should be opposed. It just assumes that everybody should be. Glad to see that judging by the comments above, not too many people are climbing aboard this bandwagon and those that do will be balanced by people feeling equally strongly the other way. So Lewisham Council will be able to say that opinion was divided but there was no clear consensus against and they will go ahead, as they should do in my opinion.

Must admit I am surprized at the position of Brockley Cross Action Group, I always thought they were a bit more far-sighted than your average residents association types. Did they have a meeting where people voted on it?

As other people are playing the 'I don't want my children...' card, I will just say that my children have to deal with people with drug and alcohol problems as they move about, and I would much rather know that there are local services to help these people.

Brockley Nick said...

@Transpontine

"Brockley Cross is as good a place as any,"

That's an assertion. If it's true, then I too would support this. But let's see the evidence of other sites that were considered and discounted. Let's see the evidence about where need is greatest. Let's answer the question about how people from Deptford are supposed to get there by public transport. Let's answer the question about why a site with two children's nurseries within 50 yards is as good as any other site in north Lewisham. If the Council engages with debate and answers the questions satisfactorily, great. That has not happened so far. Surely you support a better quality debate?


"and is no more or less residential than most parts of New Cross and Deptford"

True, but I would not support one being in most parts of New Cross or Deptford either?

"(e.g. the people living in the flats by the Waldron are residents too)."

Fair point.

"Still not sure exactly what building we are talking about though. Do we know?"

Yes, the BXAG site has a picture.

"The problem I have with the original post is that it doesn't say why people should be opposed."

True. Although it does criticise the quality of information availabile, which I suppose is reason enough on the precautionary principle.

"It just assumes that everybody should be."

No, she is asking people who are to take certain democratic actions.

"Glad to see that judging by the comments above, not too many people are climbing aboard this bandwagon and those that do will be balanced by people feeling equally strongly the other way."

Yes, I have always said BC is a broad church, nice to see that being acknowledged for a change.

"So Lewisham Council will be able to say that opinion was divided but there was no clear consensus against and they will go ahead, as they should do in my opinion."

That's a false and rather simplistic view of how consultations are supposed to work. It's not just about weight of opinion, it's about quality of argument and degree of imposition.

"Must admit I am surprized at the position of Brockley Cross Action Group, I always thought they were a bit more far-sighted than your average residents association types."

They have evaluated the proposals and found them to be wanting. Rather than criticising them, please critique their arguments.

"Did they have a meeting where people voted on it?"

Don't know. They did have a meeting where the Council were invited to present their plans. The presentation was totally misleading .

"As other people are playing the 'I don't want my children...' card,"

You say that as if it's not a valid argument. There are two centres for pre-schoolers within 50 yards. Surely you would agree that if you were starting with a blank sheet of paper and asked to describe your ideal location, that would not be on the list of criteria?

"I will just say that my children have to deal with people with drug and alcohol problems as they move about, and I would much rather know that there are local services to help these people."

Me too. That's not particularly relevant to this debate though. No one is saying there shouldn't be one. We're debating where it should be.

shards said...

he council's approach to this consultation has been wholly underhand and devious from the outset.

It's been under-promoted.
I didn't receive the consultation document until nearly 10 days after the consultation commenced which invited me to attend the first consultation event which had already taken place.

I emailed my concerns and asked questions to councillors, the council, DAAT team and CRI for it to be ignored. Only after I emailed them did asking if I had to get the South London Press to ask questions on my behalf did I get a vague response saying that there is demand in Brockley.

I attended the consultation last Thursday. It was pointless, two uninformed people took questions responded with either
A) I don't know
B) or silence.

They had no idea how many staff or substance misusers will use the facility.

Apparently they need location in the north part of the area as asap. And after spending a year scouting venues they come up with one location which has not been costed up, has a lease of about 4 years and is situated in an area which is well known for criminal behaviour.

I almost felt sorry for the two conducting the consultation, whilst they tried to answer questions as best they could the actual decision-makers were probably safely home having supper. No councillors either.

Nothing wrong with helping vulnerable people get back on their feet but the issue is about the location's suitability. The Waldron centre is a fantastic health facility for the whole community yet half of it sits empty. Ideally situated to a rail network, ample bus routes and will be easier for substance misusers living in New Cross and Deptford to access it.

HighStreetBen said...

The location was hidden in the first consultation, as if LBL didnt want residents to know where it was actually proposed to be.

Brockley Cross already suffers disproportionately with noise and anti-social behaviour.

I sincerely hope those suffering addiction get every help they need and deserve - and I am more than happy for my tax money to contribute to this - I just ideally dont want to live literally next door to it.. I work in Whitechapel which has a high concentration of these centres and anyone who does not think noise or anti-social behaviour increases with one there is kidding themselves.. ask any shop-keeper or resident there

whatever, man said...

Transpotine is right, the children argument does not make sense. Any child that steps foot out of their home, and a GREAT GREAT MANY within their homes, come into contact with adults who have substance abuse problems. How about thinking about them as human beings, rather than child-harming villains? I really don't understand why BXAG don't consider this an opportunity for community outreach. Why not get involved in the centre and help to integrate people into their good works?

Brockley Nick said...

@Whateverman

"Any child that steps foot out of their home,"

Not really, and why compound the problem?

"and a GREAT GREAT MANY within their homes, come into contact with adults who have substance abuse problems."

Yes, but for those who don't expose their children to substance abuse problems, it is a pretty for them to ask not to have it thrust upon them.

The other point is not just about the parents and kids, but about the businesses themselves. If the site creates problems then parents may choose to avoid taking their kids there every day, which would of course be damaging to business. Tea Dance, in particular, is highly discretionary business, being a pop-in centre.

"How about thinking about them as human beings, rather than child-harming villains?"

I don't think anyone is portraying people this way. It's simply acknowledging that centres sometimes create additional problems (if that was not the case, the Council would not have to consult). It's ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

"I really don't understand why BXAG don't consider this an opportunity for community outreach. Why not get involved in the centre and help to integrate people into their good works?"

I actually think this is not a bad suggestion and perhaps one way to make the best out of an unsatisfactory situation, should it come to pass. The obvious answer is why don't you join and organise that yourself, but actually it's the sort of thing they might end up doing. The BXAG is rather a right on organiation, as Transpontine has suggested. The fact that even they believe this is the wrong decision suggests maybe their arguments are worth listening to.

Whatever, man said...

@ Nick

Do you really think that when you take your children out into the big world, they do not cross paths or observe people with substance abuse problems? Seriously?

Brockley Nick said...

@Whatever

Sometimes, when I take my kids for a walk, we walk past incidents. Not often though. I don't care if some of the people we walk past are actually suffering from addiction to drugs, porn, gambling, whatever - I only care if those issues manifest themselves in dangerous, abusive or anti-social behaviour. People are worried about such incidents becoming more commonplace. Do you think that's unrealistic or unreasonable? Seriously?

How about engaging with the rest of the answer.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many signatures we need on the petition before the council will take notice?

Anonymous said...

@whatever, then

Have you ever lived next door to a treatment centre.

Try it for six months, I did. I moved out because I was sick of people who used the centre also used my front garden to urinate in. Two to three times a week I was either asked for money and or offered drugs or stolen goods to buy.

This was a voluntary programme and whilst a lot of them seemed to want to break their habit there was a significant number who made living in the area intolerable. The staff were powerless, actually probably not, but they didn't want to get involved with anything outside the building. Stock answer we can;t control their behaviour outside the centre. So while your good intentions are to be commended, and naive beliefs that everyone will be cuddly and lovely I can assure this is not the case.

And actually, why should local residents' lives be adversely affected because of the life choices of a few.

Transpontine said...

OK so now having seen where the building is I have to say that it's not exactly residential. It must be one of the few sites in north Lewisham that appears to have no home within at least 50m on the same side of the road and only the flat above the shop nearby opposite.

It also a small space, I can't imagine it will be able to accommodate too many people. No doubt the drugs service would prefer bigger and better premises but how the Council is supposed to afford it with Government cuts I'm not sure.

As for being round the corner from a nursery, is that really material? Are children supposed to catch addiction or something?

The biggest danger to children round there is the traffic junction, and the odd gun toting gangster, not users in treatment.

And let's not assume that the heavily armed drugs market in Brockley and surrounding area is just supplying street addicts. The recreational users amongst the better off local residents might like to imagine their drug of choice is fair trade and ethically sourced, but it passes through the same bloody hands as all the rest.

Wendy said...

OMG Transpontine a couple of embarassing red herrings from you - you stopped just short of calling people mungs.

No, no-one thinks their kids are going to catch addictions, they worry that they and their kids are going to have to put up with fights, needles and people yelling "cunt" at 3pm as they're leaving nursery.

As you say yourself, there are gun toting gangsters right there - that's not a reason not to worry, that's a reason to worry more!!!

And as for the little dig at decadent middle class drug users, whoever said that drug use was OK among middle class people? A complete strawman. You let yourself down trying such a cheap rhetorical trick.

Anonymous said...

I second that Wendy. Well said.

Anonymous said...

I think the best thing to do if you disagree with the proposal is to sign the petition (and tell people about it) - the more numbers we get the more we have a say here ...

Transpontine said...

@Wendy - there have been comments here and at previous posts which suggest that a treatment centre attracts dealers. Actually drug use is very widespread at all levels of society (just ask George Osborne), the local drugs trade is supplying all sorts of people and those in treatment are probably not their best cusomters.

There seems to be a general sense amongst the objectors that drug and alcohol users are 'other' - terrible people who piss on gardens and shout abuse at passers by. Some do - though they'd have a fair walk to get to a garden here -but the ones who are actually seeking help are the least of your worries. And I'm sure there are many people among the objectors, as among the supporters, who have used drugs or had periods of heavy drinking. So let's all show a bit more sympathy, it could have been you and maybe still could be.

whatever, man said...

@ Nick

I made a positive suggestion about BXAG having a stake in the new centre, to enhance its rehabilitative (rather than punitive function) and you come back with some rather revealing remarks about protecting children from anti-social behavior. The point of these centres is to reduce anti-social behaviour for the benefit of the greater community, which would have the knock-on effect of 'protecting children'. This centre will also support the families of people with substance abuse problems. Do you want to sheild your children from their antics as well?

I agree that specifics on how the place will be managed is critical, and I'd be behind BXAG if they focused their energies in this way rather than trying to 'harm the children', by your logic, of Lewisham or Deptford by trying to force the centre there.

@ Wendy

"No, no-one thinks their kids are going to catch addictions, they worry that they and their kids are going to have to put up with fights, needles and people yelling "cunt" at 3pm as they're leaving nursery."

You criticize Transpontine for "cheap rhetorical tricks" but how specious can you get?

ziggy said...

Wendy, I think you've missed the point about the gun-toting gangsters - they are an unfortunate fact of life whether this treatment centre goes ahead or not. Did you really think Transpontine was suggesting they were a reason to worry less??

How far away is the nursery, exactly?

Mb said...

I'm not horrified about it being there, if well run and monitored. As for there being a better place elsewhere? Possibly.

The point about attracting addicts is worth thinking about, addicts and alcohol abusers visit the same chemists as 'us' for there methadone and needles, including several near here. They visit the same GPs, they shop in the same corner shops as you get your milk to buy there super strong cider. We already interact with them.Some are chaotic and not in treatment so whether or not there is a treatment centre near may not make a difference. The ones seeking shoulder less of a worry.Nicks arguments are non emotive, practical objections. The pants on fire panic and thinly veiled disgust is not helpful to the anti argument.

Would be nice if there was no issue to deal with, but there is.

I'm interested if this location is actually driven by budget rather than it actually being the best place. Addiction services are unlikely to be high up on a priority list for a local authority dealing with a restive electorate. I'm going to have a gin and think about it.

Brockley Nick said...

@whatever

"I made a positive suggestion about BXAG having a stake in the new centre, to enhance its rehabilitative (rather than punitive function) and you come back with some rather revealing remarks about protecting children from anti-social behavior."

Eh? No, you made a comment about BXAG working with the centre and I said that was quite a good idea!

You mischaracterised people's concerns about the centre as if they were concerned about walking past people with problems. I challenged you on that, making the same point as Wendy did, albeit I didn't put it quite so bluntly. People aren't concerned about encountering people with addictions, they're worried about a concentration of people with drug addictions in an area where drugs are openly dealt and children go to nursery leading to a range of actual problems. What's 'revealing' is that you try to deny any such problems ever occur.

"The point of these centres is to reduce anti-social behaviour for the benefit of the greater community, which would have the knock-on effect of 'protecting children'. This centre will also support the families of people with substance abuse problems. Do you want to sheild your children from their antics as well?"

Oh god, how many times. No-one disputes the value of such centres, they're just arguing about the specifics of the location.

"I agree that specifics on how the place will be managed is critical,"

Right then, so you acknowledge problems can occur. So you're contradicting everything else you've said thus far.

"and I'd be behind BXAG if they focused their energies in this way"

It's not their job to manage a centre. They are challenging the quality of decision making by the Council in this instance.

"rather than trying to 'harm the children', by your logic, of Lewisham or Deptford by trying to force the centre there."

Again, read what I have said please, rather than arguing with strawmen. If this is "as good a place as any" I will be fine with it being there (not that I live on Shardeloes Road). I am suggesting that there may be other locations that are not particularly near the homes or nurseries of any area in the borough.

Wendy said...

@Ziggy there are two nurseries just on Brockley Cross, just around the corner.

And I understand that the gangsters are unfortunately a fact of life so long as the police continue to turn a blind eye to the dealing that goes on there. My point is that locating a drug addiction centre right next to a centre for drug dealing is a very bad idea. Transpontine was saying "hey, don't worry about the drug addicts, you should be worrying about the drug dealers" just next door! That seems to be like the daftest argument ever put forward on this blogspot.

@Whatever, I have concluded that you are not very bright.

By the way, I don't live in tis spot. I don't have any kids that would be effected. But it sickens me to see legitimate concerns of ordinary people trivialised in this way. It's a perfect example of why the political left lost the support of the working classes years ago. Because the people who will be most effected won't be middle class types like Transpontine or student grant types like Whatever, it will be people who work long hours on low wages who have no choice about where they take their kids or how they get there and live in small flats overlooking Shardeloes Road / Brockley Cross and can't escape to their large houses in Telegraph Hill and lock the world away while patting themselves on the back for being so tolerant.

whatever, man said...

@ Nick

You want me to read your comments? Why not read mine? I can't even recognize the words you've put in my mouth (or fingertips, as it were). Whatever, man!

whatever, man said...

@ Wendy

I've concluded that you're not very bright either considering you could substitute 'Brockley' and 'Lewisham' for 'Telegraph Hill' and 'Brockley' in your tirade and it would make more sense though it would still be completely misguided. Maybe we should join forces as two non-bright people who dislike anti-social behaviour and wage some class war. Whaddya say, peace?

NAT said...

Hey W.M. Like how long is it since those fingertips made those words?

It's getting old man.

Brockley Nick said...

@Transpontine

"@Wendy - there have been comments here and at previous posts which suggest that a treatment centre attracts dealers. Actually drug use is very widespread at all levels of society (just ask George Osborne),"

That's a non-sequitur. It is possible that drug addicts attract drug dealers and for drug use to be widespread. The second part of that sentence is irrelevant to the first part.

"the local drugs trade is supplying all sorts of people and those in treatment are probably not their best cusomters."

So regular users for whom heavy use has become a problem are probably not big customers for street dealers? That is a big assertion and I'd suggest, completely wrong.

"There seems to be a general sense amongst the objectors that drug and alcohol users are 'other' - terrible people who piss on gardens and shout abuse at passers by."

No I don't think this is most people's position at all. They just say that some people behave like this and that's a matter of concern...

"Some do"

Oh right, so you agree. Well then, why are you criticising people for worrying about this issue?

"though they'd have a fair walk to get to a garden here"

Yes, because people's homes at this location front right on to the street, meaning that they have no barrier between their living rooms and problems outside their windows.

"but the ones who are actually seeking help are the least of your worries."

Agreed. But as has been mentioned several times, the concern is those who are not "seeking" help, but are being forced to take treatment by the criminal justice system.

"And I'm sure there are many people among the objectors, as among the supporters, who have used drugs or had periods of heavy drinking. So let's all show a bit more sympathy, it could have been you and maybe still could be."

Yes, it's possible that it may happen to any of us one day. When and if it does, I will be happy to get treatment in a location which is the least imposition upon local people.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, are you "working class" or are you one of the "middle class" types you deride who has decided you know what's best for them? No idea what your point is about the direction left wing politics is heading. The debate is about the best place for a treatment centre that most sane people seem to agree is required somewhere in the borough. Or are you one of the objectors who think they are weak willed losers who should be controlled by policing alone?

By the way, student grants effectively ended some years ago. Keep up.

Brockley Nick said...

@WM -

"I can't even recognize the words you've put in my mouth (or fingertips, as it were)."

Well since I was quoting you directly, that's very unfortunate.

Wendy said...

@Anon - Student Grant is a brilliantly observed Viz character. Keep up!

Transpontine said...

@Wendy

So people in favour of this service are middle class and students, whereas the objectors (Brockley Cross Action Group etc) are ordinary working class folks? Do me a favour.

You know nothing about me, and I know nothing about you, so let's not either of us jump to conclusions. I have been affected plenty by these issues at work (including years of working in HIV/AIDS) and amonst my friends. I am not commenting from a perspective of abstract liberal tolerance but as somebody who is sick of dealing with this shit.

Anonymous said...

@wendy, great. So you're quoting a character in a comic as a critique of transpontines politics? Not the most powerful of cases your building.

Still, I'm working class. What should I think? Can you tell me? thanks.

whatever, man said...

@BN "What's 'revealing' is that you try to deny any such problems ever occur."

Where exactly did I say anything like this?? I haven't commented on this at all. What I did suggest is that children in life encounter substance abusers. Completely unrelated.

""I agree that specifics on how the place will be managed is critical,"

Right then, so you acknowledge problems can occur. So you're contradicting everything else you've said thus far."

Not really. I think the specifics of how ALL public services are managed is critical, but really irrelevant as far as "contradicting everything else I've said thus far" such as suggesting BXAG take more positive rather than negative action and that substance abusers exist.

Anonymous said...

Do you live on Shardeloes Road, Transpontine?

Wendy said...

"You know nothing about me, and I know nothing about you, so let's not either of us jump to conclusions."

Yes, I wish we would start from that basis.

You have made all sorts of assumptions and allegations about the backgrounds and attitudes of objectors throughout your posts.

If you're happy to stop doing that and deal with the arguments then we can have a proper discussions. How about answering these two simple questions:-

1. Do you think that locating a drug rehab centre right next to a known drug dealing hotspot and two nurseries sounds like the best possible site in the whole of north Lewisham?

2. Do you agree that it would be good for the Council to discuss with the people who are going to be affected by this what other locations they considered, why those other options were rejected and what they are going to do to address the problem of drug dealing next door, to protect people they say they want to help?

Wendy said...

anon, no I was comparing the clown Student Grant with the clown "whatever man". Nothing to do with Transpontine.

Transpontine's politics I know pretty well as I read his blog quite often. However, as I just said to him, I am happy to leave his personal politics out of this debate if he is happy to stop second-guessing other people's politics.

Mr Breakspears said...

Actually, I don't give a shit anymore. Lump it on Shardy Road..

shards said...

Oh thanks Mr Breakspears!

Shards said...

I think it's the council's strategy to give as little information as possible and as obstructive as possible so that people give up asking valid, reasonable questions about the centre. It seems obvious that they've made their minds and and just want to push it through.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd agree with Transpontine but today I do! I'll have a plate of lentils and a soy latte with my new friend :-).

As for the rest of you - shame.

Anonymous said...

Nick's suggestion to place it on an industrial estate is really up there as one of the most outrageous... Can we put GP surgeries to trading estates out of the way, too, because I don't want my kids to catch any germs from sick patients going there with their coughs and colds and worse?!

I don't think this is a case of Shardeloes Rd being any worse than any other location for it but can you imagine people on any road welcoming such a centre with open arms? Sadly not, such is the prejudice.

Brockley Nick said...

Why is that outrageous? I don't understand. Commercial estates exist because we as a society believe that certain services are best and most efficiently delivered in distinct, easily-accessible areas, away from residential areas.

No one thinks twice about asking people to go to a commercial estate to do the weekly supermarket shop, why is it shameful to ask that people do the same to receive treatment. Why is that a moral question?

Since you mention it, lots of medical facilities are located on brownfield sites or commercial estates. To my knowledge, no-one has called that an outrageous idea.

NAT said...

Now there you see, I'd normally agree with Transpontine, but I can't see what the problem with a trading estate is if the alternative is a dealing hotspot.

Lewisham have obviously tacitly accepted that a non residential location would be preferable by designating Shardeloes Road a commercial centre, which it isn't really.

shame, Evelyn "Champagne" King said...

@ anon, 10.34

"As for the rest of you - shame."

Shame about what?

For asking the council questions and getting no answers. Having concerns about the centre and it's location. I don't see what's so shameful about that.

I think it's a shame that the council has handled this consultation in such a cack handed way.

I think it's a shame that the council say that "the centre is much needed in Brockley" but are unable to provide the statistics or evidence to back their argument up".

I think it's a shame that you choose to dismiss the legitimate concerns of some of the posts on here.

Anonymous said...

Some notes from the consultation event made by BXAG:

http://brockleycrossactiongroup.com/campaigns/drug-and-alcohol-substance-misuse-centre-shardeloes-road/

Anonymous said...

Do these places offer 'effective' treatment? Well only if you use extremely soft measures. Things like 'Self reported criminal acts', and 'Self reported drug free days.' The fact is most people come off drugs because they one day just 'wise up' and realise that if they carry on the consequences will be very serious. I am unclear how such molly coddling centres actually contribute to people becoming drug free. I think actually they exist to make a drugged up life a little more comfortable for the addict. Given the relative death rates from class A drug use and say smoking cigarettes, it is hard to justify the huge discrepancy in spending on treatment for the two types of addiction, (Class A drugs 500m plus at least, smoking which kills 85,000 every year about 200m). Hard drug abusers get extra funding because they commit more crimes, pure and simple, whereas smokers give net £6 billion to the taxman each year and keep their heads down.

Hugh said...

We pay for rehabilitation centres. Why shouldn't we be able to ensure they are located away from our homes? For the same reason the long-term unemployed, who we also subsidise, are permitted to live in central London properties whose rental values far exceed what such people could ever pay if they did work. Namely, we don't have enough of a say. Let's just admit we all resent the subsidised underclass. It's a reasonable attitude.

Anonymous said...

I can't see why if I, like a lot of people, have to travel a long way to get to work, it is unreasonable to ask a person with drug dependency issues to get on a bus or walk a mile or two. Why do the services have to be on the doorstep of the users? In my experience these services are best sited in locations that have clinical prestige, hospitals or large health centres.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - they have to be accessible because we want to maximise the likelihood that people turn up for treatment.

Anonymous said...

Hugh, "we all" means people who agree with you. No, i dont resent providing support for those less well off or subsidising those with the good fortune to be born or grow up where opportunities are limited. So "we all" does not include me.

As for smoking, yep. Its not ilegal and if it were i doubt many would turn to crime or risk everything for a fag (people steal to buy heroin, not because they use it, why would you go to the trouble of robbing someone or sleeping witha sleazebag if it cost pennies from the local boots?) Drug abusers affect everyone of us so from purely selfish point of view helping them give up us a good thing.

Hugh said...

OK Anon, 'we' excludes you, but I would bet a Mars Bar it includes most people who pay tax.

Hugh said...

OK Anon, 'we' excludes you, but I would bet a Mars Bar it includes most people who pay tax.

Aricana said...

I expect there will be a really good turn out at this evening's public consultation meeting.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope so - there are almost 50 signatures on the petition so far and it's only been a day!

Anonymous said...

Hurrah!

50 signatures!

We'll show those druggies the power of ex-home-counties-twats-now-living-in-south-london!

Falafel and fairtrade tea for everyone!

mike said...

I have had a look at the consultation document online. The survey is very biased in the way the questions are formatted to lead to a set conclusion.
One part asks to list in order of importance which precautions should be implemented; cctv outside etc, basically admitting that the provision of this service in this place will bring antisocial problems.

NAT said...

Could I start a petition to be excluded from the 'we all' of Hugh?

Hugh said...

I speak for all right-minded employed tax-paying law-abiding apostles of the free market aiming to make a large stash then retire to unobtrusive luxury.

Anonymous said...

I asked the council why they didn't include the following question in their consultation: "Do you think Shardeloes Road is a suitable location for the new Treatment Centre?"

The reply I got was that it would start a debate, and that such a debate should occur in one of the public consultation forums. This concerns me, since, as has been said by others, this whole consultation has been hidden from most people... Sounds a bit weird if you ask me.

Brockley Nick said...

In defense of the council on that one, there's little point in asking that specific question, since the only people being surveyed are the ones who live in close proximity and the overwhelming response is always going to be 'no'.

But giving people ample opportunity to comment on the specifics about its suitability and ample information on which to make that judgement ought to be part of the consultation process (but isn't).

Anonymous said...

Stepping neatly around this rather bitter and nasty argument, can I just ask whether anyone has had any kind of response or comment about this from the local councillors?
I haven't heard a peep.
I really do feel very strongly that they should be visible in this debate, making it clear that they are listening and involved. I want to know what they think, I want to know whether they are engaged with the council's consultation process, I want to know if they are listening to and representing local people.
Anyone?!

Anonymous said...

"We pay for rehabilitation centres. Why shouldn't we be able to ensure they are located away from our homes?"

Drug addicts and reformed drug addicts also pay for rehab centers. Why shouldn't they be able to ensure that they are located near their homes?

Drug addiction and alcoholism is a disease much like any other. If someone proposed opening a cancer treatment center on Shardeloes road, people wouldn't oppose it and suggest that it should be banished to out of town.

Plus, if I were a recovering drug addict, I'd prefer to come to a welcoming town like Brockley, rather than attend sessions out-of-town somewhere on an anonymous business estate. Just because someone has a substance abuse issue, it doesn't mean that they are any less likely to be intimidated by traveling to some abandoned warehouse district.

Placing centers like this in a semi-residential setting makes them more likely to work; how on earth are recovering addicts supposed to reintegrate with society to becoming functioning people again if we don't give them the chance to.

Anyone who thinks that Brockley doesn't have people who could benefit from this centre is sorely mistaken. I'm of no doubt that some of the people who are saying "Brockley doesn't need a drug rehab centre, put it somewhere where there are more drug problems" are the same people who consistently complain about the 'constant drug dealing' on and around Brockley Cross. You can't have it both ways...

And though centers like this do indeed have problems that they might bring, their benefit outweighs the negative, to my mind at least. Who doesn't want more people in the area to be recovered drug addicts?

(And, fwiw, I base my opinion on time that I have spent attending these sort of facilities for research that I conducted a few years ago. Having hung around with recovering alcoholics and crack addicts, I've not been stabbed, and nor have my children.)

Or, here's an idea - why don't those traveler typed pitch up on Brockley Cross, and the junkies can go at the end of Church Grove?

Not hugh said...

Hugh, "most people" want the death penalty and a large proportion read horoscopes. I'm happy to be an "other"

Anonymous said...

PS - before someone picks me up on it, by 'Who doesn't want more people in the area to be recovered drug addicts?', I meant who doesn't want recovered drug addicts as opposed to *current* drug addicts in the area.

Westsider said...

"Drug addiction and alcoholism is a disease much like any other. If someone proposed opening a cancer treatment center on Shardeloes road, people wouldn't oppose it and suggest that it should be banished to out of town."

I accept the proposition that addiction and cancer are both diseases. But there the comparison ends. You also don't have to install CCTV outside a cancer treatment centre. Why is that?

Moral hazard said...

The way that the concept of shame has been in this thread is interesting.
It's not the people who are using drugs and alcohol to the extent that it's causing a problem for others but it's the people who care about their community.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon 1303 - you make some good points, although correct me if I am wrong, but the centre is not designed specifically to help patients reintegrate in to the local community is it?

And just on the part about "banishing" people, for my part at least, I am not suggesting anyone be sent to the gulags, I am just asking why it's fine for supermarket shoppers to visit commercial estates on a daily or weekly basis, but when someone suggests that rehab patients might do the same, that is considered an horrific suggestion. No one has yet explained why.

@moral hazard - very good observation.

Hugh said...

"Drug addicts and reformed drug addicts also pay for rehab centers. Why shouldn't they be able to ensure that they are located near their homes?"

Because 99% of the costs are borne by the rest of us. Simple fact which seems to have escaped you.

Not hugh said...

There's a range of opinions here, I'm ok with it being there but accept that there may be a better place. Arguing on that basis is one thing and theres a debate to be had. It's the idea that they are a different species to us and there lives are separate from ours so why are they expecting to be treated in "our" area. Obviously you're only going to be bothered by addicts who make themselves known by breaking into your house or causing havoc. The addicts that are around us already and cause no problems are invisible. You can be a nice person AND a substance abuser, odd as that may sound. We need to be careful that we don't push them to the margins without good cause, alienation is hardly condusive to recovery. The chaotic users are hardly likely to be affected by a treatment centre wherever it is.

(I accept that nick and others are not saying that, I sense the repulsion in others comments)

Hugh said...

You sense correctly.

Did anyone catch that interview on the Today programme this morning with the 19-year-old mother who had got pregnant at school, left with no qualifications and was complaining that her CV mailshot resulted in no job offers?

Anonymous said...

Hugh, are you the Brockley Tea Party?

Mb said...

Hugh and Sarah palin would be THE power couple. Apparently you can see Russia from Hugh's kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the causality is as simple as drug use leads to criminality. Could it not often go the other way, tendency to criminality leads to drug use.

Whatever the case, as anyone with any knowledge of the literature in this field will tell you, (or won't as their wages depend on the fallacy that drug services provide meaningful treatment) we are not treating these people, we are simply bribing them to commit less crime. If you want to pathologise their behaviour, and make all sorts of silly comparisons with real illness, it is up to you. I would rather allow grown adults to take what they like, but if the choices they make lead them to crime, then we should deal with this through the criminal justice system.

Anonymous said...

@ Nick They have to be accessible because we want to maximise the likelihood that people turn up for treatment.

Actually if people really want help they will travel. If they don't it doesn't matter where you put the service, they won't be interested. And what is so inaccessible about the Waldron Centre? Isn't you bottom getting sore sitting on that fence?

ziggy said...

it would be fine, I think, to put this centre in a commercial park one, provided it was readily accessible on foot (which many business parks are not) and the environment didn't make visitors feel vulnerable in the vicinity (residential areas feel safer than unpopulated areas). Otherwise its location might prove a disincentive to visiting it.

Hugh said...

How about putting a big sign over the door:

Druggies R Us

Anonymous said...

The reality is that Lewisham is being renovated with private investmesnt and the Council was told to clean up the area or investments would stop.

Anonymous said...

The more recent post about Travellodge in Depfort confirms what I said about cleaning up certain areas of Lewisham to insure private investors are please. Blockley is the designed damping grounds.

Charlie said...

To the ex-users who post on this thread how did the substance misuse start?

Lou Baker said...

Not Hugh said:

"We need to be careful that we don't push them to the margins without good cause, alienation is hardly condusive to recovery."

What you fail to realise is that drug users push themselves to the margins. They do not have to take drugs. It is a life-style choice - usually a bad one.

The interests of the decent, law-abiding majority must come first.

We should help druggies get back on their feet - but on our terms. We must never let the disfunctional minority dictate the rules for the rest of us.

Aricana said...

I went to this evening's public consultation meeting and thought it was very useful in terms of views/ information shared. Although a lot of time was spent going over how badly the consultation has been handled to date rather than what can be done in the time that's left. It appears that the drug/alcohol team are willing to explore 2 other possible options in the Borough of Lewisham (not Brockley), although the Shardeloes road location is still the frontrunner for now. I'm sure the BXAG will provide a full update.

shards said...

Considering the council, CRI and police turned out en masse (10 in total) it's a shame that not more of them contributed to the discussion. They seemed to hide or rather rely on the operations director of CRI to do the talking on their behalf.

Dicon said...

According to CRi's own risk assessment, there is a moderate likelihood of moderately severe agression from service users towards staff, volunteers, peer mentors, peer advocates, service users and visitors. This risk will be reduced by issuing all staff with personal alarms.

Risks to local residents and passers by are not assessed, but I think we can assume they won't be issued with personal alarms.

Staff areas in the centre will also be segregated from client areas by combination/access control systems.

This stands in stark contrast to the picture painted at this evening's public consultation by the advocates of the centre.

Anonymous said...

@ Dicon

"Staff areas in the centre will also be segregated from client areas by combination/access control systems."

Like virtually every other space that provides a service or sells anything.

Anonymous said...

I do find it odd, that Brockley doesn't have a doctor's surgery, you have to go to Ladywell or St John's yet we are top of the list for a specialist service.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point, but then usually the prescription drugs are collected from the pharmacies and there isn't even one of those near this building anymore.

shards said...

The main problems with this consultation are:
• the location
• the way in which the consultation has been under-promoted and badly implemented (and remember these are professional, well paid people who run consultations on regular basis);
• a biased survey: engineered in a such way that respondents can only positively to comments – mainly free text answers so that the report’s author can pick and choose what they like. A particular highlight of the night, was watching the survey’s author reading out each of the questions and trying to convince us that it did indeed refer to Shardeloes Road in any way, shape or form – comedy gold!;
• staff unable to give the most basic information (it’s only five weeks into the consultation that we got any information worth knowing about); and
• when they do answer questions they don’t volunteer information.

The council have made it so difficult to get any answers. You have to fight every step of the way, and know the right questions to ask to get honest answers. For example:

The CRI ops director said that service users elected to be on the rehab programmes but when pushed he admitted that there will be clients who have a court order, or are on anti-social behaviour contracts and have to attend.

No wonder there is so little faith in institutions when they are economical with the truth at every turn.

The other issue is the conflict of interest is the Supporting People manager’s role in al this. As the manager works the council, I would be very surprised if she was not involved in commissioning CRI to run the service and she has a vested interest in the project going ahead. Fair enough that’s her job, but the conflict of interest arises in the fact that she will be writing a report recommending whether the Shardeloes Road is suitable or not. This report will go to the Mayor and cabinet and will make their decision based on what she recommends.

I know that the manager and others are keen to open a building asap. Now, given the fact that the council/CRI have been looking for a venue for two years and in that time they’ve only found Shardeloes Road, and are already negotiating terms of the lease, and have a planning application waiting in the wings, I really can’t see the SP Manager saying in her report, “Shardeloes Road isn’t the right venue and we’ll look else location and timescales unknown.” So forgive me if I don’t’ believe that his won’t be a balanced fair report that takes into the genuine concerns or people living in the vicinity.

Passer by said...

I went past the existing centre on Lewisham High Street today. There were street drinkers hanging around outside in what I think is supposed to be a controlled drinking zone anyway.
It could of course have been a coincidence that they were situated outside the centre but it doesn't exactly look great for their management of the site.

Anonymous said...

Is this likely to go ahead then?

Dicon said...

Many people who actually received the consultation document may have ignored it because at first sight it looks like a general consultation with no relationship to the local area. Only in the small writing on page 2 would readers find out that a rehab centre is proposed for Shardloes Rd. No street number is given, no map is given and there is no photo of the building.

There are no quantifiable options that could be used to register opposition. Only one of the text boxes could conceivably be taken as an invitation to voice opposition. This box is at the end, the responder would have had to go through the nauseating series of leading questions to get that far, and any contents would not contribute to the 'hard statistics' that will be presented at the end.

As an object lesson of how to lie with surveys, it's only failing is that its shifty guile is all too blatant.

Dicon again said...

@ Passer by

According to what the advocates of the scheme said at St Peters, the Lewisham High Street drinkers are a largely unconnected phenomenon that precedes the centre and are exercising a 'lifestyle choice' to 'watch the world go by' in that particular location.

The advocates also led us to believe that in their experience of running 150 such centres, there would be minimal problems and we would barely notice the centre's existence. They emphasised that service users would be a self-selected sample committed to recovery and could be holding down jobs, have children and/or only suffering from a mild problem with cannabis use.

When it was suggested that some of the users would only be attending because of court orders, there was no response.

The rosy picture painted by the advocates also stood in contrast to testimony of residents who had worked with the client group in question and the impression given by CRi's own risk assessment.

The general impression was one of a meeting divided between advocates and residents, with no honest broker to mediate or give unbiased information.

Also sorely lacking was anybody from the organisers who knew how to chair a meeting. This alone went a long way towards undermining the effectiveness of the consultation.

Petition watch said...

The petition has 71 signatures at present.

Anonymous said...

actually they did admit that some clients would have to attend because of a court order, despite their best efforts to paint the service as if it was for middle-class guardian readers with a habit they want to kick.

Anonymous said...

Some abusers have kids! Jobs! And are perhaps trying to get better and are actually good people who made mistakes? I'm shocked, I thought they were evil scum bags hell bent on pissing in lous garden. You live and learn eh.

TheOracle said...

You are probably aware that the Cri Integrated Adult Drug Treatment Service manages the Central Clinic at Lewisham High Street.

However some may not realise that the Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) is a company limited by guarantee that deals with the ‘Care and Resettlement of Offenders’.

Amongst its listed Objectives and Activities, is:

• to relieve sickness and to advance the education and training in particular of all persons (and members of their families) who:
• have committed, or are likely to commit, a criminal act or
acts; or
• have been, or are, or are in danger of becoming substance
misusers; or
• have been, or are, or are in danger of becoming addicted to
or dependent upon drugs of any description including
without limitation on the generality of the foregoing illegal
drugs, alcohol, solvents or other addictive substances; or
• have been, or are, or are likely to become victims of
domestic abuse; or
• have been, or are, or are likely to become homeless; or
• suffer mental ill health; or
• have suffered a legal restriction on their liberty in any penal
or correctional establishment;
• to advance the education of the public

No two rehabs centres are alike, and no two drug users either so there will likely be a range of complex requirements for the user group.

The experts suggest that it is actually better to go into rehab ‘away’ from the place in which you live but will this be case for a ‘drop in‘?

Services are particularly targeted at people who are difficult to reach and under-represented in services, such as women, substance ‘misusers’ with parental responsibilities, black and minority ethnic communities, clients with complex needs, persistent and prolific offenders and street homeless people.

The all-white and mostly male-led board of trustees and directors of CRI has now lost its only ethnic member; a Seikh, who retired in September 2011.

So here we have a middle-class white-male initiative which will have a profound impact on a multi-ethnic and class diverse community.

Coincidentally, CRI also provides specialist support to homeless people living in hostel accommodation...

So, in addition to the planned hostel at Manor Avenue and others mentioned, the new unit at Shardeloes may have a number of clients actually living nearby.

It seems that those who were formerly in supported accommodation have been downgraded to ‘no’ or ‘low’ support and may use such units.

Tamsin said...

"So here we have a middle-class white-male initiative which will have a profound impact on a multi-ethnic and class diverse community."

Not checked it as you have, but I suspect that as a company limited by guarantee (the usual vehicle for not-for-profits and charity companies) the directors/trustees are unpaid. You sound critical of the Board being all white, all male - but the fault (if one has to find a fault) is with the women and BEMs who are not volunteering.

TheOracle said...

Tamsin, the company does enjoy charitable status. But it is also a limited company that remunerates its directors.

Whether women and ethnic reps are coming forward 'to volunteer' is not the point; they are not present on what is a (paid) board of white-middle-class-males who have little or no understanding of the communities as to where they place these units or the diverse neeeds of the persons placed there. However, they may at some lower level have non-white volunteers and who are not remunerated and do not feature in the annual statements.

Anonymous said...

'So here we have a middle-class white-male initiative which will have a profound impact on a multi-ethnic and class diverse community'.

So the board of CRI is mostly white and middle class - same is sadly true of many charities and most private companies.

The drugs service isn't for them but for the mutli-ethnic and class diverse drug users. The campaign against it is led by the not very diverse BXAG. Never thought I'd see the gentrifying/social cleansing lobby trying to hide behind the anti-middle class flag!

Anonymous said...

TheOracle says " ...it is also a limited company that remunerates its directors".

The CRI website says: "Trustees meet quarterly for Board and sub-committee meetings and, when possible, attend functions such as launches and staff conferences. The role is voluntary but Trustees receive travelling expenses."

The Trustees are the directors of the company. I am not sure therefore where TheOracle gets his/her contradictory information from. (Unless he/she is confused by the fact that there are some people called e.g. "director of information services" who are paid employees. Despite their titles they are not directors of the company or Trustees.)

Even the Chief Executive, who is paid not surprisingly, is not a director or Trustee and is only responsible for day-to-day management and not strategic direction.

There would appear to be no bar on people of any ethnic origin standing for, and being elected, a Trustee/Director

The application process to become a Trustee/Director is even set out on the website and in the report and accounts.

Tamsin said...

You've checked the accounts to see that the directors/trustees are renumerated (would as I recall be recorded in a separate note)?

If it is the case (and I'm not saying it isn't) that would be fairly unusual as a charity has to get written dispensation from the Charity Commission to pay its trustees. Usually only happens with non C of E churches which are set up as a charity, with the (salaried) pastor as one of the Board of Trustees rather than just an employee.

Tamsin said...

Thanks, Anon. 15.58 (posting at just the same time as me but with more specific information). I thought that was probably the case but didn't feel like sparing the time to check it out.

A slight chortle. I acknowledget that although I post always in good faith I do sometimes get my facts wrong. However if I had given myself a sobriquet like "the Oracle" I think I would make certain I was right before uttering.

Shards said...

Whilst I'm opposed to the proposed location of the service for a number of reasons, I think it's worth giving credit where credit is due.

Had the Brockley ward Labour Councillors requested council staff carry out a consultation on the proposal there wouldn't have been one at all. So we would have been none the wiser about the service until it was up and running.

It is also down to these Councillors that the consultation has been extended by a week so that the proposed service can be discussed as an agenda item at:
the Local Brockley Assembly
on the 23 November,
doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start
venue: Myatt Garden primary school, Rokeby Road.

Brockley Nick you might have to double check that with the council.

Note it will be one of a number of items to be discussed, the Assembly won't be solely about the rehab centre.

In particular, I want to the Labour Councillors for ensuring a consultation took place, giving residents the opportunity to express their views on the service whether they are for it or against.

TheOracle said...

Tamsin, I’m not sure what you are driving at, or why your comment is so hostile. Do you use the name Tamsin because you feel it allows you to make mistakes where the 'The Oracle' does not? Sorry if my sobriquet leads you to believe I have overstated my qualifications, which are those of the simple layman.

I also make no claim of being an accountant. Neither do I doubt that some in the CRI have a charitable aim. This does not mean that it is not a business that may be profitable - to some? The PR man gets paid, so a few of the halos worn may not be buffed in good intent alone.

(Caveat emptor, though as a layman I may be wrong.)

If the directors of the CRI are in it for good intent then I take my hat off. (Few are these days... was actually treated to a lunch by one charity some years back - and was appalled by the money spent, and all under the banner of charity. So much so that it ruined the meal.)

By the way, the last audited accounts for the CRI record the following, and I leave it to the qualified amongst you to appraise or dismiss:


Staff costs 2011 £’000

Wages and salary costs 41,698
Social security costs 4,092
Training costs 946
Recruitment and general payroll costs 262
Pension costs 1,495
Agency and third party staff 2,984
Total 51,477,000

The number of employees who received total remuneration in the following bands were as follows:

Number
£60,000 to £69,999 - 2
£70,000 to £79,999 3
£80,000 to £89,999 1
£90,000 to £99,999 6
£100,000 to £109,999 1
£110,000 to £119,999 -
£120,000 to £129,999 -
£140,000 to £149,999 1
£170,000 to £179,999 1

jike said...

The issue I have with this is that there are no facts of figures, we don't know what's coming into our town, it could be benign as the pro's suggest it could be the highly anti-social as the not keens suggest. We simply do not know.

If there is any 'social cleansing; i'd suggest it's from Lewisham central to outer areas like Brockly and Ladywell.

Regardless of what class you're in no one wants loads of anti-social behaviour around and in Brockley we have plenty.

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation is not a quick fix it takes years for the person afflicted to get back in control, if they ever can.

Prevention is better than the supposed cure.

But whatever happens with this, Brockley is not a 'dumping ground' for Lewisham wide problem. Everywhere in the borough should share the load.

Tamsin said...

@ Oracle I was slightly hostile because you appeared to be castigating the CRI for having an all white (now that the Seikh has retired) and mainly male (only 1/5 women during the last accounting period) board of Trustees/Directors when it is incredibly hard for any charity to recruit the balance it might want to have to what are unpaid posts.

I teased you (I hope fairly mildly, and if it gave great offence I do apologise) for choosing the name "Oracle" when you were actually wrong in contending that the Trustees/Directors were paid - as the Anon. pointed out, they only get the travel expenses for attending meetings.

The full time working "directors" (who are not the charity's trustees) are paid, but this is perfectly normal. No organisation of any size can function without paid staff as well as volunteers. And because it is such a large body (with a £68m turnover and nearly 200 different projects running across the country) it is to be expected that the CEO is paid quite significantly - presumably the one employee between £170 and £180K.

What should be noted is that there are no shareholders to cream off any profits - spare money is kept as reserves and used to expand the charity's work - and (from the look of it) no bonuses.

I do, though, quite agree with you about the contradiction of some charities spending a lot on publicity events. In one national organistion I was involved with quite a few years ago now the CEO was really keen on the idea of an "awards ceremony" - I'm glad to say we resisted the idea - in my view demoralising for those not chosen and a waste of money - but self publicising events do happen. Although they serve to raise the profile of the charity's work and possibly bring in investment and service commissioning one does wonder if they represent value for money.

Anonymous said...

Hey Oracle, why get offended when somebody tells you you are wrong?

You are wrong again - and being offensive yourself - when you say "Few [Trustees/Directors of charities] are [in it for good intent] these days".

That really is extremely insulting.
Few charity trustees take or can take any form of remuneration whereas all of them take personal responsibility for the charity.

Charities are finding it harder and harder to get anybody to be trustees because they take all the risk and get little or no reward. And then there are people like you who insult them on the top of that.

Don't go criticising all those many people who trustees in such a general way on the basis of what appears to be a one-off experience. Be grateful to them for doing the job.

In fact, if you are not involved as a trustee of a charity yourself, why not become one?

Brocklean Lady said...

There has been a similar service in Brockley in the past - nobody even noticed! Bet you don't even know where it was.

It is not a REHAB, it is not REPLACING the service on Lewisham High Street, it is in addition to it for the benefit of those living this side of the borough.

Contrary to popular belief Brockley DOES have an existing drug and alcohol problem. I have lived her for over 30 years myself and have witnessed this first hand as well as through local reports in the newspapers etc.

The toilets in Wetherspoon’s in Brockley have CAMERA'S in them because of the amount of drug use that happens there.

Nobody would like a service to open up on their street, what exactly are the arguments though? One person at the consultation said the building wasn't suitable then went on to suggest staff run the service from stacked SHIPPING containers? What the ?

Why not reach a compromise? Why not request a pilot that the clients seen at the service are those who are "Shared Care" service users (Service Users managed within a Shared Care scheme normally have medium to low support requirements, and often have been receiving treatment from the secondary care specialist service.). They are much less likely to turn Brockley into a "drug hot-spot". Also maybe asking that only a certain number are seen, then review it in 6 months or so? Enough time to see if there has been any vast spike in anti-social behaviour in the area.

Brockley really does need this service. You'd have to walk around with your eyes closed not to see the street drinkers and drug use already existing in the area.

Lewisham High Street has a history of street drinking even before the service was there. There are benches available and everything. There were even people drinking their “strong brew” on tables outside pubs and cafes.

Ask the right questions of the council and if you don't understand the answers ask for more explanation, don't shout at the officers or try and rile up the crowd by throwing around comments without thought.

I doubt the council are trying to slip anything under the carpet. I really do think they have the best interests of vulnerable people at heart.

Brocklean Lady said...

@ Passer By. Lewisham High Street no longer has a controlled drinking zone. I believe there was consultation on this before, it is now gone.

Anonymous said...

I'm there are some brockley residents who need this service, but there will be more new cross and evelyn residents that need the service, so in effect they will be exported to a residential area and nearby residents have to pay because some people make bad choices in life.
It's about the location, you just have to look at the police stats on crime and brockley cross is crime hot spot compared to other areas.

The centre will only exacerbate the problem and more criminal elements will be drawn on the area to target vulnerable substance misusers.

Regarding asking the council questions: some people don;t konw the right questions to ask and the council certainly don;t volunteer any answers or any information.

Why not ask them why they've discounted new cross ward out of hand. It's not so much location but issues around anti-social behaviour and the problems it will cause.

TheOracle said...

An anonymous trustee - now there's a reference I would like to see.

Tamsin, thanks for the honesty and well put defence. I must admit to being very much in the No camp.

However, having said that, I was clearing my flat out with an old washing machine the other day and just about to call the council to pay them to collect when this guy wanders past and inspects it.

There will be those that take issue when I say that I knew instantly two things about him: drugs and prison. The former I could see in his eyes and the latter was in his general demeanour, and what one pilce associate called 'the smell'.

He was polie anough and asked if he could take the washing machine. I explained that it was useless. He though wanted to take it to a scrap yard. The only problem is that he had about his person a bag with all his wordly goods and no means of transporting it.

To cut a long story we lifted the washing machine into my carp and I took him and the washing machine to the scrapyard.

Once there I had to help him carry it in, 'In order that they can see that I haven't nicked it,' he said.

Apparantly he was accused of this on one drop -- aided by a Saainsbury trolley -- and claimed that he always asked before taking. I believed him.

Anyways, job done, I left him to collect his bounty, for which he was overwhelmingly grateful.

There wa also that other time when I bumped into a pisshead in the street who told me how happy he was to be living in a hostel in Brockley. It was the first rung on the laddder from prison towards him getting a flat of his own and a new life. Strong stuff.

I'm not a religious person, but is someone up 'there' challenging my prejudices?

I would like to think so.

TheOracle said...

Sorry, that should be 'police' associate and 'polite'.

Brocklean Lady said...

I understand that this service is not a residential service. It will not be exporting people from New Cross etc.

People from New Cross can easily come to Brockley should they wish to anyway, and they could come and NOT be accessing help to help with their addictions.

I understand the service is open generally around office hours 9 - 5 weekdays. And not just offering services to addicts but offering the much needed support service to carer's parents and children of addicts.

Not all addicts have chaotic behaviour. There are many addicts going to work everyday living "normal" lives to the outside world.

With regard to the Council leaving it to CRI to address those in the consulation, who better? It is they who will be running the service and they who know the clients, they who are best placed to answer a lot of the questions that we had about what sort of people the centre would attract.

I'm not worried, I just hope we can agree some kind of pilot so that if there is a problem (which I don't think there will be) we can all agree a solution. Between Council, Residents and CRI.

Anonymous said...

An aside really, but I went to a consultation and the residents (probably the same ones who have concerns about walking passed with their children) were there with their children. Many of them were shouting and swearing at the organisers! Erm.... ok

Anonymous said...

@ brockleylean lady
I’m sorry, I probably didn’t explain myself clearly. When I said exporting residents I didn’t mean that they would be living at a residential property, what I meant was because of the problems that arise (anti-social behaviour and the like) with trying to support people living in new cross to tackle their substance misuse, the council have decided to discount locating the service in New Cross in the in the hope that misusers commuting to another ward will resolve the problem of trying to providing the service within the community with greatest need - rather than tackling the problem at source which is more complex than dealing with individuals. Therefore because the council have failed to tackle the problem they think moving it elsewhere will sort it, or at least get the people whose lives are blighted of their back.

As for people coming from New Cross to Brockley accessing the service or not this is a misnomer. The council said that that 25% of substance misusers come from the three wards, yet the service will serve the whole borough of the borough in the north, possibly a greater area, as they admitted to looking at closing the Forest Hill branch. So, based on each borough having equal need that that roughly equates to 8% of users coming from the Brockley ward. I would estimate that the Brockley need is lower than other wards. So 92% of clients will come from outside Brockley and Brockley residents have to welcome with open arms hundreds of people from outside on the premise that we are supporing our community.

Your naivety is endearing. You say “not all drug users are chaotic, they work and live ‘normal’ lives”. Generally they do have chaotic lives, it’s just that you don’t see it when they shut their front doors. There are plenty of people in well paid jobs who do very chaotic, stupid and illegal things, but because they wear a suit it’s deemed more acceptable than someone who is on the margins of society using.

Trust the council to run it. Don’t think so. The number of problems I experienced with Supporting People across London and the UK who put pressurise on charities to take on inappropriate referrals because of the pressures they, the council, have on placing challenging people. And you know what as soon as it kicks off, because even the best run charity can’t control service users’ behaviour, even with clear policies and procedures, the council distances itself and lets the charity take the blame.

Six month pilot – please. You really don’t have a clue. Once it’s up and running, and even if it’s poorly wrong and goes tits up, they will continue with it, because they don’t have any other options.

Anonymous said...

May be worthwhile to look at density, management etc of existing facilities nearby first - particularly in the light of the funding squeeze and learn from local successes/otherwise. Brockley Cross has the existing Douglass Hostel near the Station:-

Quote from Zelda Peters

"Coulgate Street Personality Disorder Service, Lewisham
Turning Point have worked with Department of Health Architects (Department of Health’s Severe and Dangerous Personality Disorder Programme) and in collaboration with the Bracton Centre (Medium Secure Unit) part of Oxleas NHS Trust to establish a community based 6-bed high support residential service in Lewisham. The service will open in April 2004 and could be the first dedicated service for personality-disordered offenders that may eventually provide step-down from DSPD provision. The design and specification for the building has been carefully chosen to reduce risk for residents, staff and the community. The Department of Health is providing the capital for the building works and will contract with Turning Point to provide the care for ten years."

Do The Brockley Cross Action Group have a view on this existing facility overlooking the station?

Transpontine said...

@Anon 4:42

Not quite sure why you are conflating a housing project for people with personality disorders with a drug treatment centre.

Doubtless if somebody was proposing to open that Turning Point hostel now there would be some kind of campaign against it. But it is telling that most people don't even know it's there, including me who walks past it every day of the week. Not aware that any problems arising from it have ever been raised at Brockley Central or anywhere else.

Dr Freud said...

@transpontine, this blog attracts its own clients with personality disorders, including moderate to severe psychopathy, paranoia, anger management issues and miserablitis. Usually revealed by the "Anon" label. Still, it's somewhere they can be monitored and corrected.

;-)

Anonymous said...

Just to underline that not all abusers are chaotic.....

Some are working and paying tax and dealing with you. The tidy assumption that they are seedy losers that should be pushed to the margins is oh so simplistic.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/13/doctors-lawyers-alcohol-addiction

Anonymous said...

Just to underline that not all abusers are chaotic.....

Some are working and paying tax and dealing with you. The tidy assumption that they are seedy losers that should be pushed to the margins is oh so simplistic.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/13/doctors-lawyers-alcohol-addiction

Westsider said...

I've not seen a single person say they are. But some are, and it only needs a small minority to cause major problems.

The ones who are oversimplifying in this debate are the "pros", who won't allow the idea that any of the patients are going to be anything other than saints - nobel prize winners, aid workers and devoted family men and women, who just happen to have a drug addiction that needs treating and will come and go without so much as dropping a crisp packet in Brockley. It's embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps both are oversimplifying. There is a spectrum of abusers. The ones who are totally out of control are perhaps outside the debate, they will continue using and causing problems whatever or wherever help is available. A WELL RUN treatment centre is a positive, it will be here or a mile or two down the road. The alternative is no help, that will be a problem for those who would benefit from it and those of us who are the victim of the problems caused by drugs.

Many (not all by any means) have a thinly disguised contempt for them. That's embarrassing and shameful.

Westsider said...

"Many (not all by any means) have a thinly disguised contempt for them."

Examples please? You lose points if the quote is from Lou Baker, who is representative of no-one.

Anonymous said...

I just do not get it! The location is a little retail island in a middle of residential, family area. Nobody has got anything against these people who clearly need help. The concern is about anti social behaviour they might exhibit when under influence. About them hanging around the Brockley crossroad and the station and being intimidating, specially in the evening when is quiet and one is on the way home from the station. Who can guarantee that these people will behave if let say they are desperate and the centre happen to be shut. They are clearly not in control otherwise they would sort out their problems themselves and not ask for a help. And them not being in control ia a problem and a threat to entire community. And next door to the nursery? Seriously?! Is the Whole World gone mad!?

Anonymous said...

I live about 3 mins from this site. Just had a letter through the door telling us about the consultation. They are now consulting a wider area, apparently.
A couple of other points to note:
- the council has extended the consultation period yo 19th Dec;
- there will be a public discussion session about it at the Brockley local forum this coming week (Weds, I think);
- the council has altered the wording of it's rationale for the location of the service. Before, it was talking about it needing to be accessie to users 'in the north of the borough' (Deptford & New Cross), now it talks about users in the local area (Brockley). This may give the council a stronger case for using this location.

lll said...

I want to see the statistics regarding how many people who live in Brockley will be using this facility versus New Cross and Deptford. Otherwise it's just emotion and going for a soft target.

Glenn David said...

I offer no defense to the politicians but a treatment facility may be a great help for those that need it and it would service the area and lighten the load for other centers. I hope you do get the center opened and the dirty politicians out forever.
Glenn David
glenn0david@gmail.com
www.drugrehab.org

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