I AM writing in response to Matthew Clifton of Christchurch (Letters, December 27) concerning homelessness and rough sleeping in Bournemouth.

He refers to the StreetLink phone number for reporting rough sleeping. This is a national number, manned around the clock. The details reported are then sent through to the local council’s rough sleeper outreach team, which in Bournemouth is St Mungo’s. They do not deliver a 24/7 service but they pick up all referrals and find individuals at their next outreach session if the person is not already known to them. In practice, of course most are people they see every day, such is their dedication. To be clear, details of everyone thought to be rough sleeping are acted on, including those over 25 years of age.

In terms of resources for rough sleeper outreach services in Bournemouth, despite the context of central government grant reductions to all local authorities, Bournemouth council funding for this vital service has actually been increased because of the high priority we have consistently placed on helping address this really important social issue.

In terms of the money for supporting these most vulnerable of people, there has been no reduction in Bournemouth, quite the reverse.

I am grateful to Mr Clifton for giving me the opportunity to confirm that an additional £70k has been added for this each year over the last few years by Bournemouth as a matter specifically contained in the council’s budget.

In addition, we successfully bid for additional central government funding recently and £387,500 was awarded for 2018/9 to help deliver rough sleeper services, with the wholehearted support of our local MPs.

I am incredibly proud of Bournemouth council staff and those from St Mungo’s and other agencies who work with us year-round to help all those on the streets here in Bournemouth.

As I said in my previous letter, we are determined to help all those who are prepared to accept our support and to assist them into a more stable lifestyle.

Whilst there are some who will not respond, there are many who do, largely because of our truly dedicated people who care so much for the plight of the most vulnerable here in Bournemouth.


Leader of Bournemouth council,

Bournemouth Town Hall