A WINTER Wonderland on the south coast seemed the ideal place for me to be during the festive time of the year, so I booked a six-night stay in central Bournemouth.

On Christmas Day morning, I was unprepared for the sights of the town.

AS I walked down Westover Road, so many of the shop doorways were filled with homeless people. It seemed as if I walked back in time into a Dickens novel. One side of the road abject poverty and the other side of the road commercial riches abounding. On the day itself, I saw much generosity given, with one kind person distributing food parcels, stalls being set up by a homelessness project giving out clothes and food. There have been other charities helping at other times but not that I saw.

Online, I notice Bournemouth has a Homelessness Strategy Report 2016-21 which makes interesting reading.

In it, the Objective 2 heading reads “Reduce homelessness and rough sleeping to as close to zero as possible”. I sincerely hope that it will e possible to achieve this aim. The sooner the better.

I did not actually do a head count of the homeless that I saw but I would estimate it was around 50 that I came across. All ages, both men and women.

Speaking with one woman, who spends her time living on the street with her father, both of whom had conquered drink-related problems, the question I put to her was “Long term, if there was one thing that would enable you to turn your life around, what would it be?”

Her reply came without hesitation.

“An address,” she said.


Sutherland Avenue, Bexhill On Sea, East Sussex