Paula Snowdon, who runs the Hub House, a converted end-of-terrace community centre on Seventh Street, describes malnourished families begging for food.
“Most had received benefit sanctions and were basically starving when they came to us,” she said. Others turned up wanting little more than a chat.
“We had individuals who hadn’t spoken to another person for days, sometimes weeks. Solitude is a major issue.”'People are starving!' is a great hook, 'people need a chat!' not so much...
Some asked only to sit on the Hub’s sofa; private landlords lease homes without furniture in the numbered streets, forcing many tenants to live without the luxury of settees. Some arrived seeking refuge from the network of drug dealers that has infested the village: one resident on Eleventh Street counts six dealers among its 54 red-bricked properties.Wait, people can't afford furniture, but can afford drugs? So much so, there's an increase in supply to mean the demand?
Yet what astonished Snowdon most was the prevalence of mental illness. “The actual way of life around here causes problems. I would say that 85% have a mental health illness such as anxiety and depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Children are born into deprivation and high unemployment: people feel forgotten about.”So they can also afford children? And the luxury of 'mental illness', most of which falls into the 'excess of self-indulgence' category?
Next month, a delegation from the trust will meet the minister responsible for the “northern powerhouse”, Jake Berry, to discuss a proposition to build industrial and commercial space that will allow small businesses to flourish. Officials believe that £30m of state funding over four years will bring in three times that amount in direct investment, along with a sustainable income of £2m each year that will be invested to deliver bespoke projects like the Hub House.And this can all be cured by throwing yet more taxpayer cash at them?