OUT IN THE FIELD: Street drinkers – town must admit it has problems

The regular street drinkers need a total wrap-round service to deal with their issues
The regular street drinkers need a total wrap-round service to deal with their issues

The unpleasant problem of Eastbourne’s street drinkers has reared its head again and now the police are being asked to put more of their resources into dealing with the issue. While a handful of extra officers would be nice, this just isn’t going to work. As someone else with far more experience – and compassion too – pointed out to me it always seems that enforcement is the answer, but this has failed and will always fail. Multi-agency meetings have taken place regarding this very issue for more than 10 years – then they have a re-brand every once in a while and it all begins again. However these too have proven ineffective when we live in a town where too many key decision makers are unwilling to think dynamically and creatively as to how to solve the complex issues. People with complex needs are bundled into temporary accommodation, which can often in itself be a boiling pot of wide ranging issues, with no support and then we wonder why these placements break down? There is no hostel for these people. Yes, there are day centres where people can go and access services. But that is only part of a very big jigsaw puzzle that needs to fit together to give people a real chance of getting their lives back on track. What Eastbourne needs is to admit it has problems, and provide creative solutions to addressing them. Arresting people and putting them through the criminal justice system is not an adequate response and is merely a sticking plaster over wider social issues.

If you do one thing this weekend, go and see High School Musical at the Royal Hippodrome starring Eastbourne Stagers. The youngsters – and director Fiona Dean – have all worked so hard and it shows. Great entertainment and the talent shines through.

The words of orthopaedic surgeon Scarlett McNally writing in the British Medical Journal this week make for interesting reading. Mrs McNally says adults should make time for exercise every morning, like medicine, and do something energetic for 20 minutes. It can, she says, reverse a decade of decline and keep us all in tip-top health. In a day and age when a variety of ailments are lurking round every birthday corner, it’s got to be worth a go .

Finally, the birthday roll is fairly lengthy this week and there’s wedding bells too. I start with the lovely Lyndsey Scullion who will be blowing out candles today, Eastbourne actor Robbie Scotcher (who is starring in the West End’s Mamma Mia) who was 40 yesterday, my old colleague in the Herald newsroom Petra Dalton, Brenda Tarrant, the beautiful Karen Hatfield and last but by no means least, Fraser Brooks at Eastbourne Rugby Club. Happy Birthday one and all. And congratulations to Dave Coggan and Sharon Rae who are tying the knot. As they say in Ireland, may your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through the door. Have a wonderful day.