Down & Out In Bournemouth & Poole: Day 7: Sloggi

As a result of the generosity of The United Reformed Church on Skinner Street, just by the harbour in Poole, I was finally able to secure a four brief, two bra Sloggi Underwear set. There are only so many days of washing the same g-string and placing it on a radiator even I could take. On the Saturday morning we were evicted I had mean’t to do all the laundry and so I would have had a fresh set of underwear for every day in the week. But a’las all my laundry was lost to me on that fateful day we were evicted.

And so it was with much relief that I humbly accepted this generous gift from ‘Routes to Roots’. “Be sure to register as rough sleeping with C.R.I” we were helpfully informed by one of our many new friends. C.R.I apparently registered those who were sleeping rough from 8am in the morning to 9am. Which did make me wonder, to sleep on cold hard concrete is not easy, to warm up the morning after, tortuous and lengthy. Getting down to the Salvation Army Centre or any place else by 8am or before 9am given how grim sleeping rough was, next to impossible I would have thought.

As for registering as ‘sleeping rough’ the word of a homeless person wasn’t considered to be enough. You would need to declare you were homeless and sleeping rough to the C.R.I and then be found to be sleeping rough by them. They would then be able to register you with the council as sleeping rough and the council, who have no hostel provision or flats for those requiring it, would then have to see what they would be able to do. I had heard from some previously homeless people that it could take as long as three or four years to hear back. In fact I would imagine a prostitute taken under the wing of a pimp would have found housing sooner in Poole.

But back to the Sloggi underwear, so grateful am I at the provision that I tear open the pack in the United Reformed Church toilet and proceed to put a fresh pair on. The church has an entire store room of panty-pads, sanitary towels, underwear (male and female), jumpers, jogging pants, poncho’s, you name it they store it, though the council has reduced the funding that enables them to do so. The lunch they also supply on a Monday is phenomenal and they supply really well-made evening packed lunches.

They are an organisation whose love for the disenfranchised is clear and apparent and they are loved back, which is why like quite a few voluntary charities in Poole, they’re spied upon. Do the spies hail from UKIP or from Tory-land? It’s hard to tell, but I’ve noticed that they look like they should be pruning roses or trimming their neighbour’s hedge, in short they stick out like a sore thumb, unlike the rest of the volunteers.

We are waiting fro a backdated payment from the local council which should at least help us to secure accommodation of some sort, the wait requires patience. My patience must resemble that of the land developers I’ve heard about from an elderly tenant residing at the bottom  of Wimborne Road. The tenant clearly loves the home he owns because when I meet him he is busy painting its exterior, it’s obvious he doesn’t wish to sell up and move into sheltered housing or a bungalow, and yet he may find himself pressured by younger more ambitious family members into doing just that. Society nowadays doesn’t seem to favour the elderly or the homeless as much as it does those who are unscrupulous in their ambitions and youthful.