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Why we shouldn’t wait for the next reminder

Why we shouldn’t wait for the next reminder

For much of the winter, I found myself rising at 5.30am as part of a daily ritual and headed out for a walk through Belfast’s city centre, well-wrapped up with any one of a number of podcasters to keep me company.

It’s good enough exercise – I can get close to 5 miles in – and it’s great for the head – I can get an hours worth of learning done before I start work.

On those walks I had my eyes opened up to homelessness problem and would occasionally be prompted to rant about it on here and on my podcasts – 5 people died within the first 3 months of 2016, epidemic proportions if it had happened in BT9 or BT4, but as it’s the city centre its not really “my/our/your” problem.

Except that it is.

Over the last few weeks the media turned its gaze to the local elections. My mailbox was saturated with poorly designed manifesto and sales pitches from myriad political parties, all jostling for a seat in what must be one of the most ineffectual and ineffective political institutions known to man.

Royal Avenue 6.15am - in the "mini-heatwave"

Royal Avenue 6.15am – in the “mini-heatwave

Within the next month, we’ll all be asked to vote on our position on Europe, and will take a stand based largely on the least possible amount of information possible.

And of course summer is coming, longer days, warmer evenings and then there is the excitement and anticipation of the Euro 2016 and the Ulster Championship and All- Ireland Series…

…and life goes on.

I run sales training programmes in Belfast and Dublin for companies and individuals to help motivate, educate and revitalise business development units but only usually after an account has been lost, sales are down or a competitor has upped their game.

Reactivity rather than proactivity.

At St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast 6.00am

At St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast 6.00am

As I walked round Belfast this morning I counted at least 10 people hosted in sleeping bags, saturated by heavy rainfall, and contrary to the local weather reports, we’re not enjoying a mini-heatwave at the moment.

It was cold and miserable this morning as I walked around the city  and I count myself exceptionally lucky that I didn’t have to spend the night in it.

It struck me that we might have to wait for another death in the city before our attention is pricked again – 5 months on since the first death and nothing seems to have changed at all on the streets.

Reactivity rather than proactivity.

So now that the promises have all been made, votes have been counted and the selfies have been taken, I look forward to finding out from each political party what their position is on homelessness, mental health, child abuse and other root causes for those 5 deaths earlier this year on the streets of Belfast.

This week it is my intention to email all political parties to ask their view on this issue and I’ll let you know how I get on.

In the meantime, if you have any spare clothes lying around the house, don’t be afraid to drop them of at the Welcome Centre in Divis or wherever is local to you.


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