Reader’s letters - Wednesday June 10, 2015

The Help Direct Hound at a previous advice event on the Flag Market. See letter
The Help Direct Hound at a previous advice event on the Flag Market. See letter
Have your say

Axe was a bad decision

I am writing with regard to Lancashire County Council’s decision to axe Help Direct in August (LEP, May 26).

I am at a loss as to the thinking behind such a drastic move. I truly believe the discussions and debates that led to this verdict were horribly flawed.

I would love to see a copy of the report that resulted in the decision to dismantle what has fast become a flagship service and unfaltering lifeboat for members of society who have lost their way.

As a client of Help Direct, I think I speak for all the other clients, the staff and the volunteers when I say that we would consider this would be a priority criterion. After all we are dealing with the lives of many vulnerable people.

Help Direct is a service like no other. I am a recovering alcoholic with mental health issues. Thanks to sterling, unselfish, non judgemental hard work and support from NHS Discover, Phoenix Futures, NHS Lancashire Community Restart, SMART Recovery, Lancashire User Forum, The Tribal Project, and Red Rose Recovery I am a new person. Or rather I am myself again.

However, the above services can only take you so far, then you are, bar your support group, on your own.

Help Direct are the bridge. There is no pressure. They use patience, kindness, collective knowledge and experience and smiles. They are dedicated and impressively proactive.

It’s like a big family of mutual support. They tap into your skills and imagination and dreams and tell you that you can do it. And, importantly, they encourage clients to give something back to the community that has supported you.

Help Direct has speeded up my recovery massively.

Furthermore Help Direct is a tried and trusted brand – instantly recognisable, easily approachable, all-listening, all-learning, and constantly evolving.

Lancashire County Council should be proud to have pioneered what is essentially an essential essential for repairing so many aspects of social damage.

To conclude, I just want to say that I am only one of thousands of people who rely on Help Direct – for support, for guidance, for phone calls, for a friendly face, for fun, to know I’m not alone.

Replacing Help Direct with another similar (invisible) service is a futile exercise.

It will result in a year or more picking up the pieces of clients who have been abandoned whilst everything changes over.

It will result in hard working, promising clients isolating themselves, boozing, taking drugs, regressing, depression, their health deteriorating, loss of potential homes, debts going unpaid, re-offending, hunger, anger, heartbreak and despair.

Trust will once again be fractured.

This may sound dramatic, but it really is no exaggeration.

I am one of the folk having to face the loss of a major platform in my recovery scaffold.

It will mean months or years of hard work destroyed by a signature.

It will mean loss of employment for hard working staff that deserve much better, who deserve reward, not abandonment.

Help Direct is a match that lights the fire of determination, an unlocked door to a brighter future, a guiding star thousands of good people follow.

Bad decision Lancashire County Council... Shame on you.

Richard J King, Avenham

Ensure others have the best

Re: Memorial to tragic mum who died hours after wedding (LEP June 6), it was such a moving story.

It shows we need not only to enjoy our lives while we have them, but ensure others can have the best we can give.

cllrKeith via LEP website

Differences of tree treatment

Residents of Hoyles Lane, Cottam, including myself, were most concerned to hear that the planning department were prepared to accept a revised application for residential development on land to the rear of 120-152 Hoyles Lane.

For those of us who attended the planning meeting on March 31, it was a relief to see the Preston City Council, backed by the Transport Authority, unanimously reject the planning application. The main reason for the rejection being access to the proposed development site from Hoyles Lane being totally unsuitable.

There has been no fundamental change in the situation since the meeting on March 31, so it is hard to understand why the new application has been submitted and accepted by the Planning Department. It would seem that all parties with a vested interest in the development will try all means to achieve their aims.

An example of this was the felling of a healthy protected beech tree, the tree obstructed the proposed entrance to the development site between the properties 124 and 126 Hoyles Lane. A sister beech tree thrives at a neighbouring property. In 2011, a planning application was submitted to prune the tree for safety reasons. Eighteen months later we received planning permission to prune the tree by 15 per cent, a four-page document detailed how the work should proceed. In contrast the tree between properties 124/126 Hoyles Lane was felled two to three weeks prior to the planning meeting on March 31.

I wrote to the assistant director (city planning officer) informing him of this act of vandalism, and pointed out the comparative treatment of the identical trees by his department.

W.D.R, Hoyles Lane resident

Rats a problem last winter

I read with interest your article re: rats around the recycling bins at Morrisons (LEP, June 6).

I emailed them a month or so ago after a rat ran across the filling station forecourt in front of my car as I stood dispensing petrol. Not only that, last winter I told staff I had seen numerous rats in my headlights in bushes to the left of the payment kiosk as I drove in at the pumps.

Morrisons replied to my email saying they had ample measures in place and it wasn’t a problem. Obviously these measures were totally inadequate.

Martyn Hopewell via email