Makeshift homeless camp set up outside furniture shop where mural created to ‘clean up Hanley’

A makeshift homeless camp was set up outside a closed shop where a huge mural had been created to clean up Hanley’s tarnished reputation.

Kev Dunn took a series of photos after discovering the discarded sleeping bags, cardboard, and other trash in the door of Rockerman’s Furniture Store on Clough Street last week.

The rubbish has since been removed.

The building has been empty since the shop last closed.

But it has been revised as part of Operation Sparkle, an initiative by the Stoke-on-Trent Business Improvement District (BID) and the Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

It was one of several buildings being redesigned along the pedestrian thoroughfare between the main shopping district and Tesco Extra.

Kev, who lives downtown, is now demanding that more be done to support the town’s rough sleepers and lure shoppers back to Hanley.

Sleeping bags and other rubbish were left on Clough Street.

The 60-year-old said, “When you first did the mural, it looked brilliant. But now, like Hanley, things are going downhill.

“I live in Hanley and it seems like some people don’t want help. There are people in the streets who get high and walk around on monkey dust.

“It’s an absolute dump of a place. But my main problem is the advice, they have to clean it up instead of planning another parking lot.

“You should put more money into helping the homeless.”

Kev says the problems in Hanley extend beyond the scene he discovered outside the Rockerman building.

He added, “There have been efforts to clean up Hanley, but the council needs to put some money into it.

“It’s a shame what happened outside of Rockerman’s, but if you walk down some of the back streets of Hanley, you’ll find worse things, needles and vomit.

“You get snowflakes that say it’s not that bad and the homeless are someone’s family, but they don’t all live in Hanley – it used to be a beautiful town.”

Do you think more should be done to help the city’s homeless? Share your thoughts in the comments here.

Richard Buxton of Stoke-on-Trent City Center BID confirmed that the trash in front of Rockerman’s has now been cleaned up.

He said, “It is very disappointing to see these photos.

“Stoke-on-Trent City Center BID is working with partners to create a welcoming city for our visitors and will continue to do so.

“Operation Sparkle is an ongoing process to achieve this goal.”

The city council told StokeonTrentLive that it is working hard to support rough sleepers.

Council Chairman Abi Brown said, “We continue to prioritize support for rough sleepers and the homeless in the city. The Rauhschläfer outreach team regularly visits the whole city and can provide quick and targeted support to people.

“We have set up a wide range of services to help homeless people move off the street and into sheltered accommodation, with access to services that will help them change their lives.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 500 homeless people have been supported in this way, more than half of whom have moved to long-term accommodation.

“We recommend anyone who is concerned that someone is sleeping restlessly to contact the Rough Sleeper Outreach Team on 0800 970 2304.”

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