Help for neediest is halted after an assault

Chairman Angus Macpherson helping out to deliver hot drinks and food to two homeless men

Chairman Angus Macpherson helping out to deliver hot drinks and food to two homeless men

First published in News

A FOOD run that has acted as a lifeline for hundreds of homeless and needy people on the streets of Swindon has been suspended after a volunteer was attacked.

The van driver, working for the Filling Station charity, was assaulted after turning up at the evening service to help give out supplies of food, clothes and hot drinks.

The charity has taken the difficult decision to suspend the twice-weekly soup run, which operates from Carfax Street car park, while it reviews the safety of its staff.

Chairman Angus Macpherson blamed the actions of one individual on September 18 for depriving a wider number of people of much-needed supplies.

He said: “It’s a tough decision to take because there are people in need.

“We have had some of the highest numbers ever at the breakfast club this week, which shows the need is there.

“It’s a sad thing because we are approaching the cold winter months and there are a number of people sleeping rough in car parks and other places. But we can’t tolerate inappropriate behaviour and we won’t put volunteers at risk in any situation.

“At present we are reviewing the risk and we expect to restart next Thursday.”

Mr Macpherson was not present when the attack happened, but said he has prioritised the safety of volunteers at the service, which takes place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

“It was a physical assault which left the volunteer very shaken,” he said.

“He has been to the police about it and doesn’t feel confident enough to come back for a while, so we will have to find someone to do it.

“We can’t have that sort of behaviour and expect the service to continue.”

Homeless people who gathered at the spot on Thursday to find the van had not turned up blamed the actions of one individual for cutting off the service for everybody.

One said: “He grabbed the worker and really went for him. The rest of us have this idiot to thank now it’s been cancelled.”

Two experienced street outreach workers, Tony Niester and James Derieg, had attended the service to provide support to the homeless and needy, but were suspended earlier this year amid a row over the running of another charity, Threshold Housing Link.

They were replaced by Threshold with other members of staff.

A police spokesman said a 41-year-old man had been arrested on September 20 in connection with an assault and later released without charge.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:22am Fri 28 Sep 12

The Real Librarian says...

I used to work for Crisis as a volunteer in their Christmas homeless shelters in London. I felt I was lucky to have a lot in life and I wanted to help people less fortunate.
Most of the homeless people were grateful to be in the shelter but some of them were not. These were the aggressive ones, they had such a sense of entitlement, they felt they deserved our exclusive attention. They got on my nerves a bit but I ignored most of it.
What finally exhausted my patience was a nasty little scottish guy who was being abusive to a young girl on her first shelter. She was in tears so I intervened. I told him to mind his manners and he laid into me.
He came off worse and he got thrown out of the shelter, making all sorts of dire threats, but frankly, it left a bad taste in my mouth. That was the last shelter I worked.
I used to work for Crisis as a volunteer in their Christmas homeless shelters in London. I felt I was lucky to have a lot in life and I wanted to help people less fortunate. Most of the homeless people were grateful to be in the shelter but some of them were not. These were the aggressive ones, they had such a sense of entitlement, they felt they deserved our exclusive attention. They got on my nerves a bit but I ignored most of it. What finally exhausted my patience was a nasty little scottish guy who was being abusive to a young girl on her first shelter. She was in tears so I intervened. I told him to mind his manners and he laid into me. He came off worse and he got thrown out of the shelter, making all sorts of dire threats, but frankly, it left a bad taste in my mouth. That was the last shelter I worked. The Real Librarian
  • Score: 0

9:32am Fri 28 Sep 12

Ringer says...

Let's hope that those in need send a very clear message to the criminal who assaulted the charity worker that their behaviour, shall we say, will not be tolerated.

Especially as it's clear that the police can't/won't do anything about him:

A police spokesman said a 41-year-old man had been arrested on September 20 in connection with an assault and later released without charge.

If the law won't teach this person the correct way to behave, others will have to.
Let's hope that those in need send a very clear message to the criminal who assaulted the charity worker that their behaviour, shall we say, will not be tolerated. [p] Especially as it's clear that the police can't/won't do anything about him: [quote] A police spokesman said a 41-year-old man had been arrested on September 20 in connection with an assault and later released without charge. [/quote] If the law won't teach this person the correct way to behave, others will have to. Ringer
  • Score: 0

9:59am Fri 28 Sep 12

RichardR1 says...

I note the Advertiser took the opportunity to have another yet another pop and Threshold.

I agree these incidents should be taken more seriously by the police, but it seems either they had insufficient evidence or no complainant willing to give evidence.
I note the Advertiser took the opportunity to have another yet another pop and Threshold. I agree these incidents should be taken more seriously by the police, but it seems either they had insufficient evidence or no complainant willing to give evidence. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

10:41am Fri 28 Sep 12

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Another example of the police not following the assault through. Seems to happen a lot.

I wonder if the assault is even in the crime figures since they chose to take no further action.

Is it anyone that there is such a high level of apathy towards the police. Still at least they can claim crime is falling when they really mean reported crime is falling.
Another example of the police not following the assault through. Seems to happen a lot. I wonder if the assault is even in the crime figures since they chose to take no further action. Is it anyone that there is such a high level of apathy towards the police. Still at least they can claim crime is falling when they really mean reported crime is falling. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 0

5:49pm Fri 28 Sep 12

Ringer says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
Another example of the police not following the assault through. Seems to happen a lot. I wonder if the assault is even in the crime figures since they chose to take no further action. Is it anyone that there is such a high level of apathy towards the police. Still at least they can claim crime is falling when they really mean reported crime is falling.
It's deeply disturbing. There were obviously witnesses, plenty of people saw what happened and knew exactly who did what.

When the police allow criminals to get away with assault in this manner, it destroys public confidence in their ability to protect the public, let alone deal with violent criminals appropriately.

So, basically, this article should read: "Known criminal beats the hell out of charity worker and gets away with it."
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: Another example of the police not following the assault through. Seems to happen a lot. I wonder if the assault is even in the crime figures since they chose to take no further action. Is it anyone that there is such a high level of apathy towards the police. Still at least they can claim crime is falling when they really mean reported crime is falling.[/p][/quote]It's deeply disturbing. There were obviously witnesses, plenty of people saw what happened and knew exactly who did what. [p] When the police allow criminals to get away with assault in this manner, it destroys public confidence in their ability to protect the public, let alone deal with violent criminals appropriately. [p] So, basically, this article should read: "Known criminal beats the hell out of charity worker and gets away with it." Ringer
  • Score: 0

8:24am Sat 29 Sep 12

umpcah says...

Ringer wrote:
LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
Another example of the police not following the assault through. Seems to happen a lot. I wonder if the assault is even in the crime figures since they chose to take no further action. Is it anyone that there is such a high level of apathy towards the police. Still at least they can claim crime is falling when they really mean reported crime is falling.
It's deeply disturbing. There were obviously witnesses, plenty of people saw what happened and knew exactly who did what.

When the police allow criminals to get away with assault in this manner, it destroys public confidence in their ability to protect the public, let alone deal with violent criminals appropriately.

So, basically, this article should read: "Known criminal beats the hell out of charity worker and gets away with it."
Swindon remains a safe place to live in and violent crime continues to fall, etc. How long before a police spokesman comes out with this sort of rubbish again ?
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: Another example of the police not following the assault through. Seems to happen a lot. I wonder if the assault is even in the crime figures since they chose to take no further action. Is it anyone that there is such a high level of apathy towards the police. Still at least they can claim crime is falling when they really mean reported crime is falling.[/p][/quote]It's deeply disturbing. There were obviously witnesses, plenty of people saw what happened and knew exactly who did what. [p] When the police allow criminals to get away with assault in this manner, it destroys public confidence in their ability to protect the public, let alone deal with violent criminals appropriately. [p] So, basically, this article should read: "Known criminal beats the hell out of charity worker and gets away with it."[/p][/quote]Swindon remains a safe place to live in and violent crime continues to fall, etc. How long before a police spokesman comes out with this sort of rubbish again ? umpcah
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree