Sleepers

I don’t go into central London very often, certainly much less than I used to. So, I notice changes when you do.

There are many places where you will see people sleeping rough. Lots of shop entrances, especially in the evenings. The Strand is always a bad place, theatre district, but there are many others. Under dark bridges, down back alleys, in railway stations for example.

It has always been pretty bad in London, possibly more than in many other cities as very little is actually done to deal with it. There are charities and institutions who provide hot food, and some beds are available, but it is still a bad problem. Bad, and seems to be getting worse.

Rough sleepers seem to be getting more persistent and are, in some cases, rather aggressive. Some seem to have rather ferocious dogs too.

Buskers, too, seem to be more prevalent.

If you are a visitor to London, then there are places where street performers are welcomed, Covent Garden for example. If you stop to watch them, it’s right to give them some money. But if you are walking down the street and someone comes up to you just begging, then don’t give them anything, however loud and aggressive they may be. Not even a coffee.

I was waiting in line for a concert a few weeks ago, and a very smart lady in an evening dress approached me. She asked if I could help. She wanted money, and I refused. The swearing was most un-ladylike. Maybe she had a genuine need, I don’t know, but I was not interested to find out. Giving money just makes it worse.

 

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