Tuesday 25 July 2006 2.46pm
I used to walk down Melior Street
everyday to get to London Bridge Station
and had no problems for most of the winter and autumn months, despite the fact that large numbers would congregate outside the entrance to the manna centre. However, as soon as the sun came out in the Spring of last year, a large group of obviously drunk and drinking attendees at the centre decided they would have fun by shouting abuse at me and following me up the street, which I found frightening and actually quite disgusting. As a consequence, I did not walk down that street again during the day.
I did, however, walk along there to get to the gym at 6.30 in the morning, until the mornings became lighter and they were all congregating there at that time as well, when much the same thing happened. I'm quite certain these experiences don't only happen to me, and I know a number of women in the area who won't contemplate walking in the vicinity of the Manna Centre and streets nearby in case they run into a group of the drunken / high abusers.
It seems to me that if the good people at the Manna Centre are prepared to deal with people with obvious social difficulties, they should ensure that they remain within the premises and do not harass other members of the local community.
It's all very well being a bleeding-heart liberal, but really, if one provides services to such people, then one has to be able to ensure that they are properly controlled and agree to such control so that their presence does not affect the rest of the community.