Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) members Jimmy Kerr and Dougie Canning camped outside Renfrewshire Council offices earlier this month to highlight the plight of rough sleepers in Paisley, since changes in the George Street homeless service saw numbers attending the facility tumble. The activists camped out in sleeping bags and pyjamas and held up a signpost to liken the decline of the provision to a 'signposting service'.
Community activist Jimmy Kerr, said: "It is a disgrace that such a great service was deliberately run down, sanitised, undermined and demolished by Renfrewshire Council. The old service provided food, advocacy, GP cover, dental cover and much more. It was based on a support model, reaching out to homeless people and dealing with their problems. The new model is based on signposting and making the figures look good. It is a way for Renfrewshire Council to pretend that they are doing something when they are not."
SSP Renfrewshire and former project manager Johnny Collins are now working on a project to bring an independent service back to Paisley, by securing funding from public and private sources. SSP Renfrewshire hopes that its campaign to highlight homelessness and rough sleeping will raise the issue and help him secure the funding.
The branch has also promised real practical help, Jimmy Kerr, campaigns co-ordinator at the branch, is hoping to use local community networks to attract more volunteers.