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Down at the Downham 999 Club

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13 September 2011
Downham 999 Club Last Friday I went along to the 999 Club, a drop-in centre in Downham, which provides advice and support to a whole range of people in the local area – the elderly and vulnerable and single mums to name just a few.

The centre is the sister of the 999 Club in Deptford which provides amazing support to the homeless. On a day when new statistics came out showing the increase in the number of homeless people under the coalition Government, it was an important reminder of the impact that Government policies can have upon people’s lives.

I had a long chat with Sue, who has worked at 999 since it opened eleven years ago. It soon became clear that the centre really does provide everything – professional advice, children’s tutoring, a hairdresser, Christmas parties and day trips to Southend!

After speaking with Sue, I managed to grab a few minutes with some of the ladies who regularly use the centre. We had a policy debate to rival any at the House of Commons, covering benefits, immigration, overseas aid and the availability of NHS dentists.

I think it’s fair to say we didn’t agree on everything (I think it’s right for example that the UK keeps up its international development work even though times are tough up at home) but nevertheless, it was a really good discussion and it was inspiring to hear the individual stories about what a difference the 999 makes to people’s lives.

Well done 999!

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