Wednesday, 8 October 2014

World Homeless Day

The other day I was returning to York Street Health Practice from a meeting. On the wall nearby I
Client visiting the GP at York Street
saw a homeless man I know very well. He was sat by himself and waved over. I went over to the man and we started to talk. It was good to just be there. I tried to listen and help. I have often thought many times clients often give us far more than we give them. I looked at this man. His body was under nourished. His clothes poor and not well kept. His face was much older than his years and his beard and hair were not well cut or combed. Yet when he smiled his face lit up and his eyes shone like a child's at Christmas. We talked for a while and then I had to go. I have thought about the man over the last few days. He is the reason why places like York Street exist and he is not alone in this world.

Today is World Homeless Day. It is a day when we remember homeless people everywhere. The aims of the day are
                                             * educate people about homeless issues
                                             * celebrate and support local good works
                                             * highlight local issues  

York Street is the medical team for people who are homeless and in the asylum system. It is part of Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust which is 65 services working with people and communities. Leeds as a city has a very dynamic health and wellbeing vision where Leeds will be a healthy and caring city where the poorest improve their healthcare the fastest. This is a vision which we enthusiastically embrace and seek to embed in our work. This vision is lived out by people and services across the city. It is also powerfully and wonderfully supported by Cllr Lisa Mulherim, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Cllr Bill Urry, the lead for homeless issues. York Street receives visits and strong support from the directors of Leeds Community Healthcare and national NHS figures such as Yvonne Coghill, Steve Field, Rob Webster and Aidan Halligan. This illustrates a real coalition of care across our city and country to work for and with the most vulnerable. This is something to really celebrate and spread. So on World Homeless Day we express to all these friends and allies our deep thanks. We also thank our good partners across the city - the Crypt, Simon on the Streets, the Street Outreach Team, the hostels, Housing Options, the faith communities and so many many more. Thanks to you all. We can only do what we do because you do what you do. And that's the way it should be. Partnership is the today, tomorrow and future of our city. Together we make the difference.   

The sign of a civilised society it is often said is how it treats its most vulnerable people. We have in Leeds some great practice, innovation, compassion and vision. We have much to rejoice over and much to do. We owe it to ourselves to create the most humane and caring society we can. We owe it too to our fellow human beings who have fallen on hard times. We also owe it to the man sat on a wall with the shining eyes.

John Walsh. York Street Health Practice

No comments:

Post a Comment