Rapper Professor Green, 34, real name Stephen Manderson, has posted a video showing the removal of an “anti-homeless” bar fitted to a public bench in Bournemouth.
The musician had branded the devices, in Bournemouth, an attempt to make homelessness “invisible”.
In the video, which was posted live last Thursday afternoon, Green said: “We are taking something really negative and making something more positive.”
Footage posted on his Instagram account shows a man replacing one of the bars with a larger one to turn the bench into a “homeless shelter”
His friend, designer Max McMurdo, is then seen unscrewing the device and replacing it with a larger one that can be used to support tarpaulin to give people lying on the bench cover at night.
Mr McMurdo stated that the original bar was later restored to the bench and the change was made for a video set to go on social media on Friday.
Writing on Instagram, the singer said: “What’s the message here? Hey, you poor sods with no safety net – you better really hope life doesn’t throw any shit at you now! And god forbid you make a bad life decision! Cause you won’t have the ‘comfort’ of this bench to sleep on! Ha! Again, nothing done to tackle the problem, just something to make it more invisible so we can pretend it isn’t happening.”
In a statement, the Bournemouth Borough Council said: “We’re disappointed that musician Professor Green declined to meet our Housing Services Team whilst on his visit to Bournemouth today. We would have welcomed the opportunity to speak to him about the multi-agency work that goes on to prevent homelessness, and the support we provide to rough sleepers.”
The Council caused a bit of controversy after installing a bunch of bars on public benches to stop homeless people using them for sleeping. It said that the 28 devices (total installation cost £3,650) were put on the benches last year “in response to multiple complaints made by residents, visitors and businesses”.
Charities and local campaigners condemned the council’s intervention, calling the design of the bars ‘hostile’ and even accusing the council of being ‘inhumane’.
Article by Valentina Guidi.
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