Today I attended the funeral of a constituent.
Sleeping on the streets, drugs and alcohol are among the things which took a toll at various stages of Kevin's all too short life. In recent years there had been a turn for the better as he found faith in God and became involved with a local church - but the damage to his physical health had been done. The 'turn for the better' was very much a work in progress and many people and public services were involved, and now represented, at this farewell.
I was not the only one to shed a tear. Amongst those moved in a similar way were some from a small band of representatives of the street culture I have come to know over the years. These were friends of Kevin, particularly from earlier years. Some were part of the self styled 'Motley Crew', familiar to many of you as one of the groups which has been at the root of much anti-social behaviour at Nicolson Square.
Thankfully, Nicolson Square has been a rather more pleasant place this year (at least compared to last year). The drinking and anti social behaviour has abated somewhat, though I understand the members of this group have turned up at other parks in the city.
All this leads to consideration of how best to respond to two activities, both part of Kevin's experience, which concern many local people. Anti social behaviour has been dealt with on this blog before - not least at two of the links in the paragraph above.
In addition, I posted on begging earlier this month. In the next post, in the light of an article in today's Evening News, I will address begging further in the light of experience with Kevin and others.