Ken Loach urges support for DHI
The film director Ken Loach has urged more support for charities, at a time of what he calls a "crazy failure" in the economy.
Mr Loach, who lives in Bath, was speaking ahead of the launch of a supporters' scheme by the local charity Developing Health and Independence, which helps socially excluded people. He is the charity's patron.
In an interview on the charity's website Mr Loach, who directed award-winning films such as Kes and The Wind That Shakes The Barley, says: "You have areas of the country where there is no work and derelict housing and you have areas of the country where there is massive overcrowding and families jammed in one room and building workers put out of work.
"What a crazy failure to link needs with the power to answer those needs - the situation will get worse because the system cannot answer it, it's a downward spiral."
Mr Loach, who recently finished filming his latest work, The Angels' Share, urged people to support charities such as DHI which help people by providing information, housing and help with drink and drug problems.
Mr Loach became nationally-known in 1966 for his film Cathy Come Home, which inspired action to tackle the lack of decent homes in Britain. But in the DHI interview he still sees problems with housing today: "Homelessness is a continuing problem and it's the root of many people's problems, alongside not having a job. A home is fundamental to a decent life.
"Given that the economic system produces casualties and will continue to do so, the humanitarian response is to help your neighbour when your neighbour stumbles and I think that's a very genuine, human, compassionate instinct and represents the best in us. I think charities are absolutely necessary because otherwise many people's lives would fail that don't fail because of charities, so of course you must support that.
"It's no use simply addressing one problem if there are a range of problems," he says. What is needed is "help in finding work, help in finding somewhere to live, helping - if it's necessary - to deal with problems of addiction. Each of those individually can destroy someone's chances so you have to provide a complete network of support, which DHI does, which is terrific."
Mr Loach gave the interview to support DHI's new Friends scheme, where people can sign up on its website to receive a newsletter which gives information on the charity's work and how they can help.
DHI has recently relaunched its website to carry its latest news, with videos and audio clips of clients and staff talking about their work and progress.
The Friends scheme will be formally launched at DHI's annual event on Wednesday 30 November at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution at 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN, from 6-30pm to 8-30pm. Several DHI clients will talk about their lives, and a short video about the charity's work will be shown. It's free to attend and people wanting to come should contact its fundraiser, Tony Trueman, on 07792 062 154 or: firstname.lastname@example.org
DHI helps people to turn their lives around by tackling the causes and consequences of social exclusion through a broad range of practical and emotional support services such as information and advice, supported housing, counselling and training opportunities. It works with thousands of people each year who are socially excluded for reasons such as homelessness, learning disabilities or alcohol or drug addiction.
In the interview Mr Loach says: "I've worked on a number of films which have involved people who have made mistakes - some of them have been addicted to illegal substances, some of them have drunk too much and some of them have bad relationships.
"That's what we do as people - we all can fall into those traps and experience those difficulties. The idea that people should not only have a second chance but a third chance and so on is very important.
"Who doesn't make mistakes? Sometimes the mistakes are serious and sometimes they can be a whole succession of little mistakes and misjudgements and silly things and you end up on a slippery slope and you can't get out of it, and that can happen to any of us."
Tony Trueman said: "Ken Loach's words are a call to action - people who want to help DHI are very welcome to sign up for the newsletter on the website and read more about what we do."