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Concern for man living in telephone box in Greenhithe

By Jenna Dobbs

Community members are trying to support a homeless man who has been living in a phone box.

The rough sleeper, thought to be in his early 20s, has been staying in the makeshift shelter in Greenhithe after being homeless for about a month.

His whereabouts, which were first revealed on a community Facebook page, prompted comments from concerned residents.

Concerns have been raised about a man living in a phone box in Station Road, Greenhithe (8452580)
Concerns have been raised about a man living in a phone box in Station Road, Greenhithe (8452580)

Kent County Councillor Peter Harman has been working to resolve the situation, alongside the Revs Carol and Andrew Avery, who run the Mary's Child project.

Cllr Harman, who represents Swanscombe and Greenhithe, has described him as a "very polite young man", who is not believed to be a risk to residents.

He has visited the man three times, in the hope of getting him "back on track", while allowing the phone box to be used once again.

He said: "He agreed to come with me to see the Revs Carol and Andrew Avery at St Marys Church, Greenhithe.

"We had a good talk there and he has received lots of help and advice from Andrew and Carol.

"He has some money and has been eating in McDonalds and ASDA, and his wish is to work as a football coach."

KCC Cllr Peter Harman of Greenhithe
KCC Cllr Peter Harman of Greenhithe

Cllr Harman has since put him in touch with the Swanscombe Tigers Football Club, to see if they can help him with his ambition.

He said: "He can't stay in the phone box, partially because people need to use it, and because of his own health."

He added that, Carol and Andrew Avery have offered the man the use of the church's porch for a few days, while he gets back on his feet.

The pair are instrumental in running the St Mary Greenhithe Community Cafe and Mary's Child, which offer pastoral care, food and a range of other support to people in need.

The Revs Andrew and Carol Avery at last year's Easter fun day at the Community Cafe in Greenhithe
The Revs Andrew and Carol Avery at last year's Easter fun day at the Community Cafe in Greenhithe

Cllr Harman added: "I have a duty to residents to look after their interests, as a couple of women had felt intimidated and people can no longer use the phone box.

"I've also got a lot of empathy for the man who has been living there, and am trying to find a solution for everyone."

His compassion was echoed by members of the Greenhithe Residents Facebook page, with one commenting "thank goodness you managed to reach and help him".

Another added: "I hope he is given the help he needs to get off the street and makes the right choices to do that. Awful situation to be in. He needs help."

A spokesman for BT said: "We’re working closely with Councillor Harman, who’s trying to find suitable accommodation for the occupant, so that we can get this payphone available for use again as soon as possible."

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

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