Clare Wall, “Busking lady” and Charlie Chaplin impersonator spent all day today (25th) “living rough” to show solidarity with the homeless, whom she believes are still under threat from the PSPO proposals. Following a consultation over the summer, due to the hugely negative response to the plans, the Council have listened and dropped the measures against rough sleeping and buskers. However , Clare believes that by leaving the proposals against begging in place, many vulnerable people could be criminalised or fined.
Clare says that she is out performing on the streets the majority of the time, though she is sometimes hired for gigs and events. She performs as Charlie Chaplin or a 1920s flapper with a green hat.
“Today I am having an activist day. I have come out to protest against the PSPO .. they are talking about fining beggars a thousand pounds , which is obviously ridiculous. Rough sleeping and busking have been lifted from the PSPO , but we still have issues like begging and bird feeding. I’m here with signs to let people that anything I make goes to the Soul Kitchen. Its a voluntary organisation which provides food and time, and a soup evening each week. ( See https://shitchester.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/soul-kitchen/ )
“Over the summer, theres been a few things going on. We had the Say no the PSPO march, with Mark Thomas and Johnny Walker, a busker, he organised it. He’s an activist who comes over and has been really involved in our issues. We marched around Chester covering the border of the PSPO. … Things have been Ok, it has been worked fine with our own code of practice, working with the shops and sticking to a time limit of an hour. With homelessness and the begging, they’re not taking things individually…
She says that the busking community , who took part in a series of consultations with the council over the summer have worked together with others, including homeless people to “stand up for the community”. She praised her fellow buskers including Dave Southern for their role in the consultation.
Clare said that: ” Its been good… we’ve had food and cash donations, that will go to Soul Kitchen. Its not raining either which is really great news!
.”I am here all day, into the evening. Its really interesting because I’m able to understand what its like to be homeless, I’m getting a sense of the type of reactions people get, disdain, or people’s generosity as well. Attracted interest on the street.. Its a really interesting, quite educational experience for me, if nothing else, it will hopefully spread a bit of awareness.