Friday, 7 April 2017

Where did London's compassion go....

Over the last 37 hours, I've been trapped in my car due to a CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) "Crash" (Relapse).

Only 2 people were aware of this.  My solicitors at the Public Law Project and Robin Mauras-Cartier, Regional Spa Director (Akasha Wellbeing) - The Set Hotels.

Ironically, it was the latter, that was the main instigator of my relapse and being situated only 3 minutes away from where I was located, did nothing whatsoever to assist.

I'd been emailing both from the confines of my car on my Lenovo Tablet using Eat on Golden Square's WiFi being parked outside of it.

If you've been following my blogs and tweets, you'll know I've been living in a car since October 2016 to highlight the problems of the Homeless and the Vulnerable in the city I love, as part of Ken Loach's, I, Daniel Blake campaign.

The one key thing to achieving this, is an ability to store a few clothes somewhere dry and a place to shower and ablute every morning. 

Well, that was, until Wednesday April 5th 2017, Akasha, part of Hotel Cafe Royal on Piccadilly Circus, which is now managed by Mr. Mauras-Cartier, he being the third manager of the venue, since I joined last year.

I've held a Birthday Party at the members club of Hotel Cafe Royal because of my connection to the spa, and as one of London's number 1 Tripadvisor Reviewers, soon to be Google's top London Guide and about to launch one of London's biggest promotional apps in 2018 (Paul Atherton's UniquelyLondon), you'd think the venue would be keen to get the good press and the promotion, that their support would have given them.

But not for Mr. Mauras-Cartier.

The other staff here however, have all been amazing, the yoga & pilates instructors literally life-saving when it's come to my health condition and reception staff all welcoming and understanding, as my twitter feed about them will attest.

The issue, as far as I can tell, has as all been down to an administrative cock-up on the hotels' part, not logging a cash payment for membership on their system last year. 

I've got the receipt buried in my storage unit somewhere, but rather than giving me the time to retrieve it, Mr. Mauras-Cartier did the unthinkable and cleared my lockers leaving my possessions at reception.

As something similar mistakenly happened a few months ago, on a locker safety check, he knew exactly the impact on my health and my circumstances that would have. It put me in a spin for over a week with a crash the last time, which I had written to him about at the time and he'd also seen my Living In a Car campaign video a few weeks ago.

Suffering with CFS means memory and concentration are severely affected, so spacial awareness is key to knowing where things are.

Any disruption to things a CFS sufferer has left in a space is akin to anyone else having burglars in their home ransacking their stuff to an extent not to allow them to discern what's been taken or what's not, but at the same time leaving them devastated emotionally and physically exhausted.

I've only now managed to surface from the car and am still very uneasy on my feet (my stick previously held in my locker is at Akasha's reception with my other possession) and have yet to collect.

It's hard to understand why someone I barely know, would be so vindictive, unhelpful and intentionally hurtful.

My attendance at the Spa has no implicit cost whatsoever, it's fundamentally there for Hotel guests, though there are a few members there too, so it certainly couldn't be a money issue. So I flounder to see what the motivation of his actions were.

I've made friends with some of the other Akasha members and ironically, one I'm supporting on a pro-bono basis in my film making capacity with a health campaign his organisation is running.

So, I'm left in the unenviable position of either having to be out of pocket and finding somewhere else within budget for my campaign (£30 per day) or quitting the campaign entirely.

I've usually always found London incredibly supportive with my CFS.  Harvey Nichols organised a food delivery for me one year because I couldn't get there for my annual Christmas Eve tradition (a service they do not offer), local cafe's have delivered to my door (who don't deliver) and concierges regularly checked on me at The Whitehouse Apartments on Southbank, a thing which was done out of compassion not a job obligation.

So this has come as a devastating and severe blow to my campaign, my health and my love of London. 

I just hope it's a one off and not a trend we are seeing across London, because as a City we've always been at the cutting edge of compassion we founded the worlds 1st Registered Charity (The Foundling Hospital 1739), set up The Samaritans, The Salvation Army & The YMCA and our rich philanthropist have protected the weak on the streets from Barnardo's to Peabody.

I too am going to continue supporting those I've always done like Graeme Croton at the Aspie Project.

And hopefully I can find a more compassionate and considerate venue in the city I love, so I can continue my quest to help others.

I'll keep you informed!