In the 1990s, an aide to former US President George Bush Sr. coined the term Little Beirut in regards to Portland, Oregon for the violent protests that took place there during a visit. But apparently, there’s another “little Beirut” across the pond in the UK:
She has traveled the world helping the disabled, homeless and other marginalized groups. Now, Paula Spencer, from Whitstable, is using her expertise to help people closer to home.
The 55-year-old has helped to transform Thanington in Canterbury, which was once dubbed “little Beirut” for its high levels of crime and anti-social behavior.
In the late 1990s, it was making front page headlines most weeks for all the wrong reasons. It was known as little Beirut. There were burnt-out cars, joyriding, lots of anti-social behavior, graffiti and thefts. People couldn’t even get bank accounts because of the postcode. There weren’t any shops. People felt isolated as a community from the rest of Canterbury.
Though unlikely that Paula Spencer came up with the nickname, it still seems fitting to send her a Looks Like Beirut certificate.