Give a Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

10 May 2018

From this week, posters about alternative ways of giving will be going up across Bedford town centre.

Bedford Borough Council has received reports from local businesses and residents about aggressive begging in our town centre. In response the Community Safety Partnership has launched a poster campaign, working with the Council, Bedfordshire Police, Bedford BID, and the voluntary sector.

The poster urges people to ‘Give a hand up, not a hand out’. The aim is to raise awareness of the wide range of local charities who work to help homeless people, and the good that they could do to offer lasting change with donations from local people. 

Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Cllr Colleen Atkins said “Bedford residents are renowned for their generosity, with many people donating to charities and volunteering to help others. The aim of the poster is to raise awareness of the wide range of local charities who work to help homeless and vulnerable people. We want to encourage people to support these charities so they have the resources to provide long term help.”

Community Chief Superintendent David Boyle said: “We are working closely with Bedford Borough Council to tackle the issue of homelessness in our neighbourhoods. There are so many great local charities experienced in helping homeless and less fortunate members of our community, which gives them the chance to help improve their lives.”

Christina Rowe, Director of Bedford BID said “Of course people want to help when they see someone in this situation, but the advice of all the experts who work with those who are homeless, for whatever reason, is that their money will be put to the best use by donating to one of the charities included on bedfordhomeless.org.uk  Via this site people can choose which charity they give to and businesses are advised to bring this website to the attention of their customers as an alternative to handing over cash on the street.”

Sam Price from the Bedford Homeless Partnership said “Anyone begging on the streets deserves our help and support.  By donating to a homelessness charity or support agency, you know that your money will go towards making a positive change in people’s lives, and enable them to break the cycle of poverty and despair.”

Steve at Emmaus Village Carlton, who was formerly homeless, said “If you want to give to the homeless it is best to donate to something structured, as opposed to giving money on the street. This is more beneficial. You then know that your kind donations are going to something meaningful and that will give purpose, as opposed to just lasting someone an hour. By donating through a structure you know the money goes to people who actually need it'

If you think someone is homeless and wish to refer them to support services, please go towww.streetlink.org.uk; this is a national service to help connect people to local services

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