|Killing with kindness campaign launches in Wigan and Leigh
Visitors to Wigan and Leigh town centres are being urged to donate their spare change to registered charities, rather than give to individuals begging on the street.
The money will then be spent on organised and appropriate support for people who might otherwise use money received through begging to fund drug or alcohol addictions.
Wigan Council is working with partners, including Greater Manchester Police, outreach workers and local charities, to reduce street begging and direct people to the support available to them. The Killing with kindness campaign aims to educate the public about the effects of giving money to beggars, as well as putting beggars in touch with organisations that can help them.
Cllr Kevin Anderson, whose portfolio covers town centres and community safety, said: “Members of the public give their money to street beggars in good faith, often presuming that they are homeless. In fact, we know from the organisations that we work with that most people are not homeless and this money is used predominantly to buy drugs and alcohol. This can lead to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour.
“There are many organisations, often charities, offering support with addiction or providing accommodation to those in need. They would benefit immensely from people’s donations and we would encourage people to consider making donations to them, however small they might be.”
As part of the campaign, Wigan Council officers and Greater Manchester Police will be working in partnership to address some of the individuals involved. Greater Manchester Police can use powers granted under the Vagrancy Act 1824 and Section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act to remove beggars from the borough’s town centres and will be encouraging them to engage with organisations who can offer advice and practical support to deal with issues they may have.
Local charity, The Brick, provides help and support to individuals who have had a direct experience of homelessness and rough sleeping, or problems relating to those issues, such as health needs associated with substance misuse and an unsettled lifestyle. Based in Rowbottom Square, they also operate a food bank. For more information, visit www.thebrick.org.uk.
Members of the public can also contact Street Link to advise them of people sleeping rough who may need support. Visit www.streetlink.org.uk or call 0300 500 0914