Liverpool people are being asked to support local charities which help homeless people rather than give money to beggars.
The “Your Kindness Could Kill” campaign advises people that there is a better way to help beggars than giving money directly to them.
This is because many of those who beg are vulnerable people who often have drug or alcohol addictions and the money they receive from passers-by goes on feeding these addictions.
Instead people are being encouraged to donate to local charities which can provide lasting support and help address underlying issues.
‘Your Kindness Could Kill’ is supported by Citysafe, (Liverpool’s Community Safety partnership), Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS), Merseyside Police and City Central Bid.
This is the second year the campaign has been held. Last year a total of £6,400 was collected and handed over to the Whitechapel Centre, the Basement, Young People’s Advisory Service (YPAS) and the Liverpool Homeless Football Team.
Official collectors will be in the city centre on Thursday evenings in the run-up to Christmas, starting on 4 December when the Lord Mayor, Councillor Erica Kemp launched the campaign. She is pictured with some of the collectors.
There will be collection boxes at locations around the city centre including at several city centre businesses.
Councillor Emily Spurrell, the Mayoral Lead on Community Safety, said: “We understand that people want to help those who are in need, especially as Christmas approaches and it is a hard message to be asked not to give money to them.
“But we are not saying don’t help beggars ,we are saying that the best way to help is to give to those charities which can make a lasting effect on their lives. “Your Kindness Could Kill” is not just a slogan – unfortunately it is a reality. All the experience of organisations who work in this field is that money given to beggars largely goes to feed drug or drink addictions.
“By supporting the charities who will benefit from this campaign you will be helping beggars get out of that lifestyle.”
Area Commander for Liverpool North, Chief Supt Jon Ward said: “We recognise that many people on our streets need help and we are supporting Liverpool City Council’s campaign ‘Your Kindness Could Kill.’ We work closely with partners in charitable organisations to ensure these people get the help they need and are treated fairly.”
Bill Addy, Chief Executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: ”Liverpudlians are among the most generous people in the country – but giving money to beggars is not the best way to support those in need. The Kindness Can Kill campaign had great results last year and is a great way to channel that spirit so that we can make the biggest impact on the most vulnerable at the harshest time the year.”
You can donate to the Your Kindness Could Kill campaign on your mobile phone by texting YKCK14 and the amount you want to donate, for example £5, to 70070.
People who are approached or see people begging on the streets are being advised to contact No Second Night Out on 0300 123 2041 and support will be offered to the individuals to help them get off the streets.