Four charities are to receive money collected during a campaign which urged people to donate to them rather than give to beggars.
The “Your Kindness Could Kill” campaign which operated in the run-up to Christmas, pointed out that many of those who beg have drug or alcohol addictions and the money they receive from passers-by goes on feeding these addictions.
It encouraged donations to local organisations which provide lasting support and volunteers- including the Lord Mayor, Councillor Gary Millar – held collections in the city’s main shopping area during four late shopping nights and afternoons.
A total of £6,400 was collected and this will now be handed over to the Whitechapel Centre, the Basement, Young People’s Advisory Service (YPAS) and the Liverpool Homeless Football Team.
“These charities provide lasting support for vulnerable people throughout the year and not just at Christmas and donating to them provides much better help than giving to people begging on the streets,” said Councillor Peter Brennan, Mayoral lead on Community Safety.
“Putting it bluntly the £6,400 which was collected would otherwise have probably ended up in the hands of drug dealers or spent on drink to feed addictions if it had been given to the street beggars.
“This campaign was not about penalising or judging those vulnerable people begging on the streets. It was about helping them in a much better and positive way than giving them money directly.
“The collections took place at a time when there were a lot of demands on people’s time and money and I am very pleased about the amount we collected and would like to thank all those who donated and the volunteers and organisations who gave up their time to collect.
“However, the main aim of this campaign was not just about raising money , it was about getting people to think about the best ways they can help those who are on our streets begging long term.”
Tony Okotie, Chief Executive of LCVS, who administered the fund, said: “Your Kindness Campaign helped educate people on the impact of giving to those asking for money on the streets. LCVS was delighted to help in getting resources to organisations who can help those who really need it.”
The campaign was also supported by Citysafe , (Liverpool’s Community Safety partnership), Merseyside Police and City Central Bid.
Following its success of “Your Kindness Could Kill” a similar campaign will be held later in the year.
• 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.