Liverpool people are being warned that misplaced generosity could be condemning beggars to an early death.
A hard-hitting campaign “Your Kindness Could Kill” has been launched to advise people not to give money to people begging on the city’s streets.
It points that many of those who beg 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.
‘Your Kindness Could Kill’ is supported by Citysafe, (Liverpool’s Community Safety partnership), Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS), Merseyside Police, City Central Bid. Posters for the campaign are appearing at Merseyrail stations, bus shelters and other prominent city centre locations. Information about the campaign will be available at www.yourkindnesscouldkill.org.uk
Councillor Peter Brennan, the Mayoral Lead on Community Safety, said: “Liverpool people are renowned for their generosity and their first instinct when they see somebody who is struggling or in need is to put their hands in their pockets and help them – and they will feel that especially so at this time of year.
“But, without realising it, they are keeping beggars in their way of life which will result in the majority of them feeding an addiction and not addressing their underlying problems. All have been offered help but have refused to take up that offer.
“We are not saying to people to turn their backs on beggars nor are we judging them but we are saying there is a better way to help. We know there are a lot of demands on people’s money but there will be collections for four local charities – the Whitechapel Centre, the Basement, Young People’s Advisory Service (YPAS) and the Liverpool Homeless Football Team.
“The fund is being administered by LCVS and money raised will be split equally between the four charities who can provide lasting support and if you can help please do so.”
Merseyside Police’s Area Commander for Liverpool North, Chief Superintendent Jon Ward said: “We recognise that many people on our streets need help and we are supporting the “Your Kindness Could Kill” campaign. We work closely with partners in charitable organisations to ensure these people get the help that they need and are treated fairly.”
Official collectors will be in the city centre on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons before Christmas and there will be collection boxes at locations around the city centre including at several city centre businesses. The Lord Mayor, Councillor Gary Millar, is pictured taking part in one of the collections.
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.