Council urges residents to support charities rather than giving cash to homeless

Generous residents who want to help the homeless have been urged to donate to a number of Mansfield-based charities that offer support for people on the streets.

It comes as a new Mansfield Street Support scheme has been launched, encouraging people to help the homeless community in Mansfield through existing charities and projects - insisting that “your fiver can go further off the streets”.

Mansfield District Council who helped launch a joint project with Mansfield Police, BID and Framework, hosted representatives on Monday for an intiative to inform members of the public how best to support the homeless, pictured with the Executive Mayor, Kate Allsop, fourth left, are from left, Mallory Faulkner MDC's Engagement and Development officer in the homeless department, Nikki Rolls the BID Chief Executive Officer, Elaine Quince MDC Community Safety manager, Jon Leighton from Framework Housing Association, Sgt. Paul Peatfield and Coun. Bill Drewett portfolio holder for Safe Communities.

Mansfield District Council who helped launch a joint project with Mansfield Police, BID and Framework, hosted representatives on Monday for an intiative to inform members of the public how best to support the homeless, pictured with the Executive Mayor, Kate Allsop, fourth left, are from left, Mallory Faulkner MDC's Engagement and Development officer in the homeless department, Nikki Rolls the BID Chief Executive Officer, Elaine Quince MDC Community Safety manager, Jon Leighton from Framework Housing Association, Sgt. Paul Peatfield and Coun. Bill Drewett portfolio holder for Safe Communities.

Its aim is to raise awareness of local organisations that help the Mansfield street community and to ensure that offers of cash, food and volunteering time are directed in the best way.

It suggests that, while donating money to a homeless person on the street may help in the short term, there are channels in place across the town where the money could be better spent in supporting the homeless.

The scheme, launched by Mansfield District Council, has been backed by homelessness charity Framework, the Mansfield BID and Nottinghamshire Police.

Kate Allsop, Mansfield mayor, said: “People in Mansfield want to help those who appear to be rough sleeping or spending their time on the streets of Mansfield.

“We want to encourage donations to a well-established network of outreach, charities and groups who work daily with our street community.”

At the centre of the information campaign is a new website which has a guide on how people can help, including information on how to donate money, food and clothing.

Homelessness charityFramework, which conducts regular outreach patrols to support Mansfield’s homeless, has backed the scheme.

Jon Leighton, operations manager, said: “This is not just about supporting Framework, this is about supporting all charities and groups that do a great job helping to find people a life away from the street.

“I understand why people want to give money directly to people, but in most cases this won’t improve their chances of finding a way off the street.”

Officers from Nottinghamshire Police, who regularly deal with homeless people, have also backed the scheme.

Sergeant Paul Peatfield said: “Cash given in the street often funds criminal behaviour when what really makes a difference is more outreach work and support to help people make life-changing steps to break the cycle of homelessness and rough sleeping.”

Nikki Rolls, CEO of Mansfield BID, added: “We’re pleased to support this campaign and encourage town centre businesses to display promotional material to help better inform the public.”

For more, visit mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk.