Council bosses urge 'make your fiver go further' when helping the homeless in Mansfield this Christmas
Council bosses in Mansfield are urging the public to ‘make your fiver go further’ when supporting the homeless this winter.
As the weather turns colder, many people become more aware of the street community and want to help – and Mansfield Council is urging town centre visitors to donate to existing support organisations rather than hand cash to people who appear to be homeless, or are begging.
Coun Marion Bradshaw, council portfolio holder for safer communities, housing and wellbeing, said: “We are fortunate to have such a generous and supportive community here in Mansfield.
“The most obvious way to feel like you are helping is to hand over some cash, but in reality this is unlikely to increase the chances of them finding a way off the streets.
“Your money will go further if you donate to one of the existing charities or groups that work daily with our street community.
“They don’t just provide food, but expertise in dealing with a range of long-standing and complex issues to help someone who is homeless make positive, permanent changes to their way of life.”
The council’s appeal ties in with the Mansfield Street Support campaign – see mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk – which was launched in 2018.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of charities and groups helping the Mansfield street community and to ensure offers of cash, food and volunteering time are directed in the best way.
Inspector Nick Butler, Nottinghamshire Police’s Mansfield district commander, said: “I share the determination of people in our community to improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents.
“In my experience, the best way to do this is not to give money and other donations directly to people on the streets, but to donate instead to the excellent local charity and support groups that work every day to support people who sleep rough and beg on our streets.
“That’s because cash donations can be used to fund the drug and alcohol addictions that in many cases have led people into the unfortunate positions they are in.
“As a result, they are pushed further from the support they need and towards the type of offending that negatively impacts businesses and residents.”
If you are concerned about someone who appears to be sleeping rough, call 0800 066 5356.