Killing with kindness: Greater Manchester shoppers urged to donate to homeless charities, not beggars

By Kim Richards

A new campaign launched throughout Greater Manchester is urging shoppers to donate spare change to homeless charities, rather than give it to individuals on the street.

The poster campaign – launched by Greater Manchester Police and council chiefs – aims to reduce the number of homeless people on the streets.

By donating to a charity organisations can ensure the money is spent on appropriate support for people who may otherwise use it to fuel drug and alcohol addictions.

Amanda Croome, from Deansgate-based charity the Booth Centre, said begging can be a tough cycle to break.  

“Begging is a humiliating activity which destroys people’s self-esteem and often leads them to give up trying to make a better life for themselves,” she said.

“Giving to someone who is begging will do nothing to help them move off the streets or improve their quality of life.”

Chief Inspector Gareth Parkin for Greater Manchester Police’s North Manchester division said many people feel intimidated when faced with aggressive beggars.

“Our officers will patrol those hotspot areas frequented by persistent offenders and will take a zero tolerance approach to begging in particular aggressive begging.

“They will also be talking to vulnerable people and alert them to the various services that are available to them.”

The scheme has stretched across Manchester, with Wigan and Leigh Council quick to follow suit to the city centre in aiming to educate the public on the dangers of giving money to beggars.

Wigan councillor Kevin Anderson said: “Members of the public give their money to street beggars in good faith, often presuming that they are homeless.

“There are many organisations, often charities, offering support with addiction or providing accommodation to those in need.

“They would benefit immensely from people’s donations and we would encourage people to consider making donations to them, however small they might be.”

Picture courtesy of JB London via Flickr, with thanks

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