Donate to homeless charities rather than to individuals living on the street.
That is the plea from Arun District Council this week, in a new poster campaign aimed at residents and visitors across Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.
The campaign has been launched by Arun’s multi-agency Rough Sleeping Community and Voluntary Sector Network due to concerns that money given directly to rough sleepers ‘isn’t always spent wisely’.
A spokesperson said: “The posters have been designed to get the message across to people that their generosity, especially in the run-up to Christmas, would be better directed towards charities that can provide the right kind of help and support.”
The ‘Spare Change - Make a Change’ initiative is a form of ‘diverted giving’ aimed at encouraging residents and visitors to volunteer or donate money and items directly to local charities and community groups.
Julie Hoggatt, Community Worker, said the campaign gives people who want to help those living on the streets ‘a chance to make a real difference’.
She added: “Donating to organisations means that money and time can be used to provide much needed services and support. You can be sure that you’re helping at a practical level to provide interventions and essentials that rough sleepers really need.”
Councillor Gill Yeates, the district council’s cabinet member for community wellbeing, said giving rough sleepers loose change ‘isn’t the best way’ to help them.
“I think most people in Arun would agree that it’s hard to walk past someone living on the street without wanting to help them,” she said.
“You can donate money or even your time by volunteering via one of the charities involved with homeless people in the district, if you are able to. That way you can really make a change.”
The campaign poster also highlights that residents and visitors to Arun, and across the UK, can report rough sleepers via www.streetlink.org.uk, which allows people to send an alert which will go to the local outreach service to help them find the individual and connect them to support. The Arun Rough Sleeping CVS Networking Group includes; Bognor Housing Trust, Salvation Army, Turning Tides, Rotary Club, Radio Respect, My Sisters’ House and the Bognor Regis and Littlehampton Foodbanks, along with Littlehampton Street Chaplains, CGL [Change Grow Live] and Stonepillow.
For more information about the individual charities and community groups involved and how you can help them to help others, visit the dedicated webpage www.arun.gov.uk/donate.