An initiative titled Help Out Nottingham has been launched in a bid to enable members of the public to provide the most effective help to people who are begging and sleeping rough in Nottingham city centre.
The aim is to raise awareness of the many support services that are available in Nottingham to support people in need, and to inform members of the public about the most effective way to show their support for people in need by making informed choices.
As difficult as it can be to say no to someone asking you for money, the truth is many people who beg in the city are not homeless.
Often the people in these circumstances have complex needs, such as addictions and mental health illnesses, which need to be addressed at the same time as resolving any housing needs they may have.
A wide range of services and support is available in Nottingham to address the underlying causes that lead to begging and rough sleeping – from help with addictions and mental health, to outreach support and emergency accommodation for those who are sleeping rough.
There are also lots of ways that people can get involved in helping to make a difference from making donations to relevant charities, to volunteering.
Help Out Nottingham includes a dedicated website (www.helpoutnottingham.co.uk), packed full of useful tips to help people make informed choices about how they show their support. It also offers an online portal for users to make donations direct to local charities. This will ensure all money is channelled to those who can really help. It also explains how people can get involved in volunteering.
The new initiative has been launched by a number of partnered organisations, including the Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire Police.
The campaign also has the backing of many charities involved in working with vulnerable people in Nottingham. This includes Emmanuel House, Framework, Double Impact, Trussel Trust, The Arches, The Nottingham Recovery Network and Wellness in Mind.
It is also being supported by a number of Nottingham businesses and organisations including the Malt Cross bar on St James’s Street, and Wired Cafe on Pelham Street. This is as well as the organisers of Beat the Streets – a one-day charity festival taking place on Sunday 28 January 2018, which will see more than 80 national and local acts playing over 10 stages in venues across the city centre, in an aim to raise funds to support those sleeping rough.
Jeff Allen, chairman of the Nottingham BID said: “Begging and rough sleeping are on the increase in Nottingham but by working together, we can help address the issues that are at the root cause as part of a long term solution to getting people off the streets and ensuring that once they are, they stay off the streets for good.”
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: “Giving money directly to people begging is not the best way to get them the long term support they really need. The Help Out Nottingham initiative will provide an alternative way for members of the public to help by donating money to charities that provide support people on the street to tackle the complex issues they face.”
“The City Council has already allocated £106,000 to work with charities like Framework and Emmanuel House on a Cold Weather Plan to ensure that nobody needs to sleep rough in Nottingham this winter.”
Denis Tully, chief executive of Emmanuel House said: “Help Out Nottingham is the missing link that provides information to enable people to be better informed about the services available to people who are homeless. It will help them make informed decisions about how they want their donation used. In addition Help out Nottingham provides the opportunity for people to contribute through the services already in place and so make the biggest impact through their giving to prevent and overcome homelessness.”
Framework chief executive Andrew Redfern said: “Help Out Nottingham is a very welcome initiative that we are pleased to support. Homelessness and rough sleeping have been getting worse both nationally and locally in recent years. Partnership working is essential if we are to tackle them successfully. This initiative by the Nottingham BID will help members of the public to identify the most effective ways to show their concern. It is a fantastic idea which, combined with other initiatives like ‘Beat the Streets’ will make a real difference to the situation on the ground.”
To find out more, visit Help Out Nottingham.