A new website, www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk, has been launched to encourage people to help the homeless community in Mansfield through existing charities and projects.
Mansfield Street Support is a campaign led by Mansfield District Council in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police, Framework and backed by the Mansfield Homeless Network and the town centre Business Improvement District (BID).
Its aim is to raise awareness of local charities and groups, which are helping the Mansfield street community, and to ensure that offers of cash, food and volunteering time are directed in the best way.
Executive Mayor Kate Allsop 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 www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk, which has a guide on how people can help, including information on how to donate money, food and clothing, and how to volunteer.
It lists support services available in Mansfield, including soup kitchens and night shelters, so people can see what is already in place, and has a direct link to the street outreach team for people to report any sightings of rough sleepers to make sure they are offered support.
There are also the latest news updates on the partnership work in Mansfield to combat issues surrounding street living.
Jon Leighton, Operations Manager for Framework, said: “This is not just about supporting Framework, this is about supporting all of the charities and groups that do such a great job helping to find people a life away from the street. I understand why people would want to give money directly to people but in most cases this won’t improve their chances of finding a way off the street.”
Sgt Paul Peatfield, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “It’s important to make clear that donations of money, food, clothes and goodwill go a lot further when given to a local charity or support group.
“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.”
CEO of Mansfield BID Nikki Rolls added: “We’re pleased to support this campaign and encourage town centre businesses to display promotional material to help better inform the public.”
The Mansfield Street Support information campaign reinforces the work of a multi-agency task force in the district which is tackling rough sleeping and homelessness, and the issues surrounding it, through a targeted programme of outreach work and, where needed, enforcement action.
On the front line are dedicated complex case workers and specialists in mental health and substance abuse, engaging directly with rough sleepers in Mansfield to encourage them to accept help. Not all of them want to be helped initially and it takes time to build trust in those offering that helping hand.
Supporting those most in need, day to day, are soup kitchens and special street community surgeries for those with medical needs.
The council works is working with local churches and the Derby Mission to run a seven-night-a-week shelter over the winter months, and continues to support a co-ordinated approach through the Mansfield Homeless Network.
Find out how to help and where to seek help at: www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk.
If you are concerned about someone who appears to be rough sleeping in your neighbourhood, contact the outreach team on 0800 0665356 or text SOTS to 80800 followed by your message.
Information packs including posters, window stickers, flyers and digital marketing tools can be collected from the BID office or are available from the Marketing and Communications team at Mansfield District Council on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01623 463199.