A new website launched last month in Mansfield to support the homeless is already delivering positive results.
The site, www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk, went live on 16 December and so far, 648 people have used it and 1,737 pages have been viewed.
Cllr Barry Answer, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Mansfield District Council, said: “The website is proving a very useful tool in the way we manage support for our street community.
“It is usually Christmas that provides a focus for people to offer support for the organisations that help rough sleepers but actually volunteering and donations are needed all year round.
“Check out what each organisation here is appealing for before giving money to people begging in the street.”
The most popular pages on the street support website are the contact pages and pages that detail how people can help by donating time, money, food and clothing. There is now a new section listing the specific needs of individual soup kitchens and help groups.
To highlight the website, a central part of the Mansfield Street Support campaign, the council and its partners are distributing 2,000 beer mats advertising it in venues in the town centre.
The street support initiative is 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).
Nikki Rolls, CEO of Mansfield BID, which has part funded the beer mat promotion, said: “This is a positive start to this campaign and we think the beer mats will be an effective way to spread the word about the campaign. We are urging town centre businesses to display promotional material to help better inform the public.”
Paul Anderton, chairman of MALV (Mansfield Association of Licensed Venues), said: “Often when people are out for the night they will feel tempted to give to people begging in the street. We hope these beer mats will help to highlight where people can make donations to help rough sleepers.”
Posters, window stickers, flyers and digital marketing tools are also available from the BID office or by emailing: email@example.com.
As well as raising awareness of local charities and groups, www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk, signposts where rough sleepers and homeless people kind find support and has a direct link to the street outreach workers.
This frontline team includes a dedicated complex case worker and a specialist in substance abuse, who engage directly with rough sleepers in Mansfield to encourage them to accept help.
Supporting those most in need, day to day, are soup kitchens and special street community surgeries for those with medical needs.
The council 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.
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.