STREET LIFE: Andrew Brook shares this thoughts on Leeds’s bid to purge the city centre of ‘fake beggars’.
I would hate to be homeless, without anywhere warm to sleep and play and no food to eat.
From a child’s point of view, people who walk up to you and beg for money have really put me off giving a bit of money to homeless people on the streets of Leeds.
Who knows if the people on the streets are really homeless or not? Some of those are understood to have faked being homeless and this is earning a bad name to all homeless people.
Begging can earn up to £600 a week and I think this could be more than some people who work each week?
One day when I was walking outside Leeds museum a beggar walked up to me and started saying “Morning sir I wish you.....” and while he was saying this he was shaking a pot, basically telling me to give him money.
I just walked on because I find it rude that a stranger has come up to you and asked for money.
There are so many charities to which you can donate food and money towards who help people who are genuinely homeless.
My local scout group collect food for a charity called the Trussell Trust and so far we have raised over 1,500 items of food for them to support vulnerable people in Leeds.
There are many other charities you can donate to rather than giving spare change to a beggar but it is entirely your choice.
Leeds is one of the first cities in the country to make a new law targeting persistent fake begging.
If police catch somebody begging and they are not really homeless they will be given an injunction and banned from begging in the city centre.
If this stops fake begging then I think it’s a good idea.