A new campaign has been launched urging shoppers and visitors to Leeds not to give to beggars in the city centre.
Instead they are being asked to contribute through a dedicated text number, which will ensure all donations are used to provide meaningful support to homeless people.
The ‘Think Before You Give’ campaign is an initiative led by the Leeds City Council Safer Leeds Partnership, which including West Yorkshire Police, is working with a range of key support partners including BACIL (Businesses Against Crime In Leeds), Big Issue in the North, St Anne’s Community Services, Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI) Leeds Outreach Team and St George’s Crypt to inform the public why giving money to beggars is not the best way in which to help.
Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds said: “The main aims are not just about detailing to the public and businesses why giving to beggars in the street is not the best way to help but also raising awareness about a new text number where they can be guaranteed their donation will be given to services helping the homeless. If you would like to donate on your phone, please text with your amount, eg £5 TBYG99£5 to 70700.”
“Working closely with partners and charities across our city, we remain absolutely committed to helping and providing a range of meaningful support to those in desperate need of help and who find themselves homeless in Leeds.
Superintendent Sam Millar, head of Safer Leeds, said: “Begging in the city centre is an issue of concern and one which prompts regular complaints. The police are working closely with the council and homeless organisations to develop long-term solutions to help.”