New £200,000 drive to get Leeds beggars off streets

Have your say

A Leeds charity has been awarded a £200,000 contract as part of a drive to get beggars off the city’s streets and into vital support services.

CRI, a social care and health charity, has won a new Leeds city council tender to provide ‘street outreach’ services for the coming year.

The charity already works extensively with the homeless in Leeds. It is part of a network of organisations, which also includes St George’s Crypt, St Anne’s Community Services, The Big Issue in the north Trust, Emmaus Leeds and Simon on the Streets.

The new contract, to run from April this year, will especially help expand the team’s work with beggars.

Leeds city council has recently launched a campaign to raise awareness of begging being a crime and asking members of the public not to give money to beggars in the city centre, but instead donate to services providing free support.

Councillor John Hardy, Leeds council’s lead member for homelessness, said the new contract would help expand the charity’s existing services, which are “absolutely first rate”, with an emphasis on working with beggars. He said the new money would be vital in referring people on to other support services.

A new report just approved by the council’s director of environment and housing says the service will support rough sleepers to move off the streets as quickly as possible into appropriate accommodation. In addition to rough sleepers, the report says, the service will also work with people who are begging in Leeds.

The report says the service “will be required to develop excellent partnership and joint working arrangements with relevant agencies in the city to deliver positive outcomes for both rough sleepers and beggars”.

* Anyone concerned about someone sleeping rough or begging can call the CRI Street Outreach Team on 0113 245 9445 or the council’s Emergency Duty Team on 0113 2409536 out of hours.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

Sheffield Mutual achieves solid results as investment ISA grows in popularity