The best way to help people street begging in Luton town centre is to donate to charity, rather than putting money in their hands – a new campaign explains.
Luton Borough Council together with The Luton Homeless Partnership and other partner agencies, are behind a drive to highlight the support and services available in the town to individuals on the streets.
As part of the campaign, people are being encouraged to consider donating to Luton’s alternative giving scheme ‘Big Change Luton’, which helps to create long-term change and help people build a life away from the street.
The scheme ensures public donations are used effectively and where it will really make a difference to those in need.
One hundred percent of donations go into a central pot which can be accessed by charities working in the town to help those associated with rough sleeping.
It’s easier than ever to give, with two contactless donation points at the service desk in The Mall and outside the Starbucks Travel Centre opposite Luton railway station and a dedicated Just Giving page.
Tim Archbold, Chair of Luton Homeless Partnership said: “Giving directly to those asking for money may seem like a generous act, but it doesn’t help the root of the problem.
By donating to Big Change Luton, you can make a real difference in people’s lives and local charities can start to work with the person to tackle the complexities of their circumstances.”
One applicant who has used the services provided by NOAH Enterprise was given money through the scheme to purchase a mobile phone which not only enabled him to open an online bank account but was vital in helping him to conveniently access and apply for job opportunities.
Tim added: “We also want residents, businesses and visitors to understand the level of support services we have here in Luton for vulnerable individuals.
“Nobody has to beg for hostel accommodation or a hot meal which can always be provided free at the point of need here in Luton.
“Individuals can access drug and mental health treatment and we can help people reconnect with their families if they wish to do so.”
Cllr Hazel Simmons MBE, leader of Luton Council, added: “We are proud that Luton is such an incredibly caring and generous town, but we’re asking people to really think before they give to those who are asking for money.
Big Change Luton is a fantastic initiative that has already helped many individuals build a life away from the streets. I hope the public will choose to give their spare change where it will really make a long-term difference to those in need,” Hazel added.
The alternative giving campaign is managed by the Luton Homeless Partnership, which consists of more than 20 partners from across the voluntary, public, and private sector, all working together to tackle homelessness and the issues associated.