Sheffield Council campaign on ways to help the homeless

A homeless person living on the street. Sheffield City Council are aiming to raise awareness of the ways people can help
A homeless person living on the street. Sheffield City Council are aiming to raise awareness of the ways people can help

Sheffield councillors are planning to launch a campaign to encourage people to stop giving money to beggars and support homeless services instead.

It is set to start next year when 10,000 copies of guides highlighting support services and instructing how best to help.

Cllr Jim Steinke in Sheffield

Cllr Jim Steinke in Sheffield

It is being led by Help Us Help, which was set up last year and is run by local charities.

It will run a Christmas campaign and have stalls on the market in the city centre.

At a Sheffield City Council safer and stronger communities scrutiny meeting, Tracey Ford, from the council’s drug and alcohol team who leads Help Us Help, said: “Changing perceptions is one of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to trying to get the message over to members of the public about what support services are available.

“By giving to people on the streets, all people are doing is exacerbating their problems and encouraging them not to change.

One of the guides that will be sent out to homes across Sheffield

One of the guides that will be sent out to homes across Sheffield

“The key concept around Help Us Help is educating people about the different ways they can help the homeless, and it doesn’t all involve giving people money.”

She showed a video that will be used to raise awareness of the issue, which will be shown across the city.

Ms Ford added that students are some of the most generous in giving to those asking for money on the streets. She said they would be working closely with both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University to encourage support in other ways.

Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for community safety and neighbourhoods, said there are currently 34 rough sleepers in Sheffield and said giving money to those who ask for money on the streets ‘does more harm than good’.

One of the pages inside the guide, explaining the role of Help Us Help

One of the pages inside the guide, explaining the role of Help Us Help

He added: “The more we look at the damaging impact of giving money in the street has on beggars lives the more I think as an authority, and related agencies, we need to give a clear action plan to get the message out to people about alternative ways of helping and tackle the damage it does to people.”

In one of the campaign leaflets it says: “Finding yourself on the street can happen through a number of misfortunes and circumstances. Many of those providing support have been there themselves. Run by dedicated professional personnel and volunteers, these people never give up.

“The public is generous and Help Us Help aims to give people who want to help a greater understanding of the situation in Sheffield and provide clear options of how their money or their time can be best used to support those who are begging.”

Some of the services highlighted include: Housing Solutions, Cathedral Archer Project, Bens Centre and Soup Kitchen. 

It also includes four points to help for the best, such as: giving time or donations to charities, having a chat with someone on the street and encouraging them to access support services, giving food or drink rather than money and buying a Big Issue.

For more information go to www.helpushelp.uk/