Added on: 1st August, 2019 by O1
A scheme launched this summer across Orpington town centre aims to persuade residents to donate money to tackle the problem of homelessness, rather than giving directly to street beggars.
Distinctive house shaped collection boxes displayed securely at the till points of a number of participating businesses make it easy for customers to donate, with all proceeds going to the Bromley Homeless Shelter. Run by Churches Together Bromley, Bromley Homeless Shelter provides guidance to homeless people, or those at risk of homelessness, throughout the year as well as running a Night Shelter during the winter months.
Sainsbury’s Orpington Customer & Trading Manager, Dee Edin
Homeless Link, the national membership charity for organisations working with the homeless, reports estimates of a 165% increase in rough sleeping since 2010, and local businesses and residents in town have expressed concerns surrounding the increase in street begging.
Liberty's Fashion owner, Lisa Clark
It’s often said that not everyone who begs is homeless and not all homeless people will beg. Nevertheless, people who do beg are often some of the most vulnerable in our society, and many will be struggling with health issues.
Orpington 1st BID Manager, Chris Travers, explains that it is not a case of demonising beggars. “There is tremendous generosity of spirit in Orpington and through the ‘Loose Change 4 Real Change’ scheme residents have the option of donating to a worthwhile organisation aiming to support homeless people rebuild their lives, rather than to individuals. We want to encourage support for those who are vulnerable and in need, whilst also working with the appropriate authorities to address the issue of those individuals begging in an increasingly aggressive and intimidating way.”
Eddie Hayes of The Walnut Cobblers with Orpington 1st BID Manager Chris Travers
Alongside the business community’s work with Met Police, work is being undertaken by the local authority and homeless charities to provide support to those on the streets, alongside enforcement action to those who are involved in criminal activity.
To report rough sleepers, visit www.streetlink.org.uk which will trigger a visit to their location between 20.00-01.00.
Donation boxes can be found at:
Sainsbury's, Homfield Rise
Liberty's Fashion, 14 The Walnuts
The Walnut Cobblers