Safety & Security News
[16.11.21] Birmingham City Council ‘There’s A Better Way’ campaign to tackle begging and promote giving at digital sites across the city.
On Friday 3rd September, 2021, Birmingham City Council launched the ‘There’s a Better Way’ campaign in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Two digital posters were displayed prominently at key points around the city, making the point that ‘There’s a Better Way’, rather than giving to someone begging on the street or at the road side. Instead, the public and local businesses are encouraged to donate to Change into Action
Speaking at the launch, Councillor Thompson, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Homelessness said ‘As Councillors we know only too well how emotive it is being asked for money on the street by someone who may appear to be homeless. We also know that the people of Birmingham are generous and want to help, but sometimes it is not easy to know how best to help or what the true circumstances of the individual are. So, we are not telling people what to do but are highlighting that we believe there is an alternative, a better way to help those in most need.’
By donating directly to Change into Action the public can be sure that their money will directly and personally help rough sleepers. Trusted local charities and street outreach teams work with them to identify those things that can really make a change to their lives. All funds received go directly to help an individual; none goes to the Council.
No one need sleep rough in Birmingham; here has been a marked reduction in the number of rough sleepers in the last 2 years. Birmingham City Council funds street outreach services 7 days and nights a week as well as health and treatment services and accommodation to ensure there is always a bed available.
Councillor Cotton, Cabinet Member for, Social Inclusion, Community Safety & Equalities said ‘We know that many people who beg on the streets are not sleeping rough but are often vulnerable for other reasons, and for them there is also the offer of help. We are especially concerned about individuals begging at roadsides and amongst traffic as they are putting themselves and the public at risk.’
If people are concerned that someone may be sleeping rough, they can report it through Streetlink. The notification will go directly to the Council’s street outreach team who will follow up with an offer of help.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Change into Action has helped make a real difference to those rough sleeping or at risk of doing so in the West Midlands, and I want to thank all the residents and businesses who have donated so generously to the scheme knowing the difference it makes. With “Change into Action” directly supporting and funding specialist homelessness charities and street teams, I hope people will continue to show their support and donate money.”
Councillor Thompson added ‘We know that it is hard to know what to do for the best when approached by someone begging, but we believe there genuinely is a ‘a better way’ than giving money directly. By giving to Change into Action you know that your money will be used wisely, and it will directly benefit someone who has slept rough. Already through the generosity of the people of Birmingham and local businesses, over £90k has been raised and this has provided grants to over 400 people to support their move off the street’
Council Cotton added ‘All donations are welcome, big or small. To give you an idea of what your money can buy, we have put together a simple guide. Donating £4 provides a day’s bus pass to go to appointments with homelessness services, £10 (provides) basic kitchen items when moving into self-catering accommodation,£50 will buy new clothes that fit and give confidence to their new owner, and £450 buys the basic furniture for a flat.’
To help spread the message about the Change into Action campaign, the Council is also asking people to send the ‘There is a Better Way’ poster image to family and friends using social media, so that they are seen by as many people as possible and the message reaches all communities.