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Do you give money to beggars?

(74 Posts)
Marelli Sun 12-Jan-14 10:29:55

The other day I'd just got out of the car and was crossing the car park when a young woman came up to me and asked for 20 pence. She was very bedraggled and I'm pretty sure (well, more than sure, really) that she was an addict. I told her 'No', and kept walking to the shop doorway. She ran after me, and I was a bit worried that she may just grab my bag (I'd got a large amount of money in it and I was also intending to go to the bank), but instead she changed her course and asked another woman who'd just got out of her car. The woman gave her 20 pence, and when I spoke to her, said, "Well, it was just 20 pence."
I went into the shop, bought a hot filled roll and went out to look for the girl but she'd disappeared.
I can't get her out of my mind. If I'd had food in my bag, I'd have given her that. sad

POGS Sun 12-Jan-14 16:37:04

I am going to contradict myself here.

No I do not give to beggers. I am acutely aware that they probably would buy drugs or alcohol and I think a lot of their problems are self inflicted. Yes I know that makes me a hard old moo but I am a realist. I also know that some big issue sellers are not what they seem to be.

Why the contradiction? On another thread some time ago I related the story of a tramp I used to make a point of speaking to and giving a hot dog to in Leicester. I was in my early twenties then. He was a shy man who was nick named spit and twitch. He was left alone and if anyone had a go at him somebody would always stop what was happening.

I found out, after a long time he was a window fitter and family woes had left him distraught and he became 'a gentleman of the road'. One day, after many years he simply vanished. He was not an alcaholic as far as I knew but a genuine sad and lost person who deserved to spoken to respectfully. By the way, he did not beg he was never seen to anyway.

merlotgran Sun 12-Jan-14 16:45:37

I don't give money to beggars but I like to support our local EMMAUS community.

The Big Issue sellers in our local town were becoming quite intimidating outside Waitrose. If you dodged them going one way they'd step in your path as you were on your way back to the car park. I find stopping dead and stepping sideways hurts my knees so I was relieved when they were moved on to a different part of town.

Iam64 Sun 12-Jan-14 16:58:23

There are increasing numbers of beggars in Manchester and the surrounding towns. It's so cold, has been raining incessantly, and there are so many rough sleepers who either can't get into hostels, or who find hostels intimidating. Many rough sleepers are ex care, ex army and have mental health problems, often connected to their drug/alcohol dependency. I buy a Big Issue fairly often. I do understand the reasons not to give cash, and I'm not critical of anyone who doesn't. I do feel though, that nothing could be much worse than being homeless, cold, wet, and miserable.

glammanana Sun 12-Jan-14 17:13:18

I do buy a big issue from the girl in our local town she has been in the same area for a while now and is always polite and wishes you a good morning/afternoon and in Liverpool City Centre I always look out for the blind guy with the dog who plays his guitar in Church Street out side the shops at the top of the Street,he does not sing but just plays the most fantastic music on his guitar and I will spend 1/2hr listening to him,in fact he makes my trip all the more enjoyable if ever you are there it is worthwhile seeking him out.

Agus Sun 12-Jan-14 18:55:46

I do give to beggars regardless of age. Some teenagers have no choice when a mother's new boyfriend chucks them out or are mentally/physically abusing them. Others, be it mental health issues, some of which can lead to addiction or have nowhere to go due to closures of mental health institutions.
I just don't think this is a lifestyle choice they have made willingly.

We have street performers from the piping school and music academy amongst a variety of others. I give to them sometimes.

We are not overrun with beggars or performers so I enjoy the performers and give them something too.

absent Sun 12-Jan-14 19:32:31

I never saw any beggars after I moved out of London and I haven't seen any now I am in New Zealand. However, I always had a soft spot for a middle-aged woman who used to beg in the subway leading out of Hammersmith station. She was very astute about her "marketing", changing her request from "any spare change" to "any spare notes" when she spied someone well dressed.

seasider Sun 12-Jan-14 19:49:51

I used to give money to a singing Big Issue seller outside our local M&S but at Christmas he had been replaced by a young pregnant girl who appeared to be Eastern European. If this girl is homeless why does she not return to her home country as in her current condition she is unlikely to get work. It may sound harsh but it put me off giving. I don't view buskers as beggars because many of them are students just using their talents to earn money.

NfkDumpling Sun 12-Jan-14 20:06:49

Norwich police have asked people not to give money to beggars as they've found people coming into the city to beg who've been known to make £250 a week. Also, strangely, very few 'rough sleepers' actually sleep rough.

Nonu Sun 12-Jan-14 20:56:25

You have a big heart Glamma

Humbertbear Sun 12-Jan-14 21:33:33

Isn't it better to give whatever you can to a charity that helps the homeless such as Crisis? There are some genuine beggars but mostly it's either a scam or they use the money for drugs.

Deedaa Sun 12-Jan-14 21:57:25

I do sometimes give money to beggars and when I worked in a cafe in Cornwall we had a couple of regular tramps who would come in for a cup of tea. They had been banned from most of the places in town but they were no trouble at all, just a bit smelly so you had to be careful where you sat them. When one of them died we sent a wreath to his funeral and people were so surprised it made the local paper. We had learned quite a bit about him in the time we'd known him and it just seemed the obvious thing to do.

numberplease Sun 12-Jan-14 22:22:41

I don`t give to beggars, but do sometimes put a bit of change in a street musician`s collection, if they are good. I used to buy the Big Issue now and then, the man sho sold it was nice, but the one doing it now makes me feel uneasy, so I pass him by. When we were in Turkey, a Turkish tour guide told us not to give to beggars, he said they were probably better off than we were!

penguinpaperback Sun 12-Jan-14 22:42:00

I support various charities but I don't give money to beggars.

Eloethan Sun 12-Jan-14 23:55:39

I give money to street/tube musicians. I would buy food but generally not give money.

Anniebach Mon 13-Jan-14 09:40:44

Yes, I am quite aware it could be for drugs or alcohol but I don't know the reasons why the person has been reduced to asking for money.

annodomini Mon 13-Jan-14 10:51:16

If I hear a good busker, I drop some coins in their hat - or violin case. But beggars are another matter. This country has a benefit system and I'm not it.

Lilygran Mon 13-Jan-14 11:55:03

I give to charities as well.

soop Mon 13-Jan-14 16:02:36

Ditto. And I buy The Big Issue. I cannot know the reasons that have reduced someone to need to beg. If that person's needs are legitimate, I'm very happy to contribute. If not, it appears that there are sufficient numbers of passers by who will do just that. My donation won't make a huge difference one way or the other.

Deedaa Mon 13-Jan-14 21:21:36

I always give a donation to St Mungo's at Christmas because they will find places for people with dogs.

susieb755 Mon 13-Jan-14 21:50:14

I buy big issue, but give money to a homeless centre locally - I know due to my job that some 'homeless' are no such thing and actually have a tenancy, and sometimes giving money goes on drink and drugs

BTW - the dogs have a really good life as they are actually living the life that dogs were meant to - and most people treat the dog.....

We had a talk at church once from the charity saying how a homeless man had been found dead with his dog.. the dog was 'rescued' given vet treatment, fed until it was fit, retrained and found a home..... and if only we had offered that to it;s owner, he might not have died -made me think , hence my donations to the charity

Iam64 Tue 14-Jan-14 07:34:05

susieb and Deeda, dogs are such good companions. Dogs who share their lives with homeless people are never left alone for long periods, and in their mind have a job, which is what many much loved pets lack. I shall add St Mungo's to my charity list, thanks for that Deedaa

liminetta Tue 14-Jan-14 07:55:47

I have just read your post Grannyactivist, and I think you must be very brave to take people who have those issues into your own

Marty Tue 14-Jan-14 08:02:27

I never ever give to beggars. Most of our beggars here in Durban are street children. The municipality has asked us not to give to them as there are places of safety for them where they can get food, a warm bed and encouraged to go to school. If you give money to beggars that is what they are committed to and will not try and move on to a better life for themselves. It is very hard but there are so many it is overwhelming so I just harden myself and say 'no'.

dorsetpennt Tue 14-Jan-14 09:36:47

In our area of Bournemouth , which has an almost village-like atmosphere , we have a Big Issue seller outside our local M and S food. We are particularly fond of our B.I. sellers here as they seem to allocate really nice guys to us, it is a largely middleclass and elderly population area. Know your market. About five years ago we had Ralph. He'd had that spot of several years. As well as selling his magazine, he'd hold your dog for you whilst you shopped, he even held my suit case once as I'd forgotten something and had to dash back home for it before the coach came. He refused a tip as he said I'd miss my coach. Every now and then he'd slip off the wagon but soon got back on again. To our horror he was murdered one night by three thugs who kicked him to death.[oldest thug was 17 years old, great start to your life]. His funeral was held at a local church and it was packed, as the funeral cortege passed by everyone stopped and bowed their heads in respect.
We have had several B.I. sellers after that but none were as loved as Ralph. Until Ben showed up. He is in his 30's, polite and every bit as helpful. He also has a puppy called Oscar, a sweet little brown pooch - these two just adore each other. So as well as the odd £1 I give Oscar doggy treats or a tin of dog food. I give to Ben but not other beggars.

Flowerofthewest Wed 15-Jan-14 09:46:35

We have one local lady who regularly asks for money or a cigarette. I once heard in a nearby bush with another 'person of the road' negotiating a do-nut for her services. I quickly walked to the next bus stop.