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Do you give to people begging in town ?

(258 Posts)
Jaffacake2 Mon 10-May-21 18:52:29

Now that lockdown is easing and the shops are open it seems my town has an influx of beggars back on the streets. In the past I have offered to buy hot drinks and food but have been met with abuse and demands for cash. I don't give money and have at times phoned our city's outreach homeless team to alert them. They have told me that they regularly patrol streets and that there is enough hostel spaces to offer a bed.
Just wondered what others do when asked for money ?

Chewbacca Mon 10-May-21 19:57:16

I now have a monthly direct debit set up to our local homelessness shelter; I know that every penny is welcome.

Ngaio1 Mon 10-May-21 19:58:20

Certainly not. Far too many of them are organised fraud. I will donate some dog biscuits though. Don't see why the animals should suffer.

Katie59 Mon 10-May-21 20:08:39

Not if begging, but we get buskers in town, regulated by the council, some are good and I will donate to them

Iam64 Mon 10-May-21 20:11:11

That’s horrible Chewbacca. Piccadilly Gardens was an oasis of calm when I started work in the city centre in 1967. Lots of workers would eat their packed lunches there, grass or benches to sit on.
It’s now dominated by homeless people, most of whom are out of it on Spice and other drugs. Police and paramedics focus on rapid responses when people collapse, it’s grim. I’ve not been into the city for over a year. When we last walked from Victoria to Piccadilly station about 8.30am, every shop doorway along Market Street had people sleeping there.
The Neville brothers. Rio Ferdinand and other ex MU players were developing one of the beautiful old buildings in the centre as a hotel. The winter before lockdown, they suspended the refurb so the building could be used for rough sleepers.
Drugs, alcohol. Homelessness - dire

NanKate Mon 10-May-21 20:12:52

I know our local street beggar is a drug addict and has been offered help which he has refused.

I don’t give him money as I know what he will spend it on. However I buy him food. As well as a sandwich and cake I recently gave him a chopped up apple which he refused as he said ‘I don’t like fruit’. ?

Chewbacca Mon 10-May-21 20:22:44

Piccadilly Gardens was an oasis of calm when I started work in the city centre in 1967. Lots of workers would eat their packed lunches there, grass or benches to sit on. Yup! It was lovely wasn't it Iam64? I used to work at a bank on Corporation Street and walk up to Piccadilly gardens to eat my lunch most days. Very sad to see how it's changed. I too saw so many people lying sleeping on the benches, in the middle of the day and even saw one very young girl injecting herself into her ankle. I couldn't, with all conscience, give money to aid that.

Callistemon Mon 10-May-21 20:23:03


I now have a monthly direct debit set up to our local homelessness shelter; I know that every penny is welcome.

That is a much better thing to do.
At least you know the money will be used wisely.

GagaJo Mon 10-May-21 21:38:05

I do. There for the grace of god...

I will also give sandwiches or a drink if I have time, but if not, a quid is always welcome.

GagaJo Mon 10-May-21 21:38:25

but for the...

biglouis Mon 10-May-21 21:54:19

While I was a mature student in Manchester I lived on a tough council estate (now demolished) and it gave me an eye into another world that I had never encountered before. People on benefit who went into the city to beg outside the opera house and similar places. They would come into the local shops with pockets full of one pound coins and tales of how they had got if off the "posh frocks" in the city center. Some of these people had come from far better backgrounds than myself and had chosen to opt out and be kept by the state,

My nephew took in a homeless guy and helped him get a residential hostel place. It was not pleasant and he barely stuck it out for a few months but from there he was able to bid for a small flat where he now lives. He spends a lot of time still at my nephews and is not good at food and bills budgeting. However with a bit of support he is managing to look after himself and keep off the streets. He is ADHD and bipolar so will probably always need some measure of support.

So Ive seen different sides of street people. Some of them in Manchester can get quite aggressive.

Chewbacca Mon 10-May-21 21:57:02

A quid is always welcome. Mine wasn't! grin

Urmstongran Mon 10-May-21 22:00:21

Where’s Andy Burnham then?

Shinamae Mon 10-May-21 22:04:04

I will sometimes give to a big issue seller. There was a guy who used to sit on the pavement with his dog and I regularly used to give him a pound that is until I went in Wetherspoons one day and saw him playing the fruit machine, never again!!!

Jaffacake2 Mon 10-May-21 22:08:25

When I was a child there was a lot of poverty where I lived. We were always hungry and wore second hand clothes. But there were no beggars on the streets just a few old tramps who were given food by locals, pub landlords and police.
So is it drugs that have caused this problem ?

Sago Mon 10-May-21 22:08:45

There is a young man that begs by our Lidl store.
He is always polite, I give him my trolley to return so he can keep the coin.

Blossoming Mon 10-May-21 22:19:35

I haven’t been into the city for over a year, but I used to give money to beggars. There but for the Grace of God and all that.

Urmstongran Mon 10-May-21 22:29:21

I think it’s drugs. Spice. In Manchester City anyway. And mental health issues. Scary to think of the numbers of individuals involved. You can’t imagine what Piccadilly Gardens looks like. Zombie Town and scary.

Are other cities like this? Glasgow? London? Leeds?

Woodmouse Mon 10-May-21 22:41:20

No I don't give money to beggars. I have bought them a hot drink on a cold day but the homeless charities really don't want people to give them money - too much of it goes to drug dealers.

CafeAuLait Mon 10-May-21 23:43:08

I recently did hand 20 to someone locally because I just felt it was helpful to them. We don't usually have anyone begging where I am.

If I go closer to the city centre I see them but I don't give for the following reasons:
- Some of them are professional beggars. They are not homeless or destitute. They make a nice living this way.
- Stories of people becoming aggressive with people who give, but not in the way they want. I don't want to risk someone getting aggressive with me for any reason.

I find it hard not to give so give to relevant charities instead. I feel it's a safer way to help.

grannyactivist Tue 11-May-21 01:13:03

Jaffacake2 I used to take in homeless people and help them get back on their feet, but now I run a homelessness charity so I need to maintain professional boundaries.

I never give money to homeless people locally because my charity provides anything they may need; boots, clothing, camping equipment, hot meals - whatever will keep them warm and safe and well. We also provide additional long-term support to assist them to access whatever further help is needed.

I would never say don’t give money to people on the street, but wisdom is needed. If someone is misusing drugs I suspect you really won’t want to discover it was your money that funded an overdose. I was recently contacted by someone who was upset at finding that their ‘good deed’ of giving cash had resulted in the near death of a homeless person.

Outside of my own town if I come across a homeless person I always stop and offer to buy them a meal or a hot drink. I used to carry several pairs of new socks with me and small tubes of toothpaste, but I haven’t replenished my stocks during COVID. (New socks are a really welcome gift for people who are genuinely homeless - I once had a lovely lodger who bought a case of them to hand out, I think it was 144 pairs!)

CafeAuLait Tue 11-May-21 01:58:50

I rarely carry cash these days. Sometimes, even if I've wanted to donate to someone collecting for a legit charity, I just don't have the cash on me.

Kim19 Tue 11-May-21 04:30:10

Wish I was street savvy about this. Feel so bad when I walk past street beggars and try to avert my eyes. I have no skill at discerning the 'genuine' ones but I do feel a little wretched as life has been somewhat kinder to me.

Urmstongran Tue 11-May-21 07:56:20

Surely it must be drugs then or mental health issues that have these needy people sat on a blanket in our city streets with a dog on a string? For some it does seem to be a lifestyle choice it seems. I don’t recall any of this in the 1960’s growing up. Yes, the odd ‘tramp’ with matted hair who had an alcohol problem. But this, really? When did this all become a thing? What a society we have become. The police don’t move them on, so the tent city just grows. I read there’s a huge problem on the outskirts of fashionable Paris. Maybe it’s all big cities nowadays. It must be intimidating for passers by.

Aveline Tue 11-May-21 08:04:43

Two friends of mine work in a rota to supply hit soup to street sleepers at night. They said that it was striking how their 'customers' had changed. The majority are apparently of Eastern European origin. People who'd thought life would be so much better here but discovered that it wasn't. That may just be something about town though. It might not be common elsewhere.

Aveline Tue 11-May-21 08:04:58

Hot soup!