For more than six months Middlesbrough Council and Cleveland Police have been working together under the banner of the Town Centre Team to help homeless, rough sleepers, beggars and others with serious personal issues to turn their lives around.
The team has already recorded some impressive early interventions with 14 homeless people being rehoused in the initial months of the project.
Then during the “Beast from the East” cold snap a further 11 people were helped off the streets, with permanent accommodation subsequently found for five of the 11 and three of the remaining number continuing to work with the service.
Additionally the Town Centre Team has helped vulnerable people into employment, with benefits and with medical matters including registering with GPs.
Now a call is being made to the public to “Make your small change make a big change” by giving spare change direct to charities and local support organisations.
The posters, unveiled by Middlesbrough Council and supported by Cleveland Police, Middlesbrough Recovering Together and Shelter, have been placed in prominent locations in the centre of Middlesbrough.
Cllr Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said: “We’ve got a really positive story to tell of the difference our approach is making to helping some of the most vulnerable in our community and changing people’s lives for the better.
“Most people’s reaction to seeing someone in a vulnerable state such as begging is to want to help and we should be proud of that instinct.
“We would never say ‘don’t give money to beggars’, but what we would say is let’s all try and make the help we can give go as far as possible – hence ‘Make your small change make a big change’.
“The issues our Town Centre Team see on a daily basis are complicated – not all homeless people sleep rough, not all rough sleepers are beggars and not all beggars are homeless and money alone can sometimes, not always, exacerbate the problems people are living with.
“We’re already working with scores of people but no-one should ever be left behind in Middlesbrough and we want to offer all the help and support we can to create a positive change for individuals who are desperate for it.”
The posters variously promote the messages of ‘Help people to make positive changes’ and ‘Help people to turn their lives around’ and end with the motto ‘Together we can make a change’.
- Make your spare change really count by giving directly to local organisations and charities via www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/smallchange