You may have read in the Examiner today about plans to issue people caught street begging in Huddersfield town centre with warning letter. The article says that the scheme is supported by Huddersfield Mission, and I wanted to explain why this is the case.
People spend time on the streets or beg for a variety of reasons. At the Mission we believe that to truly change lives we must focus on the underlying cause not just the immediate needs of people. In practice we do this by helping with hot food, benefit advice and working with the Welcome Centre to access to clothing, food parcels, toiletries and household essentials. But this is not enough if we don’t also help people to tackle the underlying reasons why they are in their current situations. So we help people to access mental health support, to sort out benefit or debt issues, to get help with alcohol or drug issues. Our activity groups, such as art, music, cooking & IT help people build confidence, self-esteem, and essential life skills. Often this is long term work and needs to be based on a relationship of trust.
We have agreed that the details of Huddersfield Mission should be on the warning letter because we want to provide people with a positive alternative, ultimately that is what hope is about.