Exeposé News Issue 624, Page 2 (20 May 2014) and Exeposé News online (24 May 2014)
Bournemouth Church Housing Association (BCHA) has backed a campaign by Exeter City Council to change attitudes towards begging in Exeter’s city centre.
The #ExeHelp initiative – which involves the use of messages sprayed onto pavements at key spots in the city centre – aims to spread awareness among the public as to how those begging on Exeter’s streets can be most effectively supported.
Through temporary, biodegradable messages bearing statements such as “change is about more than a few pounds” the initiative hopes to encourage people to donate to charities supporting vulnerable people in Exeter, rather than simply giving to those on the streets.
The #ExeHelp campaign – carried in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Police and BCHA – has also received support from other Exeter-based charities and support agencies.
The BCHA – one of the charities of which the initiative is hoping to increase awareness – offers support and advice to those sleeping rough in the city.
Adrian Staegemann, Co-ordinator of BCHA’s Street Homeless Outreach Team, said: “We are pleased to be supporting Exeter City Council with this campaign, and hope it will help those people who want to support the homeless to know the many alternative ways in which they can do so.”
Cllr Rob Hannaford, Lead Councillor for Housing and Customer Access, said: “We recognise that those begging do need help but paying them direct could be doing more harm than good. If anyone wants to make a difference they can make a donation to one of the support agencies that help the homeless in Exeter.”
Inspector Tanya Youngs, of Devon and Cornwall Police, added: “Exeter is fortunate in that it has numerous charities and supporting bodies who help homeless people and those in need.”
A Guild spokesperson commented “We would always encourage students to give to recognised charities to ensure that their donations and support have the maximum impact.”