Glasgow sets up ‘alternative giving’ scheme to help beggars

People will be able to make online donations and use contactless giving points as part of an “alternative giving” scheme to help beggars in Glasgow.

The Street Change Glasgow scheme, run by the city council, will allow donors to contribute to a fund providing practical help such as clothes to attend job interviews, travel tickets or training to help find work.

A begging strategy group visited other cities in the UK, including Manchester and Liverpool, to observe what schemes have been used there and to evaluate what would be most suitable for Glasgow.

Third Sector partners involved in the scheme include Simon Community Scotland, Glasgow Homelessness Network and The Big Issue, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Police Scotland.

Businesses and other city organisations will be invited to become ambassadors for the scheme, providing ‘in kind’ financial support or work experience for suitable candidates.

Groups working with homeless people will be able to apply to the fund on their behalf.

Firms tendering for council contracts may also be encouraged to back the scheme via “community benefit” clauses.

Councillor Allan Casey, Begging Strategy Group chairman, said: “Glasgow is a generous city and people care deeply about those who are vulnerable and marginalised.

“They regularly give their spare change to people who are begging. This may help in the short term, but may not bring about positive, long term change in that person’s life.

“The new alternative giving scheme will offer the public a new way to help, which aims to deliver long term change for individuals – giving them personalised practical support to improve their lives by pursuing positive paths.

“Not everyone who begs is homeless, but this scheme will operate in tandem with existing services in the city such as the new roving Digital Inclusion Officer, the Housing First Scheme and homelessness services.

“We aim to remove barriers preventing people from rising out of poverty and no longer having to participate in begging.”

People with personal experience of begging in Glasgow will be involved in the scheme’s creation and also in deciding which applications are approved.

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