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Cambridge Street Aid aims to help city's rough sleepers

By Ben Comber

Cambridge City Council encourages people to donate to charity rather than give cash to people on the streets

Cambridge City Council has teamed up with Cambridge BID to encouraging residents and visitors to help rough sleepers and vulnerable people by donating to a new charitable fund, Cambridge Street Aid, rather than give cash directly to people asking for money on streets in the city centre.

Cambridge Street Aid is a fund managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation and supported by Cambridge City Council, Jimmy’s Cambridge, Cambridge Cyrenians, Cambridge Churches Homelessness Project, Cambridge BID and CAMBAC (Cambridge Businesses against Crime).

Every penny of the money donated to the fund will go directly to increasing provision for those most in need and homeless in Cambridge.

Cllr Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “Cambridge Street Aid will provide a simple way for residents and visitors to help those on the streets turn their lives around. Donations can be made by a text message or through the Street Aid website.

“There are many reasons why people are sleeping rough or asking for money and it’s understandable that people want to respond to someone seen on the streets, usually by giving them cash, but we would like to ask them to consider if this is the best way to help.

“By donating to Cambridge Street Aid members of the public can be assured that 100% of their money will go directly in grants to help some of the most vulnerable in the city. The city council and its partners will continue to expand the help we provide for homeless people in Cambridge but, at the end of the day, we respect their right to make their own choices, whether to take up the support and accommodation on offer and come off the street, or to continue sleeping rough.”

The new fund will give grants of up to £750 to help vulnerable people on the streets get the support, accommodation and employment they need to turn a corner in their life.

Many residents and visitors who encounter people on the streets are tempted to help by giving them money. However studies by prominent charities such as Thames Reach in London have suggested that the public’s kindness can often hinder someone’s ability to get off the streets if money from begging is spent on substances detrimental to their health.

Some people who beg on Cambridge’s street already have a place to live while some genuinely homeless people also choose not to beg. The city’s direct access hostel on East Road, Jimmy’s, offers free-to-enter accommodation and welfare support while many organisations work with the council to support rough sleepers and the vulnerable off the streets.

Cambridge Street Aid is being funded by Cambridge BID and CAMBAC, and supported by organisations including Jimmy’s Cambridge, Cambridge Cyrenians, Cambridge Churches Homelessness Project and the council.

Becky Burrell, Marketing and Commercial Manager of Cambridge BID, said: “We are delighted to be supporting and enhancing this new and very worthwhile initiative, which will benefit so many vulnerable people in the years ahead.

“Cambridge BID has a far-reaching agenda to ensure the city centre remains a safe and secure environment for everyone, irrespective of their social situation or circumstance.”

To donate to Cambridge Street Aid people can either text ‘CAMB16’ followed by the amount they wish to donate to 70070 (for example ‘CAMB16 £3’).

You can donate and find more information online.


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