Have A Heart: Give Smart

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The ‘Have A Heart: Give Smart’ Campaign originated by the Community Services team in the City of Edmonton in 2013. The campaign was intended to raise awareness with alternative options other than giving money directly to those who beg.

The campaign originally began as a response to issue of begging raised during a community consultation and City Council enquiry that began back in 2009.

Sharing their evaluation report with the Purple Flag programme back at the end of 2015 the ATCM have re-designed the campaign to work here in the UK after the increasing demand for advice, information and toolkits to help those towns and cities in the UK and Ireland seeing a dramatic rise in street beggars, rough sleepers and homelessness.

Working with Experience Guildford, this campaign is now ready to roll out nationally to all Purple Flag areas in the UK and Ireland.

Purpose

‘Have a Heart Give Smart’ Campaign is an interactive campaign intended to raise awareness of homelessness and street begging and to provide options other than giving money directly to those on the streets. The initiative seeks to raise awareness by encouraging conversations about the issue of homelessness/rough sleepers/street begging within the local area, educating the public about the issues and resources available as well as including the broader issues around street safety and that it is acceptable and for the best to say ‘No’.

Homelessness/rough sleepers/street begging can be viewed by the public as impacting peoples’ feelings of safety as well as having an effect on the local businesses in the area.

Context

  • The ‘Have a Heart Give Smart’ public awareness campaign is one strategy within an integrated response to homelessness/rough sleepers/street begging. As the issues are complex it requires a multi-dimensional approach which includes educational, Health, business, police, local authorities (various departments) as well as other community responses.
  • A key focus is street and community safety for all in the evening and night time economies (ENTE)
  • The uniqueness of this campaign is its focus to increase awareness through conversations, interactions and local marketing

 

Method

  • Getting the main key message across to the public in your area that it is ok to say ‘No’ to the direct giving of money to the homeless/rough sleepers/street beggars
  • Encourage conversation to the public about the alternatives to giving money directly to those on the street including providing drink and food
  • To encourage a central pot for monetary donations to be made within the town/city centre such as a local, registered homeless charity of a Safe Space, established within the town/city centre that provides triage/recovery and care to those ENTE users as well as helping those who are homeless and rough sleep
  • Conversations & messages given to the public reflect a respectful and humanitarian approach

Benefits

  • Increased awareness of options available and increased respect of those who are homeless
  • Stronger relationship with those on the streets: Community/business wise and outreach teams
  • Reductions in aggressive begging/drugs/intoxication within the local area
  • Increased awareness of services and organisations available who support those on the street and in local areas
  • Perceptions of positive safety and crime changes of those using and visiting our towns and cities within the ENTE.