This year’s Christmas ‘Help Us Help’ campaign to tackle begging and help the homeless launches this week with more local support than ever.
More than 20 local businesses and organisations, including John Lewis, Virgin Money and McDonalds, have joined the campaign to help vulnerable people on the street which will see a Help us Help Christmas cabin in the Peace Gardens, dressed by Sheffield’s John Lewis store.
The businesses are joining local charities and Sheffield City Council to call for people to donate items such as canned food, sugar, tea, coffee, gloves, hats, scarves, socks, toiletries, biscuits, chocolate bars, coffee, sugar and pot noodles to charities that help rough sleepers and people who beg. People can drop off donations at the cabin or other city centre locations (listed below).
The cabin will be open from Thursday 22 November to Wednesday 28 December in front of the Town Hall. It will be run by the people who work tirelessly 365 days a year to help those on the street, and they will be on hand to answer questions and give advice.
Help Us Help is a collaboration between different services which support people who are sleeping rough or begging. Its aim is to help the public make informed choices and promote the best ways to help. These are:
- Give time or donations to charity, rather than directly to someone who begs
- Give food or drink rather than money
- Have a chat with someone and encourage them to access support services
- Buy a Big Issue North as vendors are working, not begging, and need public support
- Find out more about Help us help and get involved at www.helpushelp.uk
Holly Garforth, who works at Virgin Money and represents the Retail Forum in Sheffield, said:
It’s great to see that for the second year running the teams from Help Us Help, the Christmas Markets and local businesses are joining forces to make a difference. It’s so important that we all pull together to continue to help those who beg or who sleep rough. It’s also key that we support the services that come under the Help Us Help umbrella so they can continue to provide such a vital service to those who need it most.
Bobbie Walker, Co-ordinator of The Soup Kitchen, said:
I am proud to be part of the team that provides hot drinks, food and clothing each evening in the city centre to those in need. We signpost vulnerable people to information about the agencies in our city that can help them. Help Us Help has brought all of the services together around a table to discuss each vulnerable person’s needs and to offer positive support to help them move on to a better life. It’s one of the best things that has happened to this city.
Sheffield BID has provided financial support for the campaign. Diane Jarvis, BID manager said:
Sheffield BID is proud to support Help Us Help. This is an excellent opportunity for businesses and individuals across Sheffield to get involved in supporting Help Us Help for the benefit of the city centre as a whole.
Many businesses already have initiatives in place to support those begging on the street so we know that the business community will get fully behind this project.
Councillor Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said:
Help Us Help is vital to our work in letting people know how they can get involved in supporting rough sleepers and people who beg. We know that many people want to help and often don’t know that giving money to people on the street isn’t helpful to them and can be harmful.
It’s good that we are all working together on this as it’s the only way that we will see lasting success. It can take a long time and it’s not easy – we can work with people for months, and even years, before anything might change but we’re all here for them when they need help or when they choose to ask for help. It’s heart-warming to see how many organisations and individuals are involved with the Christmas Help Us Help campaign, helping us spread the word on how people can help for the best and by making donations.
Items donated will be shared between the charities supporting Help Us Help: Cathedral Archer Project, Ben’s Centre, Soup Kitchen, Street Outreach Team HARC and The Sunday Centre. Donations can be dropped off in the city centre at:
- Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union, The HUBS on Paternoster Row
- Virgin Money on Fargate
- John Lewis on Barker’s Pool
- McDonalds on the High Street
- Frog & Parrot on Division St
- Sheffield’s Public Transport Interchange
- Benjamin Huntsman’s, 12-18 Cambridge Street
- Bankers Draft, 1-3 Market Place
- Nottingham Building Society, 9 Norfolk Row
- Brew and Bean Coffee Shop, 24 Cumberland Street
Donations are being taken until 2 December and will be distributed to charities on 3 December.
There will also be collection boxes at the Christmas Help Us Help cabin and the Town Hall reception. Money collected will be split between the Help Us Help charities on 3 December.
Volunteers from the following agencies and groups will be attending the Christmas Cabin
- 911supported accommodation providers
- Archer Project staff/volunteers
- Bens Centre
- Big Issue North
- CRC – Probation Services
- DACT Sheffield – Drug and Alcohol/Domestic Abuse Coordination Team
- Drink Wise, Age Well
- Framework Housing Association
- HARC – Homeless and Rootless at Christmas
- Hep C Trust
- Humankind Charity – (Formally known as Disc)
- Neighbourhood Watch
- Places for People Housing Association – Living+ (Victoria Court)
- Salvation Army – Supported Accommodation
- SASS (Sheffield Alcohol Advisory Service)
- SCCRAG (Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group)
- Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group (SCCRAG)
- Sheffield City Council – Social Care
- Sheffield City Council – Commissioning
- Sheffield City Council – Community Safety Team
- Sheffield City Council – Councillors
- Sheffield City Council – Jim Steinke – Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety
- Sheffield City Council – Independence Service
- SHSC – Drugs & Alcohol Treatment Services
- SMART Recovery
- Soup Kitchen
- South Yorkshire Housing Association (911 Project)
- South Yorkshire Police – Central NHP
- St Wilfred’s Centre
- Sunday Centre
Other Agencies, groups and businesses supporting the stall:
- Virgin Money
- BID – Business Improvement District
- South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
- John Lewis – Sheffield Branch
- Sheffield Hallam – Students’ Union
- Sheffield Students’ Union
- Nottingham Building Society – Sheffield Branch
- Brew and Bean Coffee Shop
- The Benjamin Huntsman
- The Bankers Draft
- Frog & Parrot
- Tesco – Kelham Island Store
- Sheffield Train Station
- Kinka (Kelham Island & Neepsend Community Alliance)