Campaign to help Ipswich homeless marks first birthday
PUBLISHED: 17:09 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:55 12 July 2018
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Campaigners pledging to tackle homelessness in Ipswich have marked a successful first year - and celebrated their anniversary in style with an appearance from the town's mayor.
Volunteers behind the Help our Homeless (HOH) initiative launched their drive to support and accommodate vulnerable individuals last July.
Their campaign had a key message for the public – don’t give money to people who beg, donate it to the new campaign – in a bid to reduce the number of people on the streets.
Over the last year people in Ipswich have taken that message on board – and helped to collect more than £3,000 to support a total of 13 individuals, plus families and groups of vulnerable homeless people.
Now Ipswich mayor Jane Riley has paid tribute to HOH – and a range of other organisations dealing with homelessness in the town.
Presenting a cheque for £3,300 at the HOH project’s first anniversary at Sailmakers Shopping Centre, she said: “The issue of homelessness has been a growing concern in recent times throughout the country and I am pleased that here in Ipswich so many organisations have come together to make a real difference to the problem in the town.
“Sadly, handing money over to people on the streets only helps them stay on the streets rather than engaging with the people such as those at HOH who can make a real and positive difference to their lives.”
According to chiefs, cash donated by people living in Ipswich helped to provide 70 free hot meals during the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap.
Susie Mills, manager of the Ipswich Homelessness Locality Partnership (IHLP), said that despite a fall in the number of people begging during the day, the issue is still prevalent at night.
This is something they plan to tackle more in the year ahead.
“The people who beg were visible in Ipswich,” she added.
“A group of us who work together knew through intelligence that many of these are in receipt of housing and benefits.
“The rough sleepers, a total of 21 on the last official count in November, we know don’t beg.
“Our aim was to try and get people to give responsibly.
“We set up to inform and then encourage them to give their money to the collection pots instead.”
At the anniversary celebration, organisations pledged to do more to tackle the problem.