New scheme will operate in shops, restaurants and clubs
A new scheme to benefit homeless people and those in need has been launched in Swansea city centre.
The trial scheme, which is backed by a range of local organisations, is encouraging members of the public to donate to local homeless charities instead of giving money directly to street beggars.
Swansea Council's Community Safety team have worked alongside South Wales Police, Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) and the City Centre Management team to develop this scheme which is part of a UK wide network and a first in Wales.
Numerous outlets throughout the City Centre will be placing posters in their windows and donation points within their premises.
Amelia Rudman from BID says "The businesses in the City Centre welcome this scheme as they recognise their social responsibility to support those who are vulnerable and also the negative impact that begging can have on the perception of an area they trade in. All donations will be banked with Santander in the City Centre and will go to various designated homeless causes'
South Wales Police, City Centre Inspector Mark Davies says "Our officers together with the likes of the City Centre Rangers are engaging with beggars in the City Centre on a daily basis as the general public may not be aware but begging is actually an illegal act. We are also actively sign posting those who are homeless or find themselves in need of additional support to the numerous services that are available locally".
"The people of Swansea are known for their generosity, however we also know that such kindness is open to abuse and that there are occasions where the donations being made are not being put to the intended use. The Have a Heart - Give Smart campaign will ensure that the funds collected are put to legitimate ends and provide direct support to those in genuine need".
Councillor William Evans Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities says "This is a really good initiative that has been developed in response to the feedback received from our local traders. It forms part of a suite of measures to help address on-street begging and we are very pleased to be trialling it in the City Centre with a view to rolling it out to other areas if successful".
"My message to members of the public is if you want to make a real difference in helping homeless people in Swansea, donate smart via this scheme as it will enable funds to reach and assist those individuals most in need".
Cllr Andrea Lewis, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "My message to members of the public is that if you want to make a real difference in helping homeless people in Swansea, then donate smartly via this scheme as it will enable funds to reach and assist those individuals most in need.
"This scheme will build on the great work the council does every day alongside our partners to prevent homelessness in the first place and provide as much support as possible to people in need."
The 'Have a Heart - Give Smart' scheme will be evaluated after a trial period of six months. If considered a success, the scheme will then be extended to other commercial areas in Swansea.