Published: Tuesday, 16th May 2023

Visitors to Bolton town centre are urged to donate to local charities rather than giving money to people begging in the street.

H4c staffThe Hope for Change scheme relaunches on Tuesday (May 16) with a collection and information event in Victoria Square from 11am.

The majority of people who beg in the street are not homeless but are instead likely to be facing complicated issues that can lead to begging.

Hope for Change ensures donations go directly to the Bolton charities and organisations that work with people facing these issues.

Resident and visitors can support Hope for Change by putting money in the branded collection boxes available in shops and businesses across the town centre.

Hope for Change is run by a partnership that incudes a variety of local charities, Bolton at Home and Bolton Council.

Dave Bagley, Chief Executive of Urban Outreach Bolton, said:

“We understand that the public wants to help, but giving money to people begging does not address underlying issues such as addiction or poor mental health.

“Hope for Change offers a better way to help by supporting a wide range of long-term support services that target the real reasons people are begging in our town centre.

“Look out for shops and businesses displaying a Hope for Change logo so you can donate your money at a branded collection box and make a real difference.”

Neville Edwards, Team Leader at the Big Life Group, said: "We work with our partners to support homeless people day in and day out, and as part of our role we support people in addiction who are challenging to engage.

“We also know that town centre begging is a serious concern for both visitors and local businesses, which is why we are working to address the problem.

“Hope for Change is an alternative way to give that will discourage begging while also giving valuable support to local services.”

The funds raised by Hope for Change are distributed through Bolton Community and Voluntary Services.