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BEGGING BOXES COLLECT JUST £350

Press & Journal, 23 August 2007

 

Begging boxes aimed at helping the homeless in Aberdeen have raised less than £350 in the first three months of their operation, it has been revealed. Figures obtained by the Press and Journal using the Freedom of Information Act found that the five boxes dotted across the city centre brought in £348 between May and August.

Last night, one local homeless charity, Aberdeen Cyrenians, called the boxes a gimmick.

The charity's director of business development Sue Irving said: "Anybody who wants to help homeless people should be welcomed but the sums of money we're talking about are never going to make a real difference. These are not going to change people's lives.

"We would just like to work with the local authority to find realistic, sustainable solutions that are going to make a bigger difference than what is really a gimmick."

She said there was anecdotal evidence that the boxes were having no effect on the amount of money being given to people actively begging on the streets but praised the city council for creating a £15,000-a-year part-time support worker post to coordinate work between agencies.

Martin Greig, chairman of Aberdeen Community Safety Partnership, said the begging boxes had been a success and would allow money to be put to good use.

"This is £348 that will be spent on food and clothing, not on alcohol and drugs, and that's a good outcome.

"We were never able to predict how much would be raised by the boxes. It's still early days and there may be a case for more publicity.

"I'm very pleased that these boxes are being used for the purpose for which they were installed."