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Town centre begging

What is begging?

Street begging involves individuals asking members of the public for money. Sometimes the begging is done politely, and sometimes it is more aggressive. Middlesbrough isn't alone in having individuals begging in its town centre, but we're committed to stopping it from happening. We want to strike a balance between making sure that people begging for money are given the help and support they need, and making sure that our town centre is a safe and welcoming place for residents, visitors, and businesses.

What can I do?

Those people who are found begging for money often have difficult personal issues which are hard to deal with, and are in need of support. The best way to help them is by making sure they get the support needed to get off the streets, and begin making changes in their lives. It may be tempting to give money to someone who is begging, homeless, or sleeping rough, but often this money will be used to feed an addiction, like alcohol or drugs. We need to ensure that you make your spare change really count.

Many of the organisations we work with are charities, so you can donate to them online or by contacting their office. That way you can be sure your money will be spent on helping support people in Middlesbrough who are begging, homeless, or sleeping rough.

What is the council doing?

We're committed to reducing begging while also ensuring people get the right help, and we're doing this by working together with other local agencies. The council and Cleveland Police have already established a dedicated team whose aim is to make sure that every single individual who begs or sleeps rough is offered intensive support.

We work with local organisations in the following areas:

  • outreach - our Breaking the Boundaries Officers speak to individuals on the street to understand why they're begging, and what support they need
  • health - providing referrals to specialist services to address drug, alcohol, and/or mental health issues, support to register with a GP, and accompanying individuals to health appointments if necessary
  • housing - providing help to find the most suitable accommodation - for example, through supported housing schemes, tenancy support, and advice on how to maintain a tenancy - as well as accompanying individuals to housing appointments if necessary
  • finance - help to ensure individuals are receiving the right benefits
  • general welfare - providing white goods, furniture, clothing, and details of local foodbanks, and help to apply for ID documents etc.
  • assistance with transport costs - providing support for individuals who want to relocate to another area to be near their family for support

For more information, please contact the team by emailing towncentreteam@middlesbrough.gov.uk.