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Join the Help Us Help Christmas campaign

We’ve joined with city centre businesses on a Christmas campaign that everyone can be part of. Find out more and get involved....

NEWS: Big businesses join campaign to tackle begging and help the homeless

John Lewis, Virgin Money and McDonalds have joined a local campaign to help vulnerable people on the street, supported by twenty different organisations.

As part of the Help Us Help Christmas campaign, staff from the organisations will be at the Christmas market in the city centre giving information about how the public can help for the best.

The Help Us Help Christmas stall will run from Thursday 30 November to Wednesday 6 December in front of the Peace Gardens.

The businesses are joining local charities and Sheffield City Council to call for people to donate canned food, gloves, hats and scarves and toiletries to charities that help rough sleepers and people who beg.

Holly Garforth, who works at Virgin Money and represents the Retail Forum in Sheffield, said: “We are raising awareness and collecting a range of items on behalf of extremely good causes who all come under the Help Us Help umbrella. They play such an important part in our local community and do a lot to help those sleeping rough in and around Sheffield. We look forward to welcoming you to the stall and explaining how you can really help to make a difference this Christmas.''

Help Us Help is a collaboration between different services who support people who are sleeping rough or begging. It advises that the best ways to help are to:

1. Give time or donations to charity, rather than directly to someone who begs.

2. Give food or drink rather than money.

3. Have a chat with someone and encourage them to access support services.

4. Buy a Big Issue North as vendors are working, not begging, and need public support.

5. Find out more about Help us help and get involved at www.helpushelp.uk

Tim Renshaw, Chief Executive of the Cathedral Archer Project, said: “People end up on the street for a variety of different reasons and bad luck, and they often have very complex problems.

“Services across Sheffield work together to support them and help people make positive changes and move towards a better life. “We know people want to help, and we set up Help Us Help to encourage this.”.

Lee Macadam, aged 42, lives in Sheffield and attends the Cathedral Archer Project every day. He was homeless for years, was addicted to drugs and spent time in jail, but – with help from the Archer Project and other services – is in his own accommodation and has been working for the past three years. Lee said:

“I’ve been clean for over two years now. But before then I was living on the streets and with people – sofa surfing they call it. But I was at the Archer Project five days a week. They’d save my clothes in a box, I’d get a shower and they helped me with accommodation. And then they introduced me to the work aspect.

“If I hadn’t of had the help I’d still be on the street – limping around with abscesses.

“Everywhere else I lived, there was never this kind of help. Or I’d never used it before…. Here, at the time and the place, it helped me loads – probably kept me alive.

“People should help. You feel good in yourself don’t you. And some people like to help – they buzz off it don’t they.”

Sheffield BID has provided financial support for the campaign. Diane Jarvis, BID manager said: “Sheffield BID is proud to support Help Us Help. This is an excellent opportunity for businesses and individuals across Sheffield to get involved in supporting Help Us Help for the benefit of the city centre as a whole.

“Many businesses already have initiatives in place to support those begging on the street so we know that the business community will get fully behind this project.”

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: “We’re part of Help Us Help to raise awareness and encourage people to get involved in supporting rough sleepers and people who beg.

“A single organisation cannot tackle the problems alone. And it’s not easy - we can work with people for months, and even years, before anything might change. But we’re here for them when they need it, as are the other services.

“It’s amazing to see so many charities, services, businesses and volunteers working together to help vulnerable people on the street, and spreading the word about Help Us Help and what you can do to help for the best.”

Items being collected through the Help us help Christmas campaign

The items below are being collected for charities supporting Help Us Help – Cathedral Archer Project, Ben’s Centre, Soup Kitchen, Street Outreach Team and The Sunday Centre:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Shaving foam
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Gloves
  • Pot noodles
  • Tinned meat or fish
  • Bottled water
  • Deodorants
  • Shower Gels
  • Briefs

Donations can be dropped off at:

  • Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union, The HUBS on Paternoster Row
  • Virgin Money on Fargate
  • John Lewis on Barker’s Pool
  • McDonalds on the High Street, S1
  • Frog & Parrot on Division St
  • Waitrose on Ecclesall Rd
  • Zoobys Coffee Shop in the Winter Garden
  • Sheffield’s Public Transport Interchange

Collection boxes will also be on the Christmas stall and at the reception of the Town Hall. Money collected will be split between the charities running Help Us Help.

The organisations involved in the Help Us Help Christmas campaign are: Cathedral Archer Project, Sheffield City Council, Addaction, The Sunday Centre, Soup Kitchen, 911, Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group (SCCRAG), Virgin Money, John Lewis, McDonalds, Neighbourhood watch, Sheffield Alcohol Advisory Service (SASS), South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Sheffield Hallam University, Drink Well Age Well, Victoria Court Supported Accommodation, St Wilfrid’s Centre, The Big Issue, Salvation Army and Ben’s Centre.