A new initiative is urging shoppers in Lynn to make their change count this winter, by not giving it to street beggars.
The Purfleet Trust has joined forces with West Norfolk Council and Norfolk Police to launch a new Alternative Giving Campaign to encourage people to donate money to organisations that support homeless, rather than giving directly to those on the streets.
Officials insist the initiative is not designed to get beggars off the streets, but to ensure that they get the support they need in a more sustainable way.
Chief executive Paula Hall admitted the call might seem to go against a natural desire to help those in need, but said all of the money generated from the campaign would be used to help people to turn their lives around.
She said: “We usually see around 80 people a day in our Health and Wellbeing Centre.
“We really want to encourage people to engage with our services so they get the support they need so they can live independently in their community.
“In our experience people are more likely to engage with support services when they are not supplementing their income by begging. This way, people can make a real and long-term difference to their lives.”
Posters containing a text number for donations and a QR code for people to scan in support of the appeal, will be put up around the town and on buses.
Details of the campaign first emerged in papers published ahead of a West Norfolk Council meeting in late November.
And Adrian Lawrence, the authority’s cabinet member for housing, said: “The borough council is in full support of Purfleet Trust’s alternative giving campaign.
“We all feel the urge to help people we see in need, especially at this time of year, and we would never want to discourage anyone’s generosity.
“But donating to organisations like Purfleet Trust means your money will make a long-term difference to lots of people.
“The Purfleet Trust does fantastic work in King’s Lynn, and they need the help of the whole community to keep doing it.”
Police are also supporting the initiative and say they will continue their programme of patrols around the town centre throughout the festive season.