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Beggars return to the streets of Cheltenham

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

By MIKE WILKINSON

Help available:  A man begging on the Promenade, Cheltenham

Help available: A man begging on the Promenade, Cheltenham

Comments (14)

BEGGARS who have returned to the streets of Cheltenham have 'no excuse' for being there, says a town centre chief.

A surge in street beggars has been reported in recent days despite previous crackdowns.

But town centre manager Martin Quantock, from the Cheltenham Business Partnership, said: "There really is no excuse for them being there because there are a number of agencies ready to help.

"I have noticed one or two have come back, particularly in the evenings.

"I think it is more to do with a change in the weather as opposed to anything to do with the economy as we have been in a recession for some time now."

He said in some cases money that was given could be used to pay for drink and drugs.

"It is misguided kindness. They are receiving quite a bit of cash and it is far easier for them to take that money than go and get the help on offer," he said.

One Charlton Kings resident, who asked not to be named, also hit out at the number of beggars on the streets. "There used to be a caring concern about what was happening in the town centre," he said.

"Alas our town has succumbed to permitting beggars to squat on the main thoroughfares with their begging receptacle placed.

"These are not homeless nor Big Issue sellers. If people realised how much they purloined then they might think again."

Back in 2009, Cheltenham's streets were declared free from beggars after a major campaign to get them off the streets and into help.

Experts from the police, council and homeless charities joined together.

They backed the Echo's Don't Kill With Kindness campaign after the newspaper revealed some beggars were collecting up to £80 a day – or £29,000 a year – and were not always homeless and in need of help.

Others were encouraged to instead take up selling the Big Issue rather than begging.

Emma Kernahan, from the Big Issue, said at the time: "We don't just help those who are homeless but also some people who drift in and out of accommodation. Part of what we do is to try and break that cycle."

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14 comments

  • tishwash  |  February 21 2013, 8:28PM

    why doesn't Mrs Frost stay in her current place and we can house 11 beggers in a council property ?

    |   6
  • tishwash  |  February 21 2013, 8:27PM

    Pretty sure they've not left ? nor it is 'recent' that they're around ? Also I prefer them to big issue sellers, those people p*ss me off! Beggers are generally nice people.

  • Ms_Superstar  |  February 21 2013, 6:23PM

    So it's ok if we give money to those who qualify through the welfare state, but not to choose who we give it to? Many people, for one reason or another, do not qualify for state handouts. I don't always agree with Barbara Driver's observations, but at least she went out there and spent some time with the homeless, instead of launching a vile attack against them. Shame on you Martin Quantock.

    |   6
  • Louise9099  |  February 21 2013, 3:05PM

    Yeah sorry there, internet malfuction!! ;-)

    |   3
  • geraint2010  |  February 21 2013, 2:57PM

    And so it goes on. The right-wing media endlessly spew out their vile propaganda successfully keeping the struggling classes at one another's throats. Meanwhile the shysters who bled our country dry sit smirking in their mansions or living it up in Monte Carlo, Klosters, or wherever secure knowledge that our feckless leaders will defend their interests to the death and do nothing to bring them to account.

    |   13
  • OldGrumbler  |  February 21 2013, 2:49PM

    Louise9099 does tend to repeat herself !!!

    |   -6
  • NibNobs  |  February 21 2013, 2:36PM

    Louise9909, OK I think we got the message.

    |   -7
  • Louise9099  |  February 21 2013, 1:16PM

    I know that writing this I will probably be shot to pieces on here, but just think whilst sat on your computer, in a heated building, with a nice hot meal waiting for you this evening, how many steps it would take for you to end up homeless? Take away your job, and your family - where would be? As we can see from this, kindness doesn't stretch very far! So "A surge in beggars over the last few days" how many is this exactly - one or two? They are hardly filling the streets preventing the middle classes from entering shops in the affluent Promenade - heaven forbid! "Used to be a caring concern about what is happening in the town centre" what is this care? That someone who isn't wearing the latest fashion and hasn't been able to shower might be walking the streets of Cheltenham? Where is the care for a person that can't shower because they don't have a home or can't wear nice clothes because they have no money?? I understand there have been cases in past of beggars in Cheltenham not being homeless - but this is a minority. What harm are they doing exactly? You chose whether to give to these people or not, no one is forcing you. There are a small number of agencies that can help, but many of these run on charity so in this recession etc etc! I am amazed at the stereotyping used in this article, from a man that clearly lacks any kind of empathy or compassion.

    |   10
  • Louise9099  |  February 21 2013, 1:13PM

    I know that writing this I will probably be shot to pieces on here, but just think whilst sat on your computer, in a heated building, with a nice hot meal waiting for you this evening, how many steps it would take for you to end up homeless? Take away your job, and your family - where would be? As we can see from this, kindness doesn't stretch very far! So "A surge in beggars over the last few days" how many is this exactly - one or two? They are hardly filling the streets preventing the middle classes from entering shops in the affluent Promenade - heaven forbid! "Used to be a caring concern about what is happening in the town centre" what is this care? That someone who isn't wearing the latest fashion and hasn't been able to shower might be walking the streets of Cheltenham? Where is the care for a person that can't shower because they don't have a home or can't wear nice clothes because they have no money?? I understand there have been cases in past of beggars in Cheltenham not being homeless - but this is a minority. What harm are they doing exactly? You chose whether to give to these people or not, no one is forcing you. There are a small number of agencies that can help, but many of these run on charity so in this recession etc etc! I am amazed at the stereotyping used in this article, from a man that clearly lacks any kind of empathy or compassion.

    |   2
  • Louise9099  |  February 21 2013, 1:11PM

    I know that writing this I will probably be shot to pieces on here, but just think whilst sat on your computer, in a heated building, with a nice hot meal waiting for you this evening, how many steps it would take for you to end up homeless? Take away your job, and your family - where would be? As we can see from this, kindness doesn't stretch very far! So "A surge in beggars over the last few days" how many is this exactly - one or two? They are hardly filling the streets preventing the middle classes from entering shops in the affluent Promenade - heaven forbid! "Used to be a caring concern about what is happening in the town centre" what is this care? That someone who isn't wearing the latest fashion and hasn't been able to shower might be walking the streets of Cheltenham? Where is the care for a person that can't shower because they don't have a home or can't wear nice clothes because they have no money?? I understand there have been cases in past of beggars in Cheltenham not being homeless - but this is a minority. You chose whether to give to these people or not, no one is forcing you. There are a small number of agencies that can help, but many of these run on charity so in this recession etc etc! I am amazed at the stereotyping used in this article, from a man that clearly lacks any kind of empathy or compassion.

    |   12

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