Begging on the Street Makes Me Feel Uncomfortable

Fundraising isn’t all about the money – wait, what? Emma Cantrell explains.

People asking me for money in the street make me feel uncomfortable – how do you know what the money will be spent on? Can you really trust what that person is saying? Isn’t there more I can do than just hand over my cash? Won’t they just spend it on something frivolous?

I had a particularly uncomfortable conversation once with a man who was begging for money – he asked ‘do you have a minute for neglected children?’, to which I had to say ‘no’ as I didn’t have time to talk, which – frankly – made me feel rubbish. He was from a children’s charity and his street begging made me very uncomfortable. How did I know he wasn’t trying to con me out of my hard earned cash?

When people are housed with us at Trinity, or visit SHOC, they are expected to be ready to start making changes in their lives for themselves; we encourage people to get jobs and not rely on hand outs. We want the work we do in fundraising to be authentic – how can we ask for your money, rely on your generosity, when this is the exact opposite to the coaching we are giving people suffering the effects of homelessness?

What we offer you is so much more than the chance to part with your cash. We offer people a chance to take responsibility for their community. We don’t believe that individuals are solely responsible for how their lives have worked out – no man is an island after all – the whole community is responsible for its successes and failures. If there are people sleeping on our streets, living in our B&B’s, sleeping in houses with five or six other families, one in each room, then this is our problem to solve. We have a shared purpose. We can’t take the risk of waiting for the government, charities or individuals to sort it out on their own – it takes the whole community to end homelessness.

At The Big SleepOut we give you a chance to sleep rough for one night, in the middle of winter. If you take part in the SleepOut you will change lives – starting with your own. Supporting Trinity isn’t something you just do, it is part of who you are: you are ending homelessness.

Emma Cantrell, Head of Communications and Fundraising