A South Lakes homeless charity has praised the ‘amazing’ people of Kendal and asked them to be aware that groups of people who have been caught pretending to be homeless to beg for money are likely the victims of a wider, more sinister problem.
Manna House, in Kendal, who provide support to homeless and vulnerable people, issued a statement following police reports of a gang of men were caught who were known to have travelled from Scotland in a car to beg in the streets of Kendal:
A spokesperson from Manna House said:
“Somewhat similar to this is the recurrence of some people begging outside of Booths who pretend not to know much English and who are sometimes claiming to be related in different ways.
“Because Kendal citizens are amazing and don’t want anyone suffering on their watch, Manna House gets loads of phone calls and emails alerting us to their presence.
“We advise people contacting us to give them Manna House’s phone number and contact details and to let them know they don’t have to be cold or hungry or wet.
“Manna house staff have gone out several times to check on these folks, taking with us rain gear and laminated information in several languages detailing where Manna House is located and the food, equipment and support they can get if they come to see us.
“To a man, they pretend they don’t understand and look a bit sheepish.
“The police have been called, as well as South Lakeland District Council.
“It seems this particular lot gets picked up at the end of the day in a black car and driven off somewhere.
“The good citizens of Kendal give these folks their money, their food, their compassion and their time, all of which is commendable and speaks well of the people in this area.
“The truth is, though, no one needs to beg on the streets of Kendal.
We worry for those seen begging that someone somewhere is holding their passports and forcing them to beg – you wouldn’t do it in the freezing rain if you were told you had another choice.
“Our advice to people would be to smile and be friendly and let those you see begging know about Manna House where we will feed and clothe anyone, as well as provide a hot shower and support to change their circumstances.
“You can pick up Manna House cards for distribution at our home, the Stephenson Centre, Ann Street, Kendal, LA9 6AA, Monday through Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm.”