man sitting and begging in street
Begging and rough sleeping aren't necessarily the same, and the majority of people begging in Reading aren’t actually street homeless. 

If you’ve been rough sleeping on the streets all night, it’s unlikely you’ll want to be out on the streets all day too – you’d rather stay inside wherever possible and keep warm.

People who appear homeless and beg on the street often have somewhere to stay, and could be asking for money to fund a drug or alcohol addiction, not a bed for the night.

As they need specialist support from local services, our advice is to avoid giving them money and instead donate to a local charity that offers the vital help they need to get back on their feet – whether that is Launchpad or any other organisation.

If you are worried about anyone who is begging and appears to be a rough sleeper, you can also alert Streetlink, so the local outreach team can support them in the best way possible. StreetLink is a website and mobile app developed by Homeless Link and St Mungo’s which enables members of the public to connect people on the streets with the local services that can support them.

Simply follow the instructions on the Streelink website or mobile app and provide a location for the person, the time you saw them and any other information you think might be helpful (gender, age, appearance etc). An alert is then sent to the St Mungo’s street outreach team who will find the person, undertake an assessment and offer support.

Please note, this work can sometimes take time, meaning that you might not see a change in the person’s situation straightaway, although support is being offered.