GLASWEGIANS are being encouraged to believe and have confidence in a new scheme launched yesterday to tackle street begging and rough sleeping.

Ex Ranger striker, Mark Hateley, and former Celtic defender, Tosh McKinlay, joined councillor Allan Casey and Lorraine McGrath of Simon Community Scotland as they unveiled a new contactless card donation point at Central Station.

It is one of three "tap points" installed across the city centre as part of the new project Street Change Glasgow, which aims to help vulnerable people improve their lives long term.

READ MORE: Simon Community Glasgow's new project to stop begging​

The fund will be led and managed by Simon Community Scotland who have teamed up with third sector organisations, businesses, Glasgow City Council and the city’s Health and Social Care Partnership.

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Money from the fund will be used to pay for items such as clothing and travel to job interviews or equipment needed following a job offer. It can also be used to help people access training.

Almost £20,000 has been donated to the project including £5000 raised by a Glasgow University Fashion Show, £4500 from the Best Bar None awards and £10,000 from the Lord Provost's fund.

Councillor Allan Casey said: "The city council has seen an increase in the number of people who are begging.

"The council decided to set up a working group with business and third sector partners to try and make that positive change and come up with innovative ways to make a difference in these people's lives."

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Simon Community Scotland are the key organisation that works in partnership with the council and the health and social care partnership.

They have a street team 365 days of the year directly engaging with people affected by street homelessness and street begging.

A public awareness campaign has also been launched to inform the public on how they can help.

Mr Casey continued: "Not everyone going through the city know how to help people begging on the streets. This will provide the public with that knowledge."

Passers by will also be able to contact Street Change Glasgow through their new website to ask them to help someone in need.

Glasgow Times:

The street team strive to reach and bring new options for people in this situation and provide assistance to them so they move away from the harms that result from begging.

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Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive of Simon Community Scotland said: "Everybody has a different story and a unique set of circumstances.

"What this fund will allow us to do is sit down and understand those circumstances and look at what the solutions are.

"Sometimes that will be something that moves that person towards treatment if they are entrenched in an addiction and getting them into a safe place to live and away from the streets altogether."

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There are two other tap points throughout the city which can be found at Cathouse and The Garage.

It is hoped the initiative can expand to other areas of Glasgow with a Street Change Glasgow ambassadors programme designed to encourage businesses to host tap points themselves.

Ms McGrath added: "We want Glasgow to believe and have confidence that we can sort this. This scheme is a way of making that easier."