Alan Sugar And The Homeless Street Angels

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Alan Sugar tweeted a hypocritical plea to his 5.3 million followers, asking them donate money to help the Homeless Street Angels after their van broke down on Leeds Light Night. The only van owned by the charity began to exhale plumes of smoke as they were out delivering meals to the homeless. Surely Lord Sugar could lend a helping hand himself? Yet instead he asked the public. Is this celebrity hypocrisy at its best?

The Homeless Street Angels take to the streets of Leeds each week to provide meals, toiletries and clean clothes to those living on the streets of Leeds. They provide over one-hundred meals a week. As well as offering help and support to rehouse those that are homeless by working in partnership with Leeds City Council, in a fight to combat the plethora of homeless people whom are forced to sleep rough on the streets of Leeds.

Lord Sugar shared the Just Giving page, that has been created to help raise funds for the organisation. He tweeted, “Please help the Homeless Street Angels raise money for a new van. They provide vital help feeding and clothing homeless people. It is a very worthy cause.”

And while I am sure that Lord Sugar’s tweet has succeeded in doing just that; it must be noted that there is an element of hypocrisy to him pleading to the public for donations? With an estimated net worth of over £1.4 billion, it is questionable whether Lord Sugar himself could have simply solved the problem of the smoking van, by donating the £5,000 needed, from his exceedingly large bank balance. Evidently many of his followers were of the same opinion, the tweet attracted over 240 comments and 146 retweets. Whilst the public praised the Homeless Street Angels for their selfless work, many took to the platform to scorn Lord Sugar with replies such as “for god’s sake buy them the bloody van” and “just put your hand in your pocket”.

The backing of a public figure undoubtably has a significant positive impact for smaller charitable organisations such as the Homeless Street Angels. Such tweets from figures like Lord Sugar propels them into the mainstream spotlight, often encouraging more donations and an influx of volunteers. However, I am sure that he could have donated triple the amount needed without even scratching the surface of a day’s interest of his account.

The Homeless Street Angels operate in Leeds every Thursday evening, their aims as stated on their website include, “work, via our drop-in facilities, with individuals above the age of 16 (and their families and friends where appropriate) who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, exclusion or disadvantage because of their lifestyles, and to support the resolution of any issues they may have with substance abuse. Provide activities which help individuals to develop life skills in literacy, numeracy, IT and financial management and to gain self-esteem, confidence and a sense of wellbeing through meaningful recreational pursuits and therapies. Thereby, enabling them to move on in their lives away from dependency into self-sufficiency via employment, education or training.” (Homeless Street Angels).

Lord Sugar is famous for throwing money at new ventures (albeit they appear to be mostly fake tan and gadgets that nobody needs) which begs the question why he feels the need to ask the public to help. He could endorse more small projects with his money and set a precedent for more public figures to follow, by helping smaller organisations that need it most. Although the public are more than happy to donate; with the Just Giving page now reaching the £4,700 mark, it does stress the question on whether his tweet was somewhat a mockery, a tweet of hypocrisy rather than a public appeal.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering for the Homeless Street Angels, there is a volunteer pack available to download on their website, www.homelessstreetangels.co.uk.

Image Credit: Huffington Post