Helping homeless in Leeds ‘attracts undesirables to city centre’ – and they’re called The Welcome People

Lulu the charity bulldog with owner Dion Smith who has been told to stop distributing food to the homeless from his Leeds jewellers [Image: Ross Parry Agency].
Lulu the charity bulldog with owner Dion Smith, who has been told to stop distributing food to the homeless from his Leeds jewellers [Image: Ross Parry Agency].
Isn’t it interesting, the way a certain kind of behaviour attracts a certain kind of people.

In this case, Dion Smith’s kindness towards people who have been less fortunate than himself attracted the unwanted attention of a group of street wardens called The Welcome People.

Employed by Leeds Business Improvement District (BID), they are supposed to be friendly people in overcoats and bowler hats, who help out visitors to Leeds.

But it seems they have a more sinister purpose – keeping the city’s homeless people out of sight.

Creeps like that always turn up when somebody tries to help, don’t they? They don’t offer a solution to the homelessness problem – all they want to do is stop whatever good is being done.

And they always have the same excuse when their misdeeds are brought to public attention. Here’s how the Streets Kitchen article describes it:

Martin Dixon, head of marketing at BID, said: “They could have chosen slightly better words. I think it was a positive intention and in hindsight we can reflect on how we deliver certain messages. There is a lesson to be learned for us all.”

That’s right. Sadly, the lesson learned by people like these is rarely the one the rest of us are trying to teach.

A JEWELLER has been criticised for helping the homeless, after being told by a Leeds street warden that he is attracting “undesirables” to the area.

Businessman Dion Smith, who has run his own jewellers store in the Corn Exchange area of Leeds city centre since 2010, had built up a rapport with the homeless in the area and over the years had often raised money and handed out cups of tea.

During the cold weather in January, Mr Smith decided to up the ante and left an urn out at the back of his shop containing cups of tea, packs of cup-a-soup, and biscuits and bread.

He already has a dog flap at the back of his shop for his English bulldog, 10-year-old Lulu, who often sits outside the store – which was then used as a hatch for the homeless to reach Mr Smith’s offerings.


But Mr Smith, who creates his own bespoke jewellery, said: “Last week we were approached by three people wearing bowler hats who said we should stop providing food to the homeless as it was attracting intimidating and undesirable people to the area.

“In fact I would say it has had the opposite effect, with people praising what I was doing.

“I am not the real problem. The problem is that there are homeless people in our city. It is that that needs sorting out.”

Source: Helping homeless just ‘attracts undesirables to city centre’, Leeds businessman is told

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4 Thoughts to “Helping homeless in Leeds ‘attracts undesirables to city centre’ – and they’re called The Welcome People”

  1. I’d like to be confronted in an alley by “… friendly people in overcoats and bowler hats…” and told that I was “…attracting intimidating and undesirable homeless…” brothers to the area.

    I think we’d soon see just how brave those cowards are.

    Keep up the kindness and compassion, Dion Smith. You don’t sound like the sort of person to feel threatened by the lackeys of the privileged right.

    And I’m sure Lulu’s bark is bettered by her bite. Respect!

  2. Sam

    They were correct it did in fact attract several undesirable types in bowler hats to the area.

  3. Brian

    ‘Bowler Hats’ do not like the consequences of their toils to be visible. Hidden from society these people can try and hoodwink society into thinking everything is rosy.
    It’s time all sections of the impoverished stood up to the inequalities, by showing their face and being counted.

  4. The most “undesirable” people are the politicians who cause homelessness in the first place. Nothing will attract them away from London – they are too well paid!

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