A city bar has apologised for refusing to serve a cup of coffee to a couple who wanted to give it to a homeless man sitting outside.
Argo Lounge, in Bridge Street, has admitted the situation last Friday could have been handled much better but denied having a policy to refuse a customer being “kind to those that are less fortunate.”
Fletton couple Lindsey Winson (31) and Stuart Henderson (38) said the situation involving a homeless man in the St Peter’s Arcade walkway had left them “appalled,” but they have now credited Argo Lounge for taking full responsibility for the episode and have withdrawn their threat not to return.
Their anger came after they tried to buy a coffee for a man who had cleaned up after other rough sleepers had urinated and left a mess in the walkway the previous night.
The couple were later told in an email by Argo Lounge managing director Justin Carter that the bar had had problems with homeless people, including “violent threats to staff” and “having to clear up needles and excrement.”
He added that the company had received “advice” from Peterborough City Council, which included discouraging customers from buying drinks or food for homeless people.
However, Lindsey and Stuart said they have now been reassured by Argo Lounge that the council’s advice would no longer be followed, and the couple have praised staff for speaking to rough sleepers in the arcade last night and serving them drinks.
Argo Lounge said the situation should never have happened. It added: “We pride ourselves on being a force for good in the community, raising significant amounts for charities and supporting the local community. We do not have and would never condone a policy to refuse a customer who is being kind to those that are less fortunate.”
A council spokesman said: “We do not have a policy in place with the Argo Lounge to prevent food or drink being given to homeless people on nearby streets.
“However, our officers have spoken to the company previously about this practice, advising that it can result in homeless people feeling less inclined to seek help. If members of the public wish to help the homeless, we recommend donating provisions such as food and warm clothing to local homeless shelters.”