A scheme which makes it easy for people to donate money to support local people experiencing homelessness, is being expanded in the run up to Christmas.
The ‘Change for Good’ initiative, which enables people to give £3 just by tapping their bank cards at specially installed ‘giving points’, is expanding out to Poole and Christchurch.
All of the money donated goes to helping local people move off the streets and rebuild their resilience away from rough sleeping. The donations go into a fund that is independently managed by Dorset Community Foundation. This fund has given out over £8000 in the last 2 years to local agencies who work directly with people escaping homelessness, complementing the statutory support from the council.
Recent examples include portable phone charging banks, white goods for those moving into otherwise empty accommodation, and gardening equipment for women who had been through trauma experiences around homelessness.
“It is a dream come true” said one former rough sleeper and ex-offender with addiction issues enabled by a Change for Good grant and the YMCA team to move into his own home.
New tap donation points will be installed at HSBC UK on Poole High Street, the “Gather” venue in the Dolphin Centre, a window on the outside of Christchurch Baptist Church, and a “podium” giving point in HSBC UK, Christchurch. There is even a mobile donation point in the Citizen’s Advice “urban advice” van which will be parked in key locations in November and December.
The scheme is run by the Homelessness Partnership for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole which is made up of local charities, businesses and public sector organisations. The partnership has supported 87 people to make positive moves from rough sleeping into settled longer-term housing in the last year, and scores of others are out of precarious housing situations.
There are already 4 other points in Bournemouth at the town centre HSBC UK bank, the Central Library, “Half-time” next to the YMCA on Westover Road, and the Hope & More shop in Southbourne.
Alistair Doxat-Purser, chair of the Partnership Forum, said: “People often want to do something to help when they meet someone sleeping rough, but don’t know the best way.
“It’s already clear from the generous donations to the existing “tap” points, that this may be part of the answer; people find they are a great way to do something positive, knowing that all of their donation will be used to help people locally.
“As the weather gets colder and the Christmas season approaches, many people are looking for ways to help others – this is a really simple way of giving Hope.
“For the same amount as a stocking filler or a takeaway coffee, you could help make such a difference to someone’s life, just by tapping your card.”
Councillor Hazel Allen, Lead Member for Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, BCP Council said: “I’m really pleased that we are able to extend the number of places where the public can make a contactless donation to help support someone positively move off the streets.
“It’s important to note that all money raised goes to trusted local charities whose work directly supports individuals who are sleeping rough and this support complements the statutory work of the council to provide help and support to help people off the streets and on to a more positive future.”
Rachel Hill, Local Director, HSBC UK said: “HSBC UK has been supporting vulnerable people in the local area with our No Fixed Address service which helps people experiencing homelessness to open a bank account.
“It was important for us to sign up to this initiative in Bournemouth, and both myself and my team are tremendously proud to be part of the extended roll out into Poole and Christchurch to further support those in need.”
People can also donate to Change for Good via its Just Giving page.