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Alternative Giving Campaign relaunches in Wolverhampton

Laura Gavin 26 June 2017

 

This week saw the relaunch of Wolverhampton’s Alternative Giving Campaign to address the issue of begging around the city. A partnership between Wolverhampton City Council, Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID), local police and local charities, the campaign is designed to direct donations to meet the long-term needs of people sleeping rough, rather than continue a cycle of dependency.

Sam Bailey, Operations Manager for P3’s West Midlands services, said:

“It’s not about not ostracising people who are homeless, but actually looking at what their needs are, taking a multi-agency approach and between us, seeing if we can provide that solution.”

The idea is that instead of giving to people on the streets, people in Wolverhampton can donate to local charities and support agencies who can then support rough sleepers to find safe, sustainable accommodation. Sam continued:

“One of the biggest problems we have is that there’s not enough affordable accommodation and private landlords are very reluctant to take on somebody that has been rough sleeping, or has previous record of anti-social behaviour. What these donations will enable us to do is things like a deposit to put down with a private landlord or get someone into a bed and breakfast temporarily, until we can look for more secure and stable accommodation.”

P3 is one of three charities operating in Wolverhampton which will receive donations, along with Street Pastors, who run a weekend night outreach service to make sure rough sleepers are safe and well, and St George’s Hub, which provides basic facilities like food and showers for those without a roof over their head, as well as longer-term emotional and practical support.

Narinder Kaur is a support worker at a Stage Two property in P3’s Wolverhampton Housing and Homeless Service, which helps tenants work towards living independently.

“People have individual needs and it’s not always as simple as getting them into accommodation – they might have a pet that can’t be housed in a hostel and they don’t want to leave them, so in these cases, the donations will go to providing things like pillows, blankets, toiletries and emergency food parcels, so at least we can send them away with something to keep them safe and warm.”

Some of those who have faced housing issues here also think the campaign will make a difference. Rudy was sofa-surfing and sometimes out all night with nowhere to go after being evicted, before finding emergency supported housing through P3’s Wolverhampton Navigator.

“From what I can see, this Alternative Giving is better than giving to beggars on the road, because you don’t know what they’re going to do with the money, or they might be robbed. It’s mad out here and you just don’t know. But if the money’s going to these charities then you’re going to see better bedding, more food, more staff…”

Showcased as part of Small Charity Week, (19-24 June) the scheme was originally launched in October 2016 and has so far raised nearly £3,000, highlighting the power of local organisations working together to bring real and lasting change to people’s lives.

Lucy Armstrong, from Wolverhampton BID explained:

“We’ve been working to improve the city centre for three years and one of our objectives is around a cleaner, safer, welcoming city centre. We are a caring city, and we want to make sure that the resources that people are generously giving are going to the right places. We also knew that it needed to transparent – we’ll keep updating the Alternative Giving website to show stories of clients who the campaign has helped so that people know where the money’s going.”

Donation points can be found in various local outlets, from Costa Coffee to The Express and Star offices, who also reported on the story back in September. You can find out the latest on the Alternative Giving campaign, as well as the list of donation points, at www.wolverhamptonchange.co.uk.

 

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