A regional charity – set up to help the homeless – is hoping it has come up with a positive way of addressing the public’s concern about what they should do when they see someone begging on the streets.
Julian House has teamed up with Bath BID and the Nationwide Building Society to launch the city’s first Good Start Tap to Donate point in Union St.
Based on contactless technology the Tap to Donate point will allow the public to give a small donation to support Bath’s street homeless – confident in the knowledge that it will be used by local agencies to help individuals to come off the streets and move on, for good.
The Good Start funding is available to every person who has slept rough in Bath and North East Somerset and can be accessed through local agency support staff.
Roanne Wootten is the Operations Director for Julian House, who are managing the scheme: “The public at large are really conflicted about what they should do when they see someone begging on the street. Their natural instinct is to help but they are also aware that any monies given might be used to fund the very issue which is keeping that person on the streets.
The sort of things it could fund are welcome packs, which include toiletries and sanitary products in crisis accommodation, new bedding and essentials when moving into supported housing, a birth certificate, a passport or a driving licence.
Fundamentally it is about the person and what they need to help them to come off the streets – it will be different for everyone. The Good Start Fund is open to other local agencies who are providing direct support to named individuals.”
The ‘Good Start Tap to Donate’ scheme is being supported in the launch phase with help from Bath BID and Nationwide Building Society, who have kindly agreed to host the contactless donation point in the window of their Union St branch.
Members of the public simply present their credit or debit card and the terminal will deduct a standard £3 donation. Anyone wishing to give more can simply repeat the exercise. Very straightforward. All monies received will be held in the Good Start Fund.
Allison Herbert, Chief Executive of Bath BID, is pleased to see the launch of the first of the city’s Good Start Tap to Donate points: “Many businesses express concern at the level of rough sleeping in the city centre and Good Start will be an additional way for people to help tackle one of our most pressing issues.
Increasingly, people do not carry cash and have concerns about giving directly to people begging on the streets as they do not know if they are looking at a person in genuine need. Inviting visitors and shoppers to donate via the contactless point makes it much easier and we can all trust that our money is being managed carefully.”
Rob Burrows is the Assistant Branch Manager for Nationwide in Bath: “I believe contactless technology is the way forward. In Bath we all have the opportunity to support vulnerable people through the great services and charities available. This Good Start Tap to Donate point will allow more people within the local community to donate quickly and easily to make a real difference.”
Julian House is hoping that other retailers and businesses will step forward to allow the Good Start terminals to be located in their premises. All enquiries should be directed to Cecil Weir at Julian House – firstname.lastname@example.org or 01225 354652. Further details at www.julianhouse.org.uk/goodstart