Wychavon works in partnership with many organisations to help prevent people from sleeping rough in the first place, and to make the long-term changes needed to get them off the streets for good if they do find themselves in that situation.
The big change Small Difference campaign aims to highlight this work and encourage people to donate to projects already working to improve the lives of those on the streets or at risk of ending up there.
It also encourages people to identify where they see rough sleepers using the Street Link service, so the two councils’ outreach team can find those people and begin supporting them.
Projects involved in the campaign include the Evesham youth homelessness project run by us, St Basils in partnership with Wychavon. The project supports young people aged 16 to 25 at risk of being made homeless and works with them to build independence and skills that will allow them to go on to successfully rent and sustain their own home.
Maggs is a charity that runs day centres in Worcester and Malvern. People sleeping rough on the streets of Wychavon are also often referred to one of these day centres for help.
They provide homeless people somewhere warm and dry to go as well as access to the basics we all take for granted – a safe place to be, toilets, showers, a hot drink and someone to talk to. They also provide hot meals, clothing and mentoring and support for those ready to make changes to get off the streets and back into mainstream community life.
Caring Hands in the Vale supports people who are homeless, and at risk of homelessness, by offering a range of support including food parcels, toiletry packs, bedding, clothing and blankets for free, depending on their circumstances.
They are also developing a new project – The Lighthouse – which will become a drop-in centre. As well as offering everything they already do, this will allow them to provide advice and support sessions including access to IT facilities, a health hub, shower, laundry, lockers for the homeless, haircuts, and provide a ‘care of address’.
Cllr Chris Day, Executive Board Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing said: “People often ask us how they can help people they see sleeping rough. The way people can make the biggest difference is to support projects already doing tremendous work with those on the streets and at risk of homelessness, so they can carry on helping people.”
People can find out more about the projects and how to donate by visiting www.wychavon.gov.uk/small-change.
Money donated will go direct to the charities (including us) themselves apart from a small fee taken by the donation platform they use. The council will not receive or take anything. It is hoped more projects will be involved with the campaign in the future.