A Small Change for a Big Change

The Alternative Giving Campaign

A new initiative has been launched in Wolverhampton to encourage people to donate money directly to local homeless charities, rather than giving it directly to someone begging on the city centre streets.

Recent research has found that only 19% people begging on the streets of the UK are actually homeless. The other 81% found to be begging were using profits made to buy drugs, alcohol or simply to fund their lifestyle.

The Alternative Giving scheme has been set up by the Wolverhampton BID Co Ltd. It aims to ensure that money goes direct to service providers/charities that help the homeless in Wolverhampton. By giving to the scheme, rather than directly to beggars, the public can then ensure their money is used as their good-will intended.

Under the scheme, from early October 2016 people will be able to make a donation in a number of collection boxes as identified on the city centre map that are being put in place in locations around the city centre.

The money collected will be distributed by Wolverhampton BID Co Ltd to our chosen 3 charities of which a 100% of all donations will go to help the homeless and vulnerable individuals in Wolverhampton.

The collection boxes have been manufactured by DIS a local Wolverhampton Company.

Cherry Shine BID Director said: Helping the homeless and vulnerable individuals by providing the right support is fundamental to this initiative by providing an easy way to donate directly to these worthy charities, ‘working with the right agencies we will be able to support a positive change in our city centre’.

Inspector Sarah Thomas-West West Midlands Police, said: “We work with the Wolverhampton BID to resolve issues around nuisance beggars in the city − carrying out operations and regular patrols.

“We want to help those people on the streets who have complex needs and struggle to access services – by directing them to benefits, housing, alcohol and substance abuse services or mental health support.“

But begging is an offence – and can intimidate members of the public – and those who ignore warnings will be arrested by officers and taken to court.”

City of Wolverhampton Council Homeless Strategy and External Services Manager, Anthony Walker, said: “We are fully behind this scheme which will support projects that work with vulnerable homeless people across the city. All money given by kind-hearted Wolverhampton residents and visitors will be spent on charitable work to help those in need improve their current circumstances by offering them accommodation, assistance and advice. The aim is to highlight the good work that can be done if spare change is donated directly to local charities working with vulnerable people. The best way to help people positively change their lives is by homeless organisations and the public working together.”

Sam Bailey, P3 Navigator, said: “The Wolverhampton Alternative Giving scheme will help support our work with rough sleepers in the city to secure the right accommodation at the right time, also working with the Homeless people that we work with everyday in Wolverhampton who are part of our community. The funds can be used to target where there is real need, it will show that the people of the city care about people who are struggling to cope. The funds raised will be used to finds lasting solutions to our vulnerable client group.”

“At the P3 Navigator, we want to support people who feel excluded from society, get them back on their feet, give them some hope, boost their self-esteem and confidence and eventually to become valued members of the community once again. We will continue to support them on their journey as they tackle the many challenges in life that come along.”

Service User, P3 Charity said “I had been rough sleeping for approx 1 yr, I had no self-esteem and no confidence; did not trust anyone really, I was at rock bottom the lowest I could ever be, often I thought of ending my life.

I would see the agencies on a walkabout and they would try and convince me to go into accommodation; they really tried to help me but I was not ready, one day I did,  I was really low – the Navigator sorted a meeting at P3 the same day and since then I have been in their service –this has opened my life up to more options, I feel safe, I am treated with respect, they have given me hope something I did not have sleeping on the streets.

I can watch telly, relax and think about my future. I was living like a caveman on the streets, now I am living like a king.”

Fazia Bano –  Chief Executive, St. George’s HUB said:

“St. George’s HUB is delighted to support the Alternative Giving Scheme. We know the people of Wolverhampton are very generous and this scheme offers the public an easy and practical way to make a real difference to the lives of the most vulnerable people of this City. By making a donation to Charities, every penny will be used to help the most vulnerable in this City.

People need a home, a future and hope, this is the heart of what we do at St. George’s HUB. We offer people the tools to help themselves.

St. George’s HUB has worked for over 40 years with Wolverhampton’s forgotten and invisible people. For each of our clients, who have often been written off, there lies a story. Bereavement, relationship breakdown or abuse, can lead down a road resulting in homelessness. We work to improve the health, skills and life chances of people giving them the best possible prospect of turning their lives around. By working together, the public and local Charities can stop people begging and make sure help reaches those most in need.”

Wolves captain Danny Batth said:  “I was delighted to meet the representatives from Wolverhampton Bid Company and offer support for their new initiative to encourage funding to go to the people in the City who most need it.

“When I helped to sell the Big Issue with the regular seller in Wolverhampton City Centre before Christmas, it was a real eye opener to learn more about homeless people and their efforts to improve their lives.

“Hopefully the people of Wolverhampton will support Wolverhampton BID to try and ensure those people who are trying to get back on their feet get as much help and support as possible.”