People who want to help rough sleepers in the city will soon be able to give money to support a local night shelter using new donation points that are being set up across Leicester.
BID Leicester and Leicester City Council are working together to provide the contactless donation points which will be installed in shops, cafés and public buildings in the city centre and beyond.
The initiative, called Give Leicester, is part of the Leicester Homelessness Charter. Leicester’s Homelessness Charter was launched last year and is a growing coalition of people and organisations, practitioners and supporters alike, working increasingly closely together to tackle homelessness in the city.
Donations collected over the first six months of the scheme will go towards the One Roof Winter Night Shelter operated by local charity One Roof Leicester. The shelter provides additional emergency accommodation and food during the coldest months of the year.
The Give Leicester donation points are small, contactless terminals, which will enable people to make a £3 donation simply by tapping their card.
Locations already agreed are St Martin’s Coffee Shop, McDonalds in Highcross Leicester and Market Street, Clockwise Credit Union, De Montfort University, St Martins House, Greggs on Gallowtree Gate, Knighton Library and Westcotes Library on Narborough Road.
The first giving points will be accepting donations from Tuesday 29 October. More locations will follow, with the aim of having 16 giving points in total.
The Give Leicester initiative will also support a website listing over 75 organisations in the city that offer support services for homeless people.
The scheme has been organised and funded by BID Leicester and Leicester City Council, who are also paying all transaction costs to ensure that 100% of the money donated goes to the One Roof Winter Night Shelter.
Simon Jenner, BID Leicester Director, said, “It’s fantastic to be able to launch Give Leicester, a project that will use technology and innovation to help to improve the lives of some of the city’s most vulnerable people.
“We know members of the public want to help rough sleepers whenever they can, and this initiative empowers them to be able to make a difference whilst being safe in the knowledge that 100% of their money will go to the Winter Night Shelter – an essential service that helps to get people off the streets as the temperatures start to drop.
“The extensive online directory will be a real help to local businesses as well as the public, who can direct people they are concerned about to the relevant services. Connecting vulnerable people with outreach services can make a real difference.”
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “Like other cities across the UK, Leicester is facing a growing homelessness crisis. The city council spends more than £5 million a year on preventing homelessness and getting rough sleepers off the streets, but there is much more that needs to be done.
“Leicester people are tremendously generous and we know that they also want to help. The Give Leicester scheme will make it very easy for them to give money directly to local charities who are working with rough sleepers and get them the support they need.”
Leicester Homelessness Charter Chair, the Church of England Diocese of Leicester’s Revd Canon Alison Adams, commented: “I am delighted that two core Charter members, BID Leicester and Leicester City Council, have together given the public a really practical way of supporting initiatives to reduce homelessness. Many people are concerned but unsure about how to respond. In raising awareness, Give Leicester and the online directory will begin to address this.”
In addition to money raised by on-street giving points, local tech business LoyalFree have pledged their support to the campaign.
LoyalFree, who already work in partnership with BID Leicester in delivering a digital loyalty scheme for the city, have pledged 1p to Give Leicester for every loyalty stamp collected on the LoyalFree app – including back-dating their pledge from when the app launched.
LoyalFree currently has 38,000 users across 13 UK locations, and stamps collected by all users until March 2020 will be counted in their pledge.
Sophie Hainsworth, co-founder of LoyalFree, said, “We’ve been looking for a charity partner and as a Leicester-based company we wanted to help a good cause in the city.
“Users of LoyalFree don’t need to do anything differently – they can keep using the app as normal and we will automatically Give as they save.
“By backdating our pledge from when the app launched we already have £945 to donate to Give Leicester. To those in the city who don’t yet have the app I’d say: now is the time to download it! Not only can you benefit from great savings in the city, you can make a real difference to people’s lives.”