Today (Thursday 26th September), FOR Cardiff has launched Cardiff’s Homeless Charter to unite people, businesses, schools and universities to tackle homelessness in Cardiff together.
Co-created with homeless organisations, it will provide other alternative ways to give through time, employment, skills and services to help people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Pledges can be made through the Give DIFFerently website.
Businesses, such as Neal’s Yard, The Greenery and Jones the Barber have already come forward to offer a range of pledges such as offering community time to help people integrate into society, chef training to improve their employability and free haircuts to build confidence.
Delyth Griffiths, owner of The Greenery in Cardiff Market, who experienced homelessness when she was 15 said, “I’ve been through my own struggle with homelessness and it can feel like the world is against you. It only took one person to help me get back on the right track and now I’m able to do that for someone else.
“I’m offering to give professional chef training to someone experiencing homelessness, no matter where they are in their journey. They’ll learn about everything that’s needed to work in a professional kitchen and how to run their own catering business from stock take to marketing. I hope it will give them the skills and confidence to turn their lives around.”
Alongside the charter, FOR Cardiff has installed new, permanent donation points in the city centre to continue to raise money for its homelessness fund, Give DIFFerently.
Two static donation stations have been installed – one on the front of Cardiff Central Library and another in St David’s Shopping Centre. A third hand-held device will be used on big event days and will be available for local businesses to fundraise.
100% of the money raised will go to the fund to directly support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Since launching the contactless giving scheme last year, the fund has received £11,404 in donations from generous visitors, residents, businesses and organisations of Cardiff.
35 grants have been awarded over the past year for necessities, such as ID, driving lessons, furniture or white goods and vocational training, to help people find their feet and aid them in their journey away from homelessness.
Andrea Powell from Community Foundation Wales said: “Managing the fund means that we’ve been able to distribute grants through the brilliant homeless services in Cardiff, to homeless people that are most in need, and are most likely to benefit due to their engagement with these services.
The fund has already supported 35 people to get essential items such as I.D to open a bank account, vocational training to gain employment and household goods that will make a house into a home. These things can all improve the quality of life for anyone who is or has experienced homelessness and help to prevent them from returning.”
Adrian Field, Executive Director, FOR Cardiff, the business improvement district for the city, said: “We set up Give DIFFerently in response to concerns from businesses about homelessness in the city. They wanted to find a meaningful way to help individuals rough sleeping. The initial response to the pop-up donation points was extremely positive and the installation of permanent ones will mean we can keep the fund going and give out more in grants.
“We are able to proudly say that 100% of donations go to the individual. The introduction of the charter is the next step in offering alternative ways to support people at risk.
“The funding and pledges, combined with existing services, means we are coming together to give people as many opportunities to make a positive step away from their current situation.”
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne said: “The Council is working hard to support all those who are experiencing homelessness in the city and we know that residents and visitors want to help too.
“As Give DIFFerently partners, we are pleased to have a contactless point in our busy Central Library Hub where people can donate to help individuals in Cardiff who are going through a tough time in their lives.
“The Library Hub is in a prime location to not only raise as much as possible but to highlight what is being done city-wide for homelessness. We hope visitors remain generous and give what they can, when they can to help.”
To donate by text, text GIVDIFF5 to 70331 to give £3.