The small things making a big difference for Cardiff’s homeless

City’s new digital giving points set to help make donating quick and easy.

A cooker, a bike, a passport, and a new suit. Relatively small value items can make a big difference to the life of someone experiencing homelessness. This St David’s Day sees the launch of the Small Things Make a Big DIFFerence campaign, with the opening of six new donation points across Cardiff city centre to help tackle homelessness in the Welsh capital.

The campaign is part of the relaunch of Give DIFFerently’s partnership approach to tackling homelessness in Cardiff between FOR Cardiff and existing homeless charities and organisations.

First launched in 2018, Give DIFFerently has since raised over £12,000 and issued 32 grants to Cardiff based organisations and charities working with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Six new donation points across Cardiff city centre will allow people to use their smartphones to scan a QR code and make a quick and easy payment directly to the Give DIFFerently fund knowing that 100 per cent of their donation will go directly towards supporting people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The Give DIFFerently fund is managed by Community Foundation Wales, an independent non-profit organisation who support charities and community groups with funding to strengthen communities across Wales. Cardiff based charities and organisations can apply for grants of between £25 – £2,000 through Community Foundation Wales to purchase essential items and vocational training to support people in their journey away from homelessness.

Now for the first time Cardiff Council’s Housing and Communities team can apply for funding through Give Differently, meaning that more people will benefit from the fund.

During an unprecedented cost of living crisis, the Small Things Make a Big DIFFerence campaign aims to show that ‘doing the little things’ matters – a core philosophy of the Welsh patron saint. Small donations to the Give DIFFerently fund all add up to make a difference to the lives of those experiencing homelessness and grants as little as £75 to purchase ID can help change people’s lives and reduce homelessness in Cardiff.

By donating to Give DIFFerently, you are helping people like Mark* who was homeless for three months following a breakdown in family relations. He was referred to the Wallich who successfully rehoused him and he is managing the tenancy well. The Wallich applied for a grant to purchase a gas cooker for his new home, meaning he can make home-cooked food for his daughter, instead of relying on costly microwave meals.

Another person to benefit from Give DIFFerently is Isabella, who was at risk of criminal exploitation and suffered mental health issues. Llamau received a grant from Give DIFFerently to purchase a bike for her to allow her to travel to job interviews and help to lessen her anxiety through a more active lifestyle. Sam who has faced housing challenges since the age of 17 has also been helped by the Give DIFFerently fund. The Wallich received a grant to purchase tools for Sam to start a gardening and tree surgeon business, allowing him to become self-employed and financially independent.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said:

“People in Cardiff have a tremendous amount of compassion for those they see sleeping rough, or those experiencing homelessness and we know they want to help.

Continuing, she said: “Give DIFFerently is a really positive way to support vulnerable people. Donations made via the scheme will help those supported by homelessness services in the city to get their lives back on track. We very much welcome the relaunch of the scheme and encourage residents and visitors to contribute via the new donation points, including at Central Library Hub and across the city centre.”

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Wales, said:

“We are proud to be working with FOR Cardiff to provide support to those experiencing homelessness in Cardiff. We know that what seems like a small donation can actually have a big impact and help provide a stepping stone for positive change.

Carolyn Brownell, Executive Director (Interim)at FOR Cardiff, said:

“We know that people in Cardiff are hugely generous, despite continued financial pressure, and really keen to help those experiencing homelessness in the city centre. This campaign shows that even small donations can make such a big impact in helping change people’s lives and Give DIFFerently’s new QR code donation points will make it quicker and easier to make a donation, knowing that 100 per cent is going directly to supporting people in their journey away from homelessness.”

There are several ways to donate, whether that be scanning the QR codes at donation points in the city centre, visiting the Give DIFFerently website, or texting DIFF3 to 70331 to donate £3.

The current city centre donation point locations are:
• Cardiff Central Library
• The Hayes/Morgan Quarter – next to TK Maxx
• Cardiff Market (w/c 4th March)
• The Bike Lock, Windsor Place (w/c 4th March)
• Mc Donalds Queen Street
• Mc Donalds St Mary Street

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

FOR Cardiff launches homeless charter

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.

Card it FOR Cardiff

Over the last three weeks in March, donations for the Give DIFFerently campaign were collected via contactless technology at our interactive display in Cardiff city centre.

For every tap at the contactless pay point, £2 will be put towards small grants for those who are currently experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Thanks to the Four Acre Trust, your £2 will become £4, doubling your donation.