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Bedford unites to make a “real change” for rough sleepers

November 22, 2019 8:30 AM

Real Change PosterThis week, posters will be going up across the borough to raise awareness with the public about services and support for rough sleepers. Alongside this, the Bedford Homeless Partnership has established an alternative giving fund, which will be known as "Real Change".

The Real Change Fund will pay for projects and items rough sleepers need to build lives away from the streets. Examples would be a copy of a birth certificate, to help claim benefits; clothes for a job interview, or a deposit for a flat.

By donating to the Real Change Fund, your money will make a real change to the lives of rough sleepers.

Sam Price, Homeless Inter-Agency Officer for Bedford, explains the idea behind the campaign "Members of the public want to help tackle homelessness, but often don't know how. The posters will signpost people to the Bedford Homeless website, which lists all the support available in our town, and also enables them to donate via JustGiving. This way they know their donations will be going towards really helping people to get off the streets."

The campaign is backed by the main homelessness services in the Borough, as well as Bedfordshire Police, Bedford BID and Bedford Borough Council.

Inspector Russell Goldsmith from Bedfordshire Police said "We are delighted to be supporting such a worthy project, as homelessness is a real issue in Bedford town centre and its surrounding areas, and it's great that an initiative is being launched that will help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Unfortunately anti-social behavior, such as aggressive begging, is a still a concern in the town centre and we will continue to work with our partners to address these issues and work out the solutions together."

Mayor Dave Hodgson said "I welcome the work the Bedford Homeless Partnership are doing and this is another great initiative along with many that partner organisations run to support some of the most vulnerable people in our borough."

The campaign will be launched just ahead of Homelessness Awareness Week, which runs from the 1st to the 8th December.