Campaign backs ‘real change’ for the homeless

Press Release: 10/06/2016

Group photograph of supporters for the Spare Change for Real Change campaign

A fresh campaign has been launched to encourage Winchester residents and visitors to give their spare change to dedicated local charities that support the homeless instead of handing money to street-beggars.

‘Spare Change for Real Change’ was re-launched by Winchester City Council and the Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) on Friday 10 June. The campaign features eye-catching house-shaped collection boxes in local shops with accompanying newspaper, radio and poster promotion.

Winchester Churches Nightshelter and Trinity Winchester offer support for people to get back into long-term accommodation and help rebuild their lives. All the donations through the campaign are used to improve the charities’ services for those sleeping rough.

When people give money with the best of intentions to those begging in Winchester it can perpetuate the problem by keeping individuals at risk and encouraging them to continue a life on the streets.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the charities’ work, the issues surrounding street-begging and the best way to give donations.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing Services, said:

Winchester has few homeless people due to its committed housing team and the support of the two charities working hard to help those in need. However the city is targeted, especially at this time of year, by ‘career’ beggars who see Winchester as a lucrative place.

Our aim is to stop this cycle of begging and urge those who want to help to give their donations to local charities working directly with the homeless to turn their lives around.

Cllr Horrill added:

This scheme offers Winchester residents and visitors the chance to support homeless people with the confidence that their donation will be used directly to improve services for those sleeping rough.

Look out for the red house-shaped donation boxes at shops and businesses in Winchester. Putting your spare change in the box will contribute to a long-term solution to homelessness.

Catherine Turness, Executive Director at the Winchester BID said :

Winchester BID is delighted to be a part of the facilitation of the Spare Change for Real Change re-launch. It is a project that first came in to being around eight years ago and is still very close to our hearts. We anticipate a growth in interest from the public and businesses which will lead to donations being channeled to the right places.

People may also donate by texting REAL17 £2/£5/£10 to 70070.