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Cashless donations to the homeless in the city

A new cashless way to help homeless people in the Lancaster District has been launched. Residents wanting to help make a real change to the lives of rough sleepers can now do so via the new Lancaster District Street Aid scheme and the wonders of technology.

As part of the scheme, the first of a number of cashless terminals has been installed in the window of Dalton Square Pharmacy in Lancaster allowing people to make a donation of £3 with just one tap of a card from outside the premises.

More donation points are expected to pop up soon in the windows of other businesses in the district, including Student Housing Lancaster on Penny Street, Lancaster and Northern Chocolate Company on Marine Road Central in Morecambe.

Alternatively, people can donate other amounts to Lancaster District Street Aid via the fundraising platform, TotalGiving – www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/streetaid

Posters for the scheme will also be displayed on Stagecoach buses offering a QR code to help people donate via Total Giving whilst on the move.

Donations will generate a pot of funding that individuals can apply for, with assistance from a supporting organisation (voluntary sector or local authority), to get the sort of practical help they need to stay off the streets for good.

Types of support that can be applied for via the scheme include furniture and other home essentials, education/training courses, clothing for job interviews, transport to interview/place of work, and help with searching for a job.

Lancaster City Council will be funding ongoing costs to ensure that 100% of the money donated goes towards making a real difference.

Councillor Caroline Jackson, cabinet member with responsibility for housing and homelessness, said: “Following the good work undertaken by the council and its partners during Covid to encourage people off the streets and into somewhere safe, we want to banish street homelessness for good.  But people starting a new life need extra resources.

“Street Aid allows people to make a cashless donation whilst being safe in the knowledge that 100% of it will go to fund everyday life essentials that are vital to helping people to turn their life around and leave the streets behind.”

Tony Johnson, Manager of Lancaster BID, said: “This fantastic project is a perfect example of what can be done when organisations work together. At Lancaster BID we have our own ‘Safe and Secure’ initiative.  One of its aims is to try and help improve the homeless issues we have in Lancaster. We know local people are very charitable so wanted to give them an alternative way to donate money to people who need it most.

“I’d like to thank the business community for their ongoing support with ‘Safe and Secure’”.

Sergeant Lindsay Brown, Partnerships Officer for Lancaster and Morecambe Police, added:  “There are many reasons why people beg on the street and many of us instinctively want to give money to someone who we think needs our help.

“Unfortunately, donations are often used to feed drug and alcohol dependencies which can be one of the reasons why they remain on the street despite all the help they are offered by numerous agencies.

“This new scheme allows the public to make a donation, but in a safe way that will help to provide long-term support.”

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said:  “I’m really pleased to be able to support this project through my Community Action Fund and it is exactly what the fund is all about, supporting initiatives like this that help vulnerable people and build confident communities.

“This highlights the importance of working together, across organisations, to deliver that help and support that many people need, which can only be a good thing.

“I regularly see the difference that projects which are funded by the Community Action Fund make, supporting me in delivering the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and ultimately helping make Lancashire safer”

The application and funding process is being administered by Lancaster District Council for Voluntary Services.

Chief Executive Officer, Yak Patel said: “Lancaster District Street Aid is an important way of helping and supporting charities which help rough sleepers in all aspects of their lives. The key thing here is everybody working together, and we are pleased to be involved in an initiative that can change the lives of people living on our streets.”

More information on the scheme can be found at www.lancastercvs.org.uk/funding/streetaid

The initiative has been launched by Lancaster City Council in partnership with Lancaster BID, Lancaster and Morecambe Area Police and Lancaster District CVS.  The scheme is being funded by Lancaster City Council, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Community Action Fund and Student Housing Lancaster.  Dalton Square Pharmacy, Northern Chocolate Company and Student Housing Lancaster are hosting the first donation points.

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