Doncaster Council is pleased to be supporting Real Help Doncaster, a new partnership scheme that helps people off the street and into a healthier and safer lifestyle, is urging people to change the way they give and not give on the street.
Providing an alternative to giving on the street, the primary aim of Real Help Doncaster is to provide a way for people who want to donate to know that their support will contribute to ‘ real help’ instead of money being used for the wrong reasons including possible drug and alcohol abuses and contribute to keeping people begging.
The multi-agency scheme provides quick help for practical items that can help people off the street. This could be money to access training courses, furnishings, travel costs or help to set up a home. Local charities and organisations will work directly with individuals to apply for funds. It is part of the action plan that was agreed by partners to tackle the issues in the town centre and anti-social behaviour.
Councillor Chris McGuinness, cabinet member Communities, Voluntary Sector and the Environment, said:
“This is an important part of the borough’s approach to homelessness and rough sleeping. The partners involved in this scheme are already doing a lot of good work to support individuals who are rough sleeping or at risk of losing their home but this adds another dimension and allows us to make sure everyone’s help counts.
“I am pleased that we now have a local scheme where you can donate to a fund and be sure that your money is going to people who are homeless and really need it. I hope people get behind the scheme and donate.”
All donations are combined in one central fund. The scheme will be administered by Changing Lives, a national, registered charity which provides specialist support for thousands of vulnerable people and their families. They are already working in Doncaster supporting people with complex needs to make meaningful and lasting improvements to their lives. The campaign is being advertised in the town centre.
Stephen Bell, CEO of Changing Lives added:
“Changing Lives are really proud to be involved in this scheme to raise awareness and increase the support available for people in Doncaster.
“Any funds and donations contributed will be distributed to the most vulnerable people in our community, helping them build safer and happier lives for themselves and their families.
"We are grateful to everyone who has been involved - as always the generosity of local residents is wonderful and greatly appreciated by the people we support.”
Superintendent Neil Thomas, said:
“Real Help Doncaster forms part of our continued drive and commitment to improving the town centre and protecting vulnerable people.
“Through this, members of the public who want to give money to help someone can do so knowing that it’s going to offer immediate practical support but also long-term support in getting people off the streets and the help they may need.
“We are also aiming to raise awareness of the support available so that people know the options and support services available to them.”
Jackie Bailey, chair of the Doncaster Town Centre Business Forum added:
"After discussions with the council and partners, it is encouraging that our concerns are being addressed in a positive and supporting manner which will hopefully make donating easily accessible with the ultimate consequence of supporting the vulnerable people this campaign is targeting.”
To donate text REAL22 £2 to 70070 ( you can change the amount and may be charged for the text message) or visit the Real Help Doncaster website .
Anyone wishing to donate must be 16 or over and have the bill payer’s permission. For every £1 donated, 95p goes directly to helping someone in need. A 5% charge goes to Just Giving for administering donations.
Working together with key members of the Doncaster Business Forum, South Yorkshire Police, Doncaster Council, St Leger Homes and other agencies, the Real Help campaign is one of a range of actions which forms part of the joint agency approach.
Applications for the scheme will be open in early December and donations can now be made.
And the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce is to make the first donation after pledging £500.
Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber, said:
“We are fully aware of the issues of anti-social behaviour in the town centre and the impact this is having on businesses and customers alike. The Chamber is both challenging and working with local partners to improve this situation and fully supports such initiatives like this new scheme to make positive change. We are therefore pleased to be the first business organisation to donate and support people with complex lives.”