People across Chichester District are being urged to ‘make their change count’ and help bring about lasting change to the lives of rough sleepers.
Chichester District Council is working with homeless charities The Four Streets Project, HEART and Stonepillow to encourage people to give to these charities so they can support rough sleepers long-term, rather than giving money directly to people on the street.
“We know that people in the district are extremely generous and want to help rough sleepers but we want to encourage people to help in the most effective way possible,” explains Councillor Alan Sutton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communications, Licensing and Events at Chichester District Council. “What we have found is that while people are being very generous and giving money directly, this is actually helping to keep people on the streets, and preventing people from accessing the long-term, specialist support that they need. There is a lot of support available in the district for rough sleepers and by giving to our excellent local charities, you will be helping them to provide sustained support to clients.
“Also, what many people don’t realise when they give money is that not everyone on the streets is homeless. Unfortunately, there are some people who come into the city simply to beg for money and it can be very difficult to tell the difference. In Chichester city centre there are often as many as ten people who have come into the city just for the day in order to beg, and sometimes they travel a fair distance because they know that people here are so willing to help.”
Chichester District Council has a team of rough sleeper outreach workers who carry out daily checks on every rough sleeper to offer them support and make them aware of the help that is available to them. This includes working with the council’s community wardens, and the local homeless charities to ensure that rough sleepers are safe.
“We are working with our local partners to ensure that accommodation is available to those that need it and that no-one has to sleep on the streets,” adds Cllr Sutton. “Our rough sleeper outreach workers will always let people know about what is open to them, even if they don’t accept it straightaway. When they accept our offers of support they have access to a doctor, mental health services, deposits and suitable accommodation and our aim is always to work towards permanent accommodation for a rough sleeper.”
As part of its commitment to help rough sleepers, Chichester District Council has successfully bid for several pots of Government funding. Most of this money has gone to Stonepillow and includes:
- £300,000 to extend their hostel
- £200,000 to help buy a property which will provide additional move-on accommodation as part of the Government’s Next Steps programme; and
- £58,000 towards the cost of providing temporary accommodation and providing move-on support for rough sleepers.
In addition, the council is also providing £100,000 to Stonepillow which will also go towards developing the temporary accommodation project.
As part of the campaign the council has also been working with a local primary school, talking to pupils in years 4 to 6 during their PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) lessons about the issues around homelessness and rough sleeping.
The charities taking part in the Make Your Change Count campaign:
Stonepillow support and empower homeless and vulnerable people to achieve sustainable independence and wellbeing.
They provide support 365 days a year across Chichester and Arun districts, offering a complete recovery journey focusing on improving health and wellbeing, and sustaining independent living.
The charity also works in partnership with other agencies across West Sussex to provide the following essential support for homeless and vulnerable people:
• Safe, secure, high-quality accommodation
• Support with mental health, recovery and wellbeing
• Fresh food and essential provisions
• Keeping people safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic
To find out more and donate call 01243 537934 or visit https://stonepillow.org.uk/
HEART is a partnership of 14 local churches in Chichester, who want to play their part in helping some of the most vulnerable people in Chichester.
Each day a team of volunteers provide a hot meal to rough sleepers and homeless people at one of its churches. There are currently there are 56 volunteers from all walks of life who help cook and serve hot meals and talk to those who attend. To find out more and donate email firstname.lastname@example.org or see https://www.heartchichester.church/
The Four Streets Project
Four Streets is a group of dedicated volunteers who provide nightly support including food, drink and other essentials to people sleeping on the streets of Chichester and those who are vulnerably housed. During the pandemic they have also been providing a supper club. Volunteers also signpost people who are sleeping out to local services that can provide further support. To find out more and to donate call 01243 786993 or visit https://www.fourstreetschichester.org.uk/contact/
For more information about the campaign please see www.chichester.gov.uk/makeyourchangecount