From Loose Change To Real Change

Bill Addy, David Carter and Ann O'Byrne
A NEW initiative has been launched, aiming to show locals, visitors and tourists how their spare change can have big impacts on the lives of people sleeping rough in Liverpool city centre. Working in partnership, Liverpool City Council, The Whitechapel Centre, and The Liverpool BID Company have developed ‘Chang£?’, a campaign to highlight and inform the most effective way of helping rough sleepers, whilst offering a way to support Liverpool’s homeless services. The campaign also seeks to tackle the common misconception that everyone begging or sleeping rough is homeless, and that everyone homeless has to sleep rough. Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: “The Chang£? initiative is all about helping people to think about where their money is going when they give to someone on the streets, and to make informed decisions on how best to support them. “It’s about making people stop and think ‘which pound do I want to spend – the one that might help a single person or the one that will definitely help multiple people?’ It’s also about making that process simpler, through a central fund that is easy to give donations to. “Over the next 12 months, we’ll be connecting with support centres, businesses and Liverpool residents to make a lasting change to the lives of those sleeping on the city streets. I’m really looking forward to seeing the positive change that it’s going to bring about.” Research shows that the average number of rough sleepers seen on any given night in the city centre has risen from an average of around 9 to 15 since 2011, although this figure varies depending upon the night and the time of year. To assist these people the City Council’s No Second Night Out campaign, delivered by The Whitechapel Centre, has been successful in creating a support network to offer solutions that can assist people off the streets. David Carter, chief executive of The Whitechapel Centre, said: “We’re seeing a continued rise in the number of people that come through our doors, so we’re grateful for all the support we can get. It’s important that everyone knows that we’re here, and that there’s no reason people should have to sleep on the streets so long as our doors continue to remain always open. “For the price of a sandwich on the high street – 3 pounds or so – we can provide six hot, nutritious cooked breakfasts for people who’ve spent the night out in the cold. Ten pounds pays for an internet connection for a month, allowing people to contact their families, welfare services and find out about job opportunities. “Chang£? is all about working together in partnership with the people of Liverpool to guide them on how to make the decision when they want to help the homeless. We are not questioning people’s generosity – it’s a characteristic that is quintessentially Liverpool. The aim of Chang£? is to give people the information on how their generosity can do a greater amount of good than they might initially think.” Liverpool City Council has commissioned The Whitechapel Centre to provide round-the-clock support to those sleeping on the streets. Councillor Frank Hont, Liverpool City Council cabinet member for housing, said: “When they see somebody who appears to be in dire straits the inclination of many people is to put their hands in their pockets and give them some money. “While this is very well-intentioned it is not the best way to help those who are on the streets – supporting those services which can help people turn their lives around and provide lasting support is a much better way to help and this new campaign will encourage people to do that.” Chang£? was launched today and brought together key people and organisations in Liverpool to connect and talk about how best to provide tangible support to people sleeping rough. To find out more about Chang£? and learn how you can get involved to make a difference, visit www.changeliverpool.co.uk. For updates on Chang£?, follow @Change_Lpool on Twitter, and head to www.facebook.com/ChangeLiverpool to support the campaign on Facebook.