MORE than 140 rough sleepers, people battling addiction or mental health issues and those at risk of losing their homes have been supported through £10,000 of grants awarded through the Change For Good campaign.
The campaign is run by the Homelessness Partnership for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, made up of charities and community groups, businesses and public sector organisations such as BCP Council and supported by Dorset Community Foundation.
Grants are awarded by the community foundation, which has just published a report into the impact of £10,250 worth of grants made over the past two years to 20 charities in the partnership.
Grant recipients have reported back on their work, which has included connecting 19 beneficiaries who are rough sleeping or in emergency accommodation with housing workers and helping them find somewhere more permanent to stay.
A total of 48 people dealing with addiction issues and either rough sleeping or in supported accommodation received help to increase the likelihood of remaining abstinent, with housing support where needed leading to temporary or supported accommodation.
Another 56 people living in temporary housing or supported accommodation were supported with mental health issues so that they could stay where they were living, build confidence, begin work, and move to independent housing.
A £500 grant to Helping Homeless Veterans in Poole last July meant it could help two veterans suffering mental health issues whose relationships had broken down settle into new homes. One told the group: “I honestly thought I would spend forever in my car and you have now given me the courage to face up to my own issues and I can now deal with these from the comfort of my own home. I will forever be grateful.”
I honestly thought I would spend forever in my car and you have now given me the courage to face up to my own issues
Bournemouth Christians Alongside Rough Sleepers used a £550 grant to buy mobile phones and power banks so rough sleepers could keep in touch with housing providers and support workers. “They have enabled clients to be in contact with us, the council, St Mungos, housing providers or health professionals and be housed or rehoused,” said support worker Claire Holly.
Bournemouth YMCA used a £500 to buy a fridge and washing machine for one ex-offender who had been sleeping rough after being released from prison. The YMCA helped him beat his drug addiction and start again. He told the group: “I came in here broken, starving and cold. I had my struggles to begin with and then one day I decided to ask for help I’ve now moved out into my own place and I’m doing well.
“You can come into here and resist the help and continue to go down the hole of addiction and struggle. Or you can ask for help and succeed. Bournemouth YMCA saved my life and saved me from me.”
Donations to the campaign can be made here or through giving points across Bournemouth and Poole town centres where local people can simply tap a payment card at a designated donation point to be able to make a set donation of £3.
Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “We are proud to be part of this partnership and delighted to see the impact being made by the brilliant groups it has been funding.
“There is no doubt the current cost of living crisis will drive more people into poverty and put more at risk of homelessness so it is more important than ever to support this campaign.”
Read the full Change For Good impact here.
Pictured above: Bournemouth Christians Alongside Rough Sleepers were one of 20 charities in the BCP area to receive a Change For Good grant