Rough sleepers in Dorset are being helped to find and keep a home thanks to a partnership of charities which is funding a number of local organisations.
The Homelessness Partnership, supported by BCP Council, Bournemouth BID and Dorset Community Foundation has so far awarded more than £8,000 since 2019 to grass roots groups in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole who are supporting rough sleepers into accommodation.
Among the recipients is Bournemouth Christians Alongside Rough Sleepers, which has been given four grants worth more than £1,500 for a variety of measures to help people on the streets and moving into housing.
The group, made up of 25 churches across the area, have used £830 to buy mobile phones, charging banks and a laptop for guests who come to community meals sessions at churches.
Support worker Claire Holly said: “This will enable homeless people, who suffer from digital exclusion, access to technology to help resolve issues that they encounter and need technology to resolve, and keep in contact with organisations, friends and family who can support them.
“It will also help them to get to know us and trust us, and then ask us for help.”
The group has also used the grants to buy larder boxes of food for people moving into housing and buy sports equipment for activity get-togethers.
Bournemouth YMCA was awarded £500 to help a former rough sleeper and ex-offender with addiction issues move into his own home.
Luke Hancock said the grant had paid for a cooker, fridge freezer and washing machine, as well as a sofa bed for when his children came to stay.
Helping Homeless Veterans UK also used a £500 grant to buy white goods and TVs for veterans moving into their own homes.
CEO David Wood said giving them a cooker and a washer is particularly important in helping them establish their independence.
“Having the necessary items can encourage them to learn cooking skills at home as well as basic hygiene by washing their own clothes,” he said.
Safe and Sound Dorset is using a £1,000 grant to help women who have been through traumatic experiences and have now been rehoused by giving them an outlet for their creativity through gardening. The grant paid for tools, plants, soil, vegetables boxes and seeds.
“The women are often experiencing multiple disadvantage some of which might be homelessness, mental health issues, family breakdown, long term illness, drug and alcohol misuse and these issues may be complicated through other things such as age, disability, race or sexuality,” said manager Dorothy Pickett.
“We have seen how much it encourages others when people can share their enthusiasm through social media and in small groups. It creates camaraderie which also gives a sense of belonging.”
Hope Housing in Bournemouth was awarded £1,000 to run a weekly support group for clients suffering from depression, anxiety and psychiatric issues.
Fundraising manager Nicola Martenstyn said: “Each service user has their own development plan for which this will form a part of. For some, attendance will be a big achievement in itself as they continue to struggle with other factors and regular individual support and group sessions will allow us to monitor changes and support needs together with any improvements.”
Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “We are proud to be a part of this partnership and it is wonderful to see these grants helping the groups to support and encourage people in making such positive changes in their lives.
“We are delighted that our strong links with and knowledge of the voluntary sector led to us being chosen to distribute this money and we look forward to seeing many more people being helped in this way through the generosity of the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.”
Giving points, allowing people to donate £3 contactlessly are being set up around Bournemouth and Poole town centres and there is also a JustGiving page which can be found on the site by searching Change For Good Bournemouth.
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