Bury Drop In Centre in Bury St Edmunds launches Looking for Change campaign to combat homelessness in West Suffolk
A Bury St Edmunds charity has launched a campaign to help make the most of donations given to homeless people on the street.
Volunteers at the Bury Drop In Centre, which provides hot food and drinks to rough sleepers at Trinity Methodist Church in Brentgovel Street twice a week, are encouraging people to help the homeless by donating directly to them through text or online.
David Bonnett, one of the founders of Bury Drop In, said that giving money to people on the street can sometimes do more harm than good, as it can be spent on harmful substances which can prevent them being placed in accommodation.
He added that some people are not rough sleepers but are ‘taking advantage of the public’s goodwill’.
“People see those less fortunate than themselves and they want to help. The issue, however, is how they help,” he said.
“We are asking the public to make a real change by donating to our charity to support our work in helping genuine rough sleepers sustain a life off the streets.”
The Looking for Change campaign, which was launched on Wednesday, is backed by a number of partners including West Suffolk councils, Ourburystedmunds BID, Suffolk Police and Bury St Edmunds Town Council.
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, West Suffolk councils’ cabinet member for housing, said: “Our aim is to reduce homelessness including rough sleeping.
“In recent months we have taken on more rough sleeper support workers and we’ve expanded the capabilities in our team to include expertise in addiction and mental health.
“We have also invested in securing extra beds so we have enough in place to help the vast majority of the rough sleepers that we presently have.
“We can however only help those who are ready to be helped. That is why the role of the public in how they give is so crucial to helping people off of the streets.”
Money can be donated to Bury Drop In by texting WROO36 £(amount) to 70070 or by visiting www.justgiving.com/burydropin
All donations will help the centre to continue to give support to rough sleepers and help them find accommodation, necessary support, clean clothes, a job and to reconnect with their families if they want to.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, said: “We know that people want to help and that giving has to be simple.
“By supporting Looking for Change we hope that we can make a real difference.”