New way of 'tapping' into raising cash for homeless charities

Picture of team helping the homeless

Helping homeless: The Outreach Team - Credit: Submitted

A new fund-raising initiative to help the homeless in North Devon has topped the £1,000 mark. 

‘Tap for North Devon’ was launched a few weeks before Christmas in Barnstaple. 

The North Devon and Torridge Community Safety Partnership, assisted by One Northern Devon, sought funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Towns project for two ‘Tap for North Devon’ pay points which were installed in Barnstaple town centre.   

They allow shoppers to easily tap their contactless payment cards or mobile phones to donate £3 to North Devon’s local homeless charities Encompass South West and The Freedom Community Alliance.  

These charities work in partnership with the Enhanced Rough Sleeper Outreach Team which includes a Housing specialist, a Community Psychiatric Nurse, Physical Health Nurse, GP, Drug and Alcohol Specialist and a Navigator.   

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The success of their partnership approach can be seen by the figures given by Natasha Rowland, Service Lead for Housing Vulnerable Persons, Community Safety and Safeguarding at North Devon District Council, who says: “We currently have five rough sleepers on our streets which is a significant reduction from the 12 we had in November 2020 and we are continuing to support and find longer term solutions for the 16 we have in temporary accommodation to prevent a return to the streets.” 

The majority of the donations were donated through the Christmas period but surprisingly, during the month of January, £225 was raised even though we were in a period of National lockdown.   

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Philip Noall, Chief Executive of Freedom Community Alliance said: “For this sum to have been generated during a national lockdown is quite remarkable.” 

Claire Fisher, Chief Officer of Encompass said: “The donations Encompass receive allow us to continue delivering trauma informed support and to find sustainable housing solutions to stop people from entering the revolving door of homelessness.  This winter we have been able to provide a home and support to 11 people who were rough sleeping across Northern Devon in our specialist accommodation.” 

The Tap points are located in the windows of Boston Tea Party, Tuly Street and Tesco Extra on the High Street. There are plans to install further pay points. 

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