Whilst pockets of the UK board up abandoned buildings, put spikes on floors and legislation gets debated about fining the homeless, it can sometimes feel like we’re losing this battle with homelessness and humanity.
Liverpool, when it comes to most things, seems to be a slightly different story. Yes, we’re not perfect but we’ve got a big heart and that can be seen in the daily stories of people doing their bit to help. From cafes giving the homeless a place to go on Christmas and a free meal to a group of wonderful people leaving scarves and heartfelt messages around the city, it is important to not forget the hero’s amongst the disarray. There is good news out there, you just have to look for it.
This brings us nicely on to a new initiative that has just launched which aims 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.
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.”
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.
photo by Mike Brits
David Carter, chief executive of The Whitechapel Centre, said:
“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.”
Hopefully this will just be the start in a domino effect on the homeless situation in Liverpool. Will we ever eradicate it? Probably not but we can challenge the stigma and attitudes surrounding it and challenge all the misconceptions. If there’s anything worth fighting for, it is that we will do so together as together there is nothing we cannot conquer. So dig deep, put your hands in to your pockets and search for the spare change as those pennies that don’t mean much to you, could mean everything to someone else.
Find out more about the campaign here.