New way of ensuing your money truly helps homeless in Harrogate

The second contactless tap terminal to help Harrogate's homeless has been launched today.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 3:21 pm
Harrogate District Street Aid - Harrogate Borough Council's Community Safety Officer Helen Richardson, Matt Gibbins, Coun Mike Chambers and Victoria Shopping Centre manager James White

The second Harrogate District Street Aid tap terminal, which is located at Victoria Shopping Centre, complements the first terminal at Marks and Spencers Food Hall, Oxford Street, Harrogate which was launched in October 2019.

Each tap with a bank card donates £3 to Harrogate District Street Aid.

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The Harrogate Borough Council’s project supports homeless people across the Harrogate district by providing financial help to support them turn a corner in their lives.

Since being launched, the project has raised in excess of £14,000 thanks to the generous donations received via the tap terminal and online via: www.harrogatestreetaid.co.uk.

Coun Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing and safer communities, said: "Harrogate District Street Aid is about making a real change to people who find themselves on the street and I am delighted that we have been able to provide a second tap terminal in Harrogate town centre.

"Some people assume that giving a few pounds to a beggar is helping them. Sadly, in some instances it may actually keep them on the street.

"Through Harrogate District Street Aid, we can work with our partner organisations to make best use of the money that has been kindly donated, work with homeless people and make a real difference to their lives."

Grants of up to £500 can be applied for to provide specific items to help individuals get off, and stay off, the streets. To date, 16 grants have been awarded.

People applying for grants must be referred by an organisation (voluntary sector or local authority) that has assessed the person’s individual circumstances.

They need to have a history of street sleeping/homelessness and have strong links with the Harrogate district. Funding will not be given for items that may encourage someone back on to the street, such as sleeping bags or tents.

Helen Richardson, Harrogate Borough Council's Community Safety Officer, said: "We had a flurry of applications last week so have awarded our 20th grant which is great news.

It’s not just about raising funds, we’re also trying to educate people re giving a few pounds to someone begging doesn’t make real change to that person.

"There is a lot of support in the Harrogate District for those that find themselves homeless and we are able to offer accommodation to those that will engage.

"Harrogate District Street Aid can make that real change and keep them off the street for good. People in the district are very generous and want to make a difference to those they see on our streets.

"Donating to Harrogate District Street Aid makes real change."

Grants are designed to offer long-term, practical help that will bring about real change for that person. They vary from person to person, examples include education or training courses, clothing for job interviews and health and wellbeing support.

Bev*, who received a Street Aid grant last November 2021 to purchase furniture for her first ever home, said: "The Street Aid grant has helped me with things I needed for myself and my child in our first home, I was struggling because it was all together moving and having a child, but because Street Aid helped it was easier to manage and we have a lovely home."

James White, manager of Victoria Shopping Centre, said: "We are very proud to be supporting Harrogate District Street Aid through the installation of this contactless tap terminal at the centre.

"Community is something we place great importance on here at Victoria Shopping Centre and we are pleased to be helping to support homeless and vulnerable people across the Harrogate district.

"Our shoppers are well known for their compassion for others, so I'm sure this contactless donation station will be a huge success and will help to raise vital funds for an extremely worthy cause."

Further information about Harrogate District Street Aid is available at: www.harrogatestreetaid.co.uk.