The city’s Make Change Count campaign, supporting people who are rough sleeping, is back for 2020.
More than £100,000 has been raised and gone directly to help some of our most vulnerable residents since the campaign began four years ago. This year’s fundraising page is now live.
The campaign is more needed than ever. The global pandemic has had a huge impact on vulnerable rough sleepers. This has been seen here in our city as elsewhere.
Day centres closed and night shelters stopped running to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time, rooms have been found for anyone who is sleeping rough to help them have a safe space to follow the stay at home guidance. The familiarity of friends has been limited by the physical distancing rules.
People need help and support to adapt to living in new ways. Support is vital.
The Make Change Count campaign links local organisations which are experienced in supporting rough sleepers and preventing homelessness.
The participating organisations are: BHT, St Mungo's, Sussex Nightstop, Equinox, Antifreeze, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, YMCA Downslink Group, Umbrella Brighton & Hove and YMCA Brighton.
These organisations, like many in the city, are currently working during the Coronavirus crisis to provide connections into services and help people meet their basic needs.
Teams are out on the frontline as well as providing essential support behind the scenes and gearing up for all that will need to be done when the pandemic is over.
Through Make Change Count, you can help with this essential action by supporting the aims of the campaign which are to:
- Help people who are rough sleeping to access support services available in the city and to move away from the streets for good
- Encourage an alternative option to giving directly to individuals on the street. You can donate to Make Change Count online today.
- Let Streetlink know if you see anyone in need living on the streets so tailored help can be offered
Alison Marino, executive director of Sussex Nightstop, explained why Make Change Count is important right now: “We need to make sure we do all we can so no one feels they have to return to the streets when the coronavirus crisis is over. Helping people away from rough sleeping takes time and compassion.
“At the same time, our organisations are anticipating a drop in fundraising because many of our events and activities have had to stop to prevent the spread of the virus.
“But the need for our services hasn’t gone away. We are also doing all we can to prepare for when we’ll be needed most when restrictions are lifted.”
Chas Walker, chief executive officer from YMCA DownsLink Group, added: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with other local charities on the Make Change Count campaign again.
“As a charity that tackles the issues of youth homelessness, through a range of services, from our Youth Advice Centres (YMCA YAC) to our supported housing projects in the city, we understand the complexity of homelessness.
“It is only by working together that we can tackle the issues and combat the rise in homelessness. Our aim is a future in which every young person has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
We know that the best chance for a homeless person to get off the streets and stay off the streets is with professional help. Making sure help reaches homeless people is far more effective than giving money to people directly. Make Change Count is a way for you to make that happen.
Councillor Gill Williams, chair of housing committee, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all the organisations who help our vulnerable residents and to everyone who supports their work.
“The Make Change Count campaign makes a positive difference for so many people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s great that all money donated to the campaign goes directly to people in need in our city.
"Contributions are used to provide food, access to shower facilities, healthcare, clothing and a wide range of practical help based on individual needs. This can be life-changing and lifesaving.”
- No funds raised are used for administration of the charities or the campaign. If £5 is donated, then £5 will go to people in need.
- The campaign is supported by Brighton & Hove City Council, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner and Sussex Police.
- If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use the Streetlink website to send an alert. The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support (www.streetlink.org.uk or 0300 500 0914). Outreach workers are experienced in supporting people to move away from the streets.