Rough sleepers helped by local business generosity

The city’s alternative giving campaign helping people who are rough sleeping has been given a boost by local businesses during lockdown.

The Make Change Count campaign links local organisations experienced in supporting rough sleepers and preventing homelessness to help vulnerable people in Brighton & Hove. 

Helping vulnerable people

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.

All donations to the campaign are split equally between the participating organisations: BHT, St Mungo's, Sussex Nightstop, Equinox, Antifreeze, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, YMCA Downslink Group, Umbrella Brighton & Hove and YMCA Brighton

Lockdown has put pressure on charities as need for their services has remained high while fundraising events have been cancelled during the pandemic.

Welcome support

The separate approaches by two local ventures has been extremely welcome during these turbulent times. 

The Make Change Count organisations are very grateful for the generous support from BrightLocal and United We Stream


BrightLocal, an SEO software and services provider specialising in local-SEO, has donated more than £5,000 to Make Change Count in the last month. 

Myles Anderson, chief executive officer of BrightLocal, said: “We are really delighted to be able to support this campaign and the charities involved at such a critical time. 

“Many of our team either grew up in Brighton, or came to study here and never left because they love the close-knit community in the city. 

“The growing numbers of rough sleepers are part of that community and we want to do our bit to help them combat the myriad challenges they face.”

United We Stream

Brighton’s United We Stream is a voluntary project showcasing the music and culture of Brighton & Hove to viewers at home while live performances can’t take place due to the pandemic. United We Stream Brighton is free with voluntary donations welcomed. The proceeds from donations are used to support venues and cultural organisations across Brighton & Hove as well as local charities. 

United We Stream has chosen Make Change Count to receive 17 per cent of its donations. Make Change Count is one of three local charities chosen for support from United We Stream. Local charities Grassroots and Audio Active will also receive donations. 

Nikki McNeill, United We Stream Brighton co-ordinator said: “We wanted to support make change count as it supports a number of different local charities who are working together to help some of the most vulnerable people in our city to stay safe and move on from homelessness.  We felt this was the best way for money raised to reach the people who really needed it most."


Councillor Siriol Hugh-Jones, joint chair of housing committee, expressed gratitude on behalf of all the participating Make Change Count organisations for the help from United We Stream and BrightLocal. 

Councillor Hugh-Jones said: “This generous and compassionate support during a time of global uncertainty will directly help our most vulnerable residents. 

“Given how badly the arts sector and small businesses have been affected by the lockdown, United We Stream’s and BrightLocal’s commitment to help in this way is nothing short of inspirational.

“We know the best chance for a homeless person to get off the streets and stay off the streets is with professional help. 

“No funds raised are used for administration of the charities or the campaign. All of the generous donations from United We Stream and BrightLocal will be used directly to help people in need from all ages and backgrounds.

“Make Change Count is more essential than ever. The global pandemic has had a huge impact on vulnerable rough sleepers. This has been seen here in our city as elsewhere.” 

Essential work

The Make Change Count organisations 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. 

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.

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.

The aims of the campaign are:

  1. Help people who are rough sleeping to access support services available in the city and to move away from the streets for good
  2. Encourage an alternative option to giving directly to individuals on the street by donating to Make Change Count
  3. 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 as restrictions are lifted.”

You can find out more on this year’s fundraising page.