SUPPORTING homeless people to get them off the streets has just got easier with the launch of the first contactless donation ‘giving’ points in Bournemouth.

The first four contactless giving points are located at Bournemouth Library in The Triangle, the YMCA and Faithworks’ Half Time project in Westover Road, outside the Hope & More charity shop in Southbourne and at the HSBC branch in Bournemouth town centre.

The scheme has been developed by the Homelessness Partnership made up of charities, businesses and public sector organisations from across the conurbation.

All money raised goes to the partnership’s ‘Change for Good’ campaign and is distributed to local charities to provide amenities for rough sleepers.

Bournemouth Echo: People can donate £3 at any of the four donation points in Bournemouth by using the wall mounted contactless card reader

Partnership chairman Alistair Doxat-Purser said: “As Covid-19 restrictions ease and the high streets open up, the partnership is raising the profile of ‘Change for Good’ to give members of the public an alternative way of helping those who are seeking to escape homelessness.

“The four points are just the start. What we are hoping now is that we see these donation points in Poole and Christchurch. We have also got some counter-top points that we want to get into other places.

“We are working with our friends here at HSBC with regards to their Poole site and we have got another place down on the high street, which is interested, so it will probably be September now because of the holidays.

“It is trying to get this view, and I am learning from others, that it is homelessness, not ‘houselessness’.

"Yes, we want people inside and in accommodation, but actually, to be in a home, that is about community, that is about purpose, that is about getting back into life.”

The donation points give people another way to help someone off the streets and prevent rough sleeping locally by simply tapping a payment card to give £3.

Bournemouth Echo: The contactless giving point, developed by the Homelessness Partnership, outside the HSBC branch at Beale Place in Bournemouth

The partnership says it will cover the costs for the first year, so all of the money donated will go into the central pot to be distributed out to those in need.

The group also has a Homelessness Reduction Board that brings leaders together from council, NHS, police, probation, social housing, voluntary and faith groups to ensure activity is joined up and making a difference.

Councillor Hazel Allen, lead member for homelessness and rough sleeping at BCP Council, said: “I think the thing that is really worth mentioning is just the collaboration and the partnership that have been working on this project.

“This is not just one or two individuals. The university has been involved, the Bournemouth BID have contributed money, myself and my council colleague Cllr Mike Greene gave money through our Seals Fund, Alistair from Faithworks is chairing the group, and the communications team at BCP Council have also been great.

Bournemouth Echo: Councillor Hazel Allen, Lead Member for homelessness and rough sleeping at BCP Council making a donation at the contactless giving point outside the HSBC branch at Beale Place

“We have been working on this for over two years and just to see it come to fruition now is just brilliant.

"And the fact that HSBC have partnered with us, it is just the icing on the cake.”

To date more than £10,000 has been raised by donations to the ‘Change for Good’ fund.

HSBC local director Rachel Hill said: “HSBC UK has been supporting vulnerable people in the Dorset area with our No Fixed Address service which helps people experiencing homelessness to open a bank account.

“We’re delighted to also offer customers and the local community the opportunity to support local charities with a donation.

“I look forward to seeing the difference this will make to the most vulnerable in our local community.”