A PARTNERSHIP of charities, including Dorset Community Foundation, businesses and public sector organisations is helping rough sleepers in Dorset find and keep a home.

The Homelessness Partnership, supported by BCP Council and Bournemouth BID, has so far awarded more than £8,000 since 2019 to groups in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole who are supporting rough sleepers into accommodation.

Among the recipients is Bournemouth Christians Alongside Rough Sleepers, which has been given four grants worth more than £1,500 for a variety of measures to help people on the streets and moving into housing.

The group, made up of 25 churches across the area, have used £830 to buy mobile phones, charging banks and a laptop for guests who come to community meals sessions at churches.

Bournemouth Echo: Staff from Bournemouth Christians Alongside Rough Sleepers, which has been given four grants worth more than £1,500 from the Change For Good fund to help people on the streets and moving into housing

Support worker Claire Holly said: “This will enable homeless people, who suffer from digital exclusion, access to technology to help resolve issues that they encounter and need technology to resolve, and keep in contact with organisations, friends and family who can support them.

“It will also help them to get to know us and trust us, and then ask us for help.”

The group has also used the grants to buy larder boxes of food for people moving into housing and buy sports equipment for activity get-togethers.

Bournemouth YMCA was awarded £500 to help a former rough sleeper and ex-offender with addiction issues move into his own home.

Helping Homeless Veterans UK also used a £500 grant to buy white goods and TVs for veterans moving into their own homes.

CEO David Wood said giving them a cooker and a washer is particularly important in helping them establish their independence.

“Having the necessary items can encourage them to learn cooking skills at home as well as basic hygiene by washing their own clothes,” he said.

“A fridge freezer is a necessity for anyone to keep food fresh and a TV can help combat loneliness.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Safe and Sound Dorset is using a £1,000 grant to help women who have been through traumatic experiences and have now been rehoused by giving them an outlet for their creativity through gardening. The grant paid for tools, plants, soil, vegetables boxes and seeds.

“The women are often experiencing multiple disadvantage some of which might be homelessness, mental health issues, family breakdown, long term illness, drug and alcohol misuse and these issues may be complicated through other things such as age, disability, race or sexuality,” said manager Dorothy Pickett.

“We have seen how much it encourages others when people can share their enthusiasm through social media and in small groups. It creates camaraderie which also gives a sense of belonging.”

Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “We are proud to be a part of this partnership and it is wonderful to see these grants helping the groups to support and encourage people in making such positive changes in their lives.

“We are delighted that our strong links with and knowledge of the voluntary sector led to us being chosen to distribute this money and we look forward to seeing many more people being helped in this way through the generosity of the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.”

Giving points, allowing people to give £3 through contactless donations are being set up around Bournemouth and Poole town centres and a JustGiving page, which was set up to raise funds for the launch of the project, is still live.

To find out more about the project, visit dorsetcommunityfoundation.org.