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World Homeless Day And Guildford’s Scheme That’s Making A Difference

Published on: 9 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 9 Oct, 2020

This Saturday (October 10) marks World Homeless Day, drawing attention to people without a roof over their heads, and to encouraging support and understanding on a local level.

Launched in the summer of 2019, Real Change Guildford is a charity that brings organisations and agencies together, whose aim is that collaboratively they can make a difference to the lives of rough sleepers.

Its main aim is to raise funds that go directly to homeless people in need.

Examples include funding a training course or rental deposit on a home, accessing income and welfare entitlement, to providing a haircut or a new suit for a life-changing job interview.

These are designed to be long-term, sustainable solutions to help them get off the streets and back to life.

Experience Guildford (one of the partner organisations of Real Change Guildford) has released details of what the charity has so far achieved:

£25,000 has been donated from more than 60 individuals, businesses and organisations.

It has actively ended homelessness for 20 people across the borough, finding them a safe and sustainable place to live and putting them back on the path to a life of prospects.

It has processed 35 grants totalling more than £18,000 worth of support, all designed to help rough sleepers move away from homelessness and into homes, employment and fulfilling lives.

More than £14,000 has been granted to support people gain access to accommodation, through the allocation of rent deposits or rents in advance.

Grants allocated range from the smallest contribution of just £35 for a copy of a person’s birth certificate to secure employment, to the largest contribution of £1,284 for a rental deposit and rent advance.

The regional operations manager at Riverside, Guildford, Ketan Patel, said: “This has been a tremendous year for Real Change Guildford and we wholeheartedly thank all those who have so generously donated to the campaign as well as all the partner organisations that help us deliver these life-changing initiatives.

“2020 has bought new challenges to us all, and it goes without saying that this also includes those that live on our streets.

“This uncertainty continues as we approach winter as does the prospect of more individuals falling upon hardship.

“Through Real Change Guildford we can all do our bit to help make a difference and I urge residents, businesses and visitors to our town to continue to donate to our cause, so we can continue to positively help those most in need across our community.”

The organisations that make up Real Change Guildford are: the Number Five HUB night shelter; Catalyst, the drug and alcohol abuse support charity; Riverside with its hostel at Vaughan House, Chertsey Street; Guildford Action with its drop-in and support centre in Haydon Place; Experience Guildford, the town centre’s business improvement district organisation; Guildford Borough Council’s housing advice service; the Homeless Outreach and Support Team (HOST, commissioned by the borough council); Mulberry House, supported housing service; Surrey County Council’s adult social care service; Surrey and Borders NHS Partnership’s Community and Mental Health Recovery Service and its drug and alcohol support service I-Access; the Salvation Army, Guildford; Cyrenian House hostel; and Voluntary Action South West Surrey that administers the funds raised.

Click here for more information on Real Change Guildford and how to get involved to make a difference.

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