Published on 23 October 2019
Archived on 23 November 2019
A ground-breaking initiative to enable local communities to make a more positive impact on helping people who are rough sleeping or begging is being launched in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Local charities and agencies working with the homeless and those at risk of being homeless in both towns have joined forces in a campaign called Meaningful Change, which aims to make more of a difference by providing a central focus for the public to pledge support.
The campaign aims to make people more aware of the support services available in their towns, and how they can best help them by donating and volunteering.
Meaningful Change has been made possible with funding from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Stratford and Leamington have worked together over the last year to devise the campaign and then tailor it to the specific needs of their town.
Stratford and Leamington will operate their own campaigns, Meaningful Change Stratford and Meaningful Change Leamington with individual websites providing information and an online platform for donations.
Meaningful Change Stratford: Pictured at the launch of Meaningful Change Stratford are, front, Cllr Sarah Whalley-Hoggins (Stratford District Council and South Warwickshire Community Safety Partnership), seated, Philip Seccombe (Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner), and, from left to right, Shan Smith (Stratforward), Henry Webster (P3 Charity), Sam Slemensek (Stratford District Council Community Safety Team), Cat Jarvis (CGL), Sgt Simon Ryan (Warwickshire Police), Sarah Summers (Stratford Town Council) and Paul Spooner (Spring Housing).
Philip Seccombe, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "People who are homeless are among the most vulnerable people in society, so it is understandable that the public want to help but often they are not sure of the best way to do so. That's why I'm really pleased that the funding I make available to the South Warwickshire Community Safety Partnership is being used to help establish this innovative campaign in Leamington and Stratford.
"Meaningful Change provides an easy platform for people to help support local charities working with people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless so that they get the right help and can avoid falling into the criminal justice system. It will also help the wider community understand the support that is available to tackle homelessness and how they can help through the donation of time, money or items."
The campaign websites list support available including housing services, rehabilitation, food, emergency shelter, advice and training.
Money donated will be used to fund the support and services needed to help those rough sleeping or begging to make long term, meaningful change in their lives.
Cllr Sarah Whalley-Hoggins, Community Portfolio from Stratford District Council and South Warwickshire Community Safety partnership Chair, said: "When the public see someone on the street, it's natural to want to help. The Meaningful Change campaign brings together the many ways in which the public can help in one place, making it easier for them to help and to make a real change for the long term lives of those that find themselves homeless and living on the streets.
"The Meaningful Change website provides information about rough sleeping and begging, together with the organisations and charities providing support in Stratford and the different ways in which people can help to make a 'meaningful change' and change lives for the better for the longer term.
"It's been a long time in the making, bringing all these organisations and charities together and I would like to thank all those involved in the campaign and for the funding provided by the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner to make this all happen.
For more information, including a full list of charities and statutory support agencies involved in both Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa, visit Meaningful Change: www.meaningfulchange.org.uk/ and select the town of your choice.
Also look out for the hashtag #MeaningfulChangeSOA on social media sites.
The Meaningful Change project will also work closely with the new Fred Winter Centre (Stratford Housing Plus) when opened, to ensure that all services to support homeless people are joined up and provide the best possible opportunities for those in need.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575