Harrogate has a second contactless pay point to allow £3 to be easily donated to charity. It is aimed as an alternate way to donate to the homeless, rather than giving cash to those begging on the streets. The system allows donations to be collected and then distributed in a way where is known benefit. It is located on the railway station side of the shopping centre.
This is the second contactless donation point, and there are plans for more, including in other towns in the district.
The first pay point opened in October 2019 see Contactless payment, Harrogate Street Aid launches
Since being launched, the project has raised in excess of £14,000 thanks to the generous donations received via the tap terminal and online via: www.harrogatestreetaid.co.uk
Grants of up to £500 can be applied for to provide specific items to help individuals get off, and stay off, the streets. To date, 16 grants have been awarded.
Councillor Mike Chambers, Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities, said:
We introduced Street Aid a while ago now, and it has proved to be really helpful to work with our homeless work. Harrogate Borough Council and myself personally, as cabinet member, are really keen that we do all that we can to help homeless people.
Working in partnership with the Harrogate Homeless Project, the first donation point at the M&S in Harrogate as proven to be exceptionally worthwhile. It has given us the opportunity to fund getting people off the street and a better quality of life.
It shows we can get people off the street and give people the support they need.
Fern House has recently opened to give temporary accommodation, but while people are there we work with them to find out what the issues are causing them to be homeless. We then help them or signpost them, moving them onto more permanent accommodation.
The street aid donations allow us to fund things, sometimes only small things, that helps move them forward.
Giving to begging can contribute to keeping people on the street. What we aim to do is to give a hand up rather than a handout and move them onto a better place.
Helen Richardson is a Community Safety Officer said:
I would like to thank the Victoria Centre in Harrogate for hosting our second terminal, and we should soon have further terminals in Ripon and Knaresborough.
We have just awarded our 20th grant, and the grants are district wide, which is why we think it will be good to make it Harrogate District Street aid.
We have worked closely with many agencies including North Yorkshire Police, Harrogate Homeless Project, North Yorkshire Horizons, the Housing Options team at Harrogate Borough Council.
We looked at all the existing grants available and could see there was very little around mental health or addiction, so we looked at what we could fund that would support these people to get them off the street. That has been things like tools for qualified bricklayer, and a driving licence with a refresher course. That means we can really reach people and help get them off the streets permanently.
People applying for grants must be referred by an organisation (voluntary sector or local authority) that has assessed the person’s individual circumstances. They need to have a history of street sleeping/homelessness and have strong links with the Harrogate district. Funding will not be given for items that may encourage someone back on to the street, such as sleeping bags or tents.
Grants are designed to offer long-term, practical help that will bring about real change for that person. They vary from person to person, examples include education or training courses, clothing for job interviews and health and wellbeing support.
James White, manager of Victoria Shopping Centre, said:
We are very proud to be supporting Harrogate District Street Aid through the installation of this contactless tap terminal at the centre.
Community is something we place great importance on here at Victoria Shopping Centre and we are pleased to be helping to support homeless and vulnerable people across the Harrogate district.
Our shoppers are well known for their compassion for others, so I’m sure this contactless donation station will be a huge success and will help to raise vital funds for an extremely worthy cause.