Real Change is a fund-based scheme that uses donations generated by local businesses and the public to assist those most in need, enabling them to make positive changes to their lives. From funding a training course or a deposit for a home to providing a haircut or a new suit for that life-changing interview, Real Change identifies individuals in the borough that can benefit from their assistance, offering a long-term, sustainable solution to rough sleeping.
By donating to Real Change Guildford, individuals and businesses can be sure that their money goes directly to the right people and the right causes, empowering the boroughs homeless to make the necessary changes to their lives through the assistance of partner charities. Individuals wishing to access funds must apply to one of the partner organisations who will then work with them to administer and action their claim. Partner organisations include; Guildford Action, Number Five Project and Catalyst to name just a few.
Commenting on the initiative, Ketan Patel, area manager at Riverside Guildford, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to transform lives and revitalise neighbourhoods said;
“Real Change is a community initiative that is owned by the people of Guildford – it’s here so that we can all make a difference to the lives of the homeless in our area. Real Change works by establishing a passionate local Action Group across the borough to help raise funds and work with local voluntary organisations, or Real Change partners to administer those fund. We can act quickly to change the circumstances of those most in need and deliver positive solutions to enable our homeless break the cycle of rough sleeping and make the necessary step changes to start a new life.”
CEO of Experience Guildford, Amanda Masters, who is responsible for galvanising support from local businesses to help deliver the program and raise funds adds;
“We can all make a positive change to our community and the individuals who have found themselves with no option but to live on our streets. If we all join together we can help alleviate this problem, and I urge our business community to get involved. We’re actively looking for Action Group members to help raise funds and deliver the campaigns support. We urge all businesses to help us spread the word and gain real momentum in our town for this worthy cause, and together we can all make small changes that will make a massive difference to the lives of those most vulnerable.”
Caroline Reeves, Leader of Guildford Borough Council and Lead Councillor for Sustainable Transport, Transformation and Regeneration, Economic Development, Asset Management and Governance continues;
“I live in Guildford and as a frequent visitor I get to see the amazing breadth of help and support that is given to very vulnerable people. To be able to support with more than words and physical comfort can be a life-changing moment for some, whether it’s the fare to get to an interview, the clothes needed for an interview, a new pair of boots to keep feet dry, a new sim card so that they can contact friends or family to raise their spirits or a new sleeping bag. People in Guildford are extremely generous, whenever we put a call out for help it’s answered one way or another. But with Real Change people can know that their donations will provide exactly what is wanted, where it’s wanted. It won’t get side-tracked into the hands of a dealer, or spent on alcohol, it will provide the very thing that could be the start of transforming an individual’s life. The help will be practical and positive, supported by people who really understand the difficulties faced by rough sleepers.”
Dave Hoole, store manager of Sainsburys in Guildford who have actively embraced the scheme adds;
“The Real Change Guildford campaign is a fantastic initiative for us to help the local community in a positive, sustainable manner. We’re getting behind the initiative as part of the Sainsburys 150th Birthday and our commitment to do 150 days of community work. The end goal for me is to be able to employ an individual involved in the scheme, helping them get off the streets and back into stable employment which will ultimately offer them a more positive prospect for their future.”
For more information on Real Change Guildford and how you can get involved to make a difference, plus to learn more about the full range of partner organisations that are committed to helping the homeless in Guildford, visit www.realchangeguildford.co.uk