Positive Change launch (Press)

Three Aldershot charities benefit following Positive Change campaign

Three local charities will benefit from a hundred pounds each, thanks to people donating their loose change to the Positive Change campaign, rather than giving to people begging on the street.

Around £300 has been raised from charity collecting tins and other donations during the six-week campaign.

The campaign, by Rushmoor Borough Council and Safer North Hampshire was launched to tackle antisocial behaviour and begging in Aldershot, by encouraging people to donate to local charities rather than giving cash to people begging.

The ‘Positive Change’ campaign focused on how people could support long-term change for individuals who may have previously been associated with rough sleeping in Aldershot, and who may continue to socialise, drink and potentially commit antisocial behaviour such as begging.

Currently, there are few homeless people sleeping on the streets of Aldershot, but the number of people begging is increasing and a small group also regularly gathers in the town centre, leading to complaints about antisocial behaviour.

The campaign urged people who live, work in or visit Aldershot to make a real difference by donating any loose change to local charities to give individuals the best opportunities to make positive and lasting change in their lives.
All money raised from the campaign will be split between the following three charities:

• Step by Step in Aldershot, which works to empower young people and prevent homelessness. The charity provides accommodation (16-25 years), personal development opportunities and specialist support (11-25 years).

• The Vine Centre in Aldershot, which provides a range of services to disadvantaged members of the community (aged 18+). These services address the immediate physical & mental health needs of clients, as well as their longer-term needs.

• The Society of St James, which manages North Lane Lodge for rough sleepers with complex needs. Clients often have complex issues surrounding homelessness, including addiction and mental health problems.

Councillor Ken Muschamp, Deputy Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, and the chairman of the Safer North Hampshire Partnership, said: “I am delighted that these three very worthy charities will benefit from the money raised during the campaign. I also hope that many more people who have been struggling to secure the right help, will be assisted to make better longer-term choices to move on with their lives.

“On behalf of the Safer North Hampshire Partnership and Rushmoor Borough Council, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who contributed any money or support for this campaign, which will really improve and hopefully change lives for the better.”

Rushmoor Borough Council opened North Lane Lodge, a nine-bed hostel specifically for rough sleepers with complex needs in February last year, and this has greatly helped to reduce the number of street homeless. Also vital in helping to decrease the number of rough sleepers locally has been the Home Group housing association’s Street Outreach team, which has been going out daily to make sure people have access to the specialist support needed to move their lives away from the streets. Temporary bed and breakfast accommodation for vulnerable people in Rushmoor is also available if the temperature drops below freezing for three consecutive nights.

If anyone sees someone sleeping rough, they can report it on the StreetLink website www.streetlink.org.uk, which will come directly through to the council’s housing team.