New Fresh Start Initiative Launched In Eastbourne

A new initiative that addresses homelessness through positive giving was launched earlier this month in the town.

PRG was proud to support Your Eastbourne BID with the “Fresh Start” initiative which collects donations from the public and gives grants to local charities working with the street community.

This alternative giving model encourages local people to help deal with the root causes of the issue rather than giving directly to those begging on the street. Initiatives like this have already made a positive difference to people living on the streets in other cities across the UK such as Bristol, Cambridge and Bath.

The first donation station was unveiled at the Clock House on Cornfield Road, with others planned in prominent businesses across the town centre.

Help give someone a fresh start

It is really easy to support the initiative. Simply tap your debit or credit card on a payment window to donate £3. Every penny raised will be collected and distributed to charities working with street homeless people via grants once per quarter.

Luke Johnson, BID Operations Manager and Director of the CIC, said, “We have spent over a year investigating different models for positive giving, and visited Bristol to see for ourselves the work it has done. In that city, over 744 individuals have been supported through grant funding since it was launched in 2019 and their CIC raises, on average, £25,000 per year – funds which are distributed to help tackle street homelessness.”

Stephen Lloyd, former MP for Eastbourne, has agreed to be the independent Chair of the grants panel once funding is received.

“When I was the MP, I saw for myself the devastation caused by homelessness,” said Stephen. “I also worked closely with many of the excellent local groups that tackle it on the front line, which is why I’ve accepted the role of voluntary independent chair. I look forward to reviewing applications for grant funding from them later in the Summer.”

So far, the initiative has been given the full support of other businesses and homelessness charities in the town.

Roland Brown, CEO of the Kingdom Way Trust, which runs a weekend drop-in for the homeless community, said, “I fully support this scheme and its objectives. I know that Fresh Start does not look to compete for funding that may be available but instead wants to help support groups such as us by providing additional funds from members of the public.”

Shoes Simes, Chair of Your Eastbourne BID, said, “We know how the cost of living is having an impact, and this model will positively support the many brilliant local charities who work with the street community. It will provide targeted and productive help to homeless people, whilst stopping those who seek to take advantage.”

We think it is an excellent idea and hope it will appeal to the kindness of Eastbourne folk so we can collectively tackle homelessness in our town.

Find out more about the initiative at: freshstarteastbourne.org.

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