A contactless donation system to raise money to help prevent homelessness has launched in Bristol - becoming the first of its kind in the UK.
The first TAP for Bristol points allow people to tap their contactless credit or debit card to donate £3, and are available at a number of locations across the city.
This scheme is being delivered by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) working with Caring in Bristol and Quartet Community Foundation.
Locations include Waitrose on Queens Road, 25/27 College Green (the former FOPP store opposite the Green), the café/bar at Bambalan at Colston Tower and TAP points are also being installed at business premises.
The first TAP point opened at Lloyds Banking Group's headquarters at the Lloyds Amphitheatre and the Spectrum building on Bond Street, thanks to property managers Lambert Smith Hampton.
Paul Blake, 47, is currently homeless and living in temporary accommodation. He is originally from Cardiff but has been living in Bristol for more than 27 years. He said: “I think this is a great idea. It's not just people on the streets that are homeless, it's lots of people struggling in homes and flats that need help now too. This is a quick and easy way to help and importantly it can help people before they're on the streets as well.”
Donations will be divided equally between Quartet and Caring in Bristol. Charities, organisations and community groups will be invited to apply to Quartet Community Foundation on behalf of individuals who need support.
Caring in Bristol will use funds for new homeless prevention and early intervention support services for people who are at risk of homelessness. This will include a group of trained volunteers working together with debt and housing advice agencies to provide additional support to those at risk of becoming street homeless.
A single TAP for Bristol donates £3 that can support a person attending a job interview, two TAPS can help fund a one-to-one session with a support worker for someone facing homelessness, and three TAPS can fund an emergency deposit for a room.
The Bristol City Centre BID team are asking businesses and organisations to get in touch to suggest places with high footfall, and TAP for Bristol points will be installed for free within the BID area.
Keith Rundle, operations director at Bristol City Centre BID, said: "TAP for Bristol is a new, quick and easy way to help people experiencing homelessness on the street, or who are at risk of becoming homeless. It's unique in the UK as the only contactless donation system to support homelessness prevention work, as well as funding direct support to individuals.
"The scheme will supplement the wealth of great work already happening in Bristol to tackle homelessness, which is a major concern to our members. We have been very encouraged by the initial response from businesses and organisations and are planning to add more donation points in the coming weeks.
"We're looking for places with high footfall and a public presence, such as bars and cafes or shops, including vacant premises, along with large workplaces and offices, so please get in touch if you're interested in hosting a ‘TAP for Bristol' point.
"People can find themselves facing homelessness for a variety of reasons - such as the end of a private rental tenancy, relationship breakdown, losing a job or getting into debt. Many businesses are concerned at the level of rough sleeping in the city centre and TAP for Bristol presents an additional way for people to help tackle one of central Bristol's most pressing issues."
Ben Richardson, director of Caring in Bristol, added: "Money raised through the new TAP for Bristol initiative will help us to deliver vital services to support people who may be at risk of homelessness, to enable them to stay in their homes or find alternative accommodation and to seek wider opportunities such as training or employment.”
More units are expected to be added across the city centre, with one on Park Street shortly being installed in premises owned by Bristol developer Urban Creation.
Jonathan Brecknell, director and owner of Urban Creation, will be hosting a TAP Point in the window of his building at 76 Park Street. He said: "A lot of people are cynical about giving money to people on the street, or just worried about what it will be used for.
“I'm putting a TAP Point into the front of our building on Park Street because as a business I want to help solve the problem and I know many of the people walking past do too. This way they get to donate money quickly and directly and know that every penny is being spent on supporting people who are homeless in Bristol and importantly, on helping to stop people becoming homeless in the first place."
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