The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has thrown his weight behind a campaign in Rochdale which is helping to get people off the streets.
Real Change Rochdale encourages people to donate money online, which can then be accessed to help homeless people with practical items, like flat deposits or clothes for a job interview.
Andy found out more about the campaign during a recent visit to Rochdale.
He said: “Campaigns like Real Change are a crucial part of the support we are trying to put in place to prevent and tackle homelessness across Greater Manchester.
“Its strength is that it offers direct and immediate support for practical things like bus tickets and clothing for a job interview. Just that little bit of support can be crucial to help get people out of homelessness. I would love to see people get behind Real Change. It will make a big difference to a lot of people in Rochdale borough.”
All cash donated to Real Change Rochdale is held in a central pot, which is administered by local homelessness charities.
Local organisations which work directly with the homeless can then apply for funds when needed.
Over £4,000 has already been generated for Real Change Rochdale, with recent fund-raising efforts by Brownhill Learning Community and Rochdale Sixth Form College boosting the coffers by more than £1,200.
The cash has already helped a local pensioner who risked losing his home of 30 years when changes to his personal circumstances caused him to run up some rent arrears. He was also referred to the council’s adult care team to give him on-going support.
The money has also helped a former homeless person get themselves properly established in a new home by giving them money to top up their electric meter.
Councillor Linda Robinson, who sits on the Joint Homelessness Forum, said: “I know that people really want to support the homeless and this is a really easy, practical way that they can help. Around 95 per cent of the cash raised goes directly to helping homeless people and it’s only used to support people in our borough. The other 5 per cent goes to maintaining the website, which people donate through.
“I’m really pleased that we have Andy’s backing and you could see that he was impressed with what this brilliant initiative is already achieving in our borough. He was also very proud, as was I, of the local young people from the Sixth Form College and Brownhill Learning Community, who have raised money through their own efforts to help push this important project even further forward.”
Chels Lester, from Rochdale Sixth Form College, Middle: Brownhill pupil, Sam Barlow, Sixth Form College Principal, Richard Ronskley and bottom: Andy Burnham, Brownhill pupils, Peter Bradbury and Aaron Wilkie
Rochdale Sixth Form College Principal, Richard Ronskley, said: “Real Change Rochdale has had such a powerful and positive impact in the borough. It improves vulnerable peoples’ lives everyday. I’m proud that RSFC and its students support and work with Real Change. I look forward to building on our relationship to help Real Change continue to transform people’s lives.”
Andy King, from Brownhill Learning Community, said: “We really enjoyed meeting Andy Burnham. He was great with the students and took the time to answer their questions about homelessness. The students really understood the importance of raising money and the practical difference it will make.”
The money raised goes towards items like:
- Less than £20: Bus tickets to key appointments, phone credit so people can keep in touch with support workers helping in their recovery
- £20-100: Education or training courses, essential household items, clothes for interviews
- Over £100: Deposit or rent, furnishings for a flat, or larger white goods such as a fridge or washing machine
People can donate to Real Change at:
Story credit: https://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/129130/andy-burnham-backs-homelessness-campaign-in-rochdale