A charity in Bristol has launched a new way for people in the city to donate to help prevent homelessness while they're out and about.
The contactless tap-to-donate scheme has launched at shops, cafes, and bars in the city centre.
It means that people can donate £3 with an additional tap of their debit or credit card on a nearby paypoint — with the money going to the charities Caring in Bristol and the Quartet Community Foundation, the Guardian reported.
The scheme has been organised by the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), a non-profit that works on making the area better for everyone.
The first three paypoints were launched last week and more will soon be set up at offices and other shops – with plans for handheld donation points to become available too, for businesses that don't have space to host a permanent one.
It isn’t the first tap-to-donate scheme in the country; Tap London was launched by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in 2018 and operates 90 donation paypoints in the UK capital.
In London, the money raised goes to charities working with people sleeping rough in the city, while in Bristol the money will go specifically towards early intervention as well as emergency care.
For example, Caring in Bristol plans to use the extra money to train more volunteers to work with local debt and housing agencies to give additional support for those at risk of becoming homeless.
Organisations will be able to apply for a grant for various reasons from the money raised through Tap for Bristol too. These could be given as emergency personal budgets for people relying on those agencies who are experiencing homelessness or the threat of it, Quartet Community Foundation says.
The ease of making a donation means that is hoped it will be an effective way of raising desperately-needed funds more quickly.
Posters next to the paypoints say that £3 could support someone attending a job interview, while £6 could help fund a meeting between a young person and a support worker, and £9 could go towards a deposit for a room.
Bristol has one of the most acute homelessness problems in the UK. St Mungo's, a charity that supports people experiencing homelessness, had contact with 951 people in Bristol in 2018, it says — a 23% increase on the year before.
Meanwhile, the city’s businesses have been criticised for how they have responded to the crisis, with some taking draconian steps to try and discourage people from sleeping outside. For example, a tanning salon that came under fire after installing anti-homeless sprinklers at its entrance.
Earlier this year, an anonymous member of the public created makeshift gravestones and put them up in places in Bristol where people had died while homeless, helping to raise awareness of just how tragic the situation has become.
Speaking about the new scheme, the director of Caring for Bristol, Ben Richardson said: “We are delighted to be working with Bristol City Centre BID to deliver this innovative scheme for Bristol."
He added: “The more businesses and organisations that host a ‘TAP for Bristol’ point – whether it’s in windows or on contactless devices in shops and café counters – the bigger the difference we can make."