Launch of Bedford’s first ‘Tap to Donate’ machine to support the town’s homeless

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Tap and donate homelessness
The machine enables contactless card donations

Bedford’s first Tap to Donate machine will open for business later this month, allowing the general public to make a direct contactless card donation to support the town’s homeless.

The donation machine will launch at the end of November in the front window of the IMPAKT store in the Old Arcade off Bedford High Street. It will be available to use whenever the Arcade is open to the public, from 8.30am – 7pm on Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 11.00am – 4pm.

It will enable members of the public to give a sum of £3 per tap to Bedford’s Real Change Fund, an emergency pot of money, hosted on the Bedford Homeless Partnership JustGiving page.

BedfordBID and The Mayors Community Chest Fund are funding the design and installation of the machine so every single penny donated by the public will go to the Real Change Fund.

These funds will be used by charity members of the Bedford Homeless Partnership to support them and homeless people.

Up to £1,000 can be awarded for each request and money can go towards buying everyday necessities like sleeping bags, food, clothing and paying for services to support those homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Homelessness in Bedford

  • On 30 June 2021 there were 845 homelessness applications open with the Council, all requiring varying degrees of assistance
  • Overall 557 people were placed in temporary accommodation during 2020/2021, up from 390 in 2019/2020. There is a huge increase in people needing help during the last 12 months, largely due to the pandemic
  • Unaffordable private rents, relationship breakdowns and domestic abuse cases are just a few of the most common reasons why people end up homeless.
  • During March and December 2020, during the initial lockdown periods of the covid pandemic, 271 people were supported by charity Smart CJS with temporary accommodation during this period in Bedford as part of the Everyone In Initiative.
  • In 2018, Bedford had the 8th highest number of rough sleepers in the whole of England (per population size)

Bedford Homeless Partnership is made up of 10 organisations and was set up four years ago. To be a member of the Bedford Homeless Partnership your service needs to be related to homelessness and delivered within Bedford Borough. The partnership is funded by The Harpur Trust and administrated by CVS Bedfordshire.

“The collaboration between local organisations demonstrates that we are using all available resources to deliver services that meet as many needs as possible for our clients,” said Angela Foll, chair of Bedford Homeless Partnership.

“We hope that by introducing the Tap to Donate machine this will increase the funds for our charities to help run their much-needed services whilst promoting awareness about our partnership and the charities who operate within it.”

Updated at 12:21 on 29.11.21 to reflect that the Arcade is not open 24 hours a day.

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