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Shoppers asked to buy into new campaign to help people on the streets

23 June 2017

Big Change Rochdale.

A new website is urging visitors to Rochdale town centre to donate online instead of giving money to people on the streets.

The aim of the site, Big change Rochdale, is to encourage people to donate either their time or cash to local charities, rather than giving directly to people asking for money.

'The money will be helping people on the streets in really practical ways': Denis Skelton, Petrus

The move, which has been spearheaded by Rochdale Town Centre Management with support from the council, the police and local charities, is designed to support people who are sleeping rough in Rochdale at the moment, and others who beg in the town centre.

Denis Skelton, from Petrus, one of the charities involved in the scheme, said: "The launch of this new site is really exciting because it offers people the chance to do something really positive, which will make a big difference in their community.

"These online donations will help us give people even more help with jobs and training, counselling and advice with benefits, as well as clothing and food and help with housing. They will also help us run our supported housing scheme for vulnerable women in central Rochdale.

"People who donate can be sure that their money will be going straight to those who need it and helping them in really practical ways."

The website also gives people information on practical ways they can support local charities, like Petrus, Stepping Stone Projects and the Sanctuary Trust.

Mark Foxley, from Rochdale Town Centre Management , said: "We're proud to have a lot of very compassionate people here in Rochdale who want to help but sometimes giving money directly can make things worse.

"This new site could help change their lives for the better and it would be great to see the people of Rochdale get behind it."

'New website builds on the many services already available for homeless people in the borough'

The new website is designed to build on the work already been done by the council and partner organisations, which includes funding emergency overnight accommodation, helping people address the  issues which lead to them being on the streets, as well as commissioning specialist accommodation for people with complex needs.

The council also works with local churches, the Council of Mosques and local voluntary groups, including Feeding Rochdale Homeless and Soup Kitchen, to find a way of engaging with people who are in need.

Councillor Shaun O'Neill, Chair of the Rochdale Township, said: "We have some people on our streets who are vulnerable and in need of support, but giving money to them directly isn't a good idea. The charities are the best people to help them build a life away from the streets and by giving via this website, you can help them do just that."

The campaign launch comes ahead of the introduction of a public space protection order, which aims to reduce anti-social behaviour in Rochdale town centre.

The new website is at Big change Rochdale