Change into Action launches in Walsall



Walsall Council has launched an alternative giving scheme which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) approach of asking the public to make targeted donations to help the region’s rough sleepers.

Change into Action supports this vulnerable group of people by calling on the expertise of existing services and charities in the borough. As they are already working with people on the street and have local knowledge they are able to support them in the most appropriate and sustained way.

WMCA is behind the new giving website in Walsall, which is administered by local charity One Walsall.

Change into Action launches in Walsall

Walsall Council has launched an alternative giving scheme which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) approach of asking the public to make targeted donations to help the region’s rough sleepers.

Change into Action supports this vulnerable group of people by calling on the expertise of existing services and charities in the borough. As they are already working with people on the street and have local knowledge they are able to support them in the most appropriate and sustained way.

WMCA is behind the new giving website in Walsall, which is administered by local charity One Walsall.

If you are concerned that someone is at risk, the scheme also operates an information platform called ‘Streetlink’ - whereby rough sleeping can be reported to specialist outreach workers who will offer them support.

Three equivalent WMCA schemes were launched recently in Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The only way we are going to be able to ‘design out’ homelessness – the aim of the West Midlands Homelessness Task Force – is by facing up to our moral responsibility and working collaboratively.

“With that in mind I am pleased that Walsall Council has become the latest authority to work with the West Midlands Combined Authority and adopt the Change into Action scheme. The scheme represents an alternative way to give, with people knowing that their donation will really make a difference to the lives of those who are sleeping rough or who are at risk of doing so.

“The battle to end homelessness has been incredibly difficult, but it feels like we are finally making progress. Change into Action has played a positive part in this, and I am delighted that Walsall has followed in the footsteps of Birmingham, Coventry, and Solihull.”

Agencies working on behalf of rough sleepers will also be able to apply for funding, which could provide such things as new clothing and training for jobs.
Local homelessness agencies, businesses and Walsall council have given their backing to this new approach.

Councillor Adrian Andrew portfolio holder for and deputy leader of Walsall Council said: “When people see rough sleepers they understandably want to help. Change into Action is an alternative giving scheme that means your donations go to the local charities and street teams who understand the issues and wider complexities behind it.
“Donations made via One Walsall will be going to the right place and can support these vulnerable people in the longer-term. This means helping them in a co-ordinated way to find safe temporary and overnight accommodation, access to healthcare, clothing and eventually training that could lead to a job. It is this structured approach that can help them on their feet and back into the community.”

Walsall Council is already working well with a range of specialist partners and housing associations. The generous support of the people of Walsall will make a real difference to developing this work further. It builds on the work of council outreach teams, and a multi -agency approach, that has seen rough sleeping in Walsall fall by over 75% since 2016.

This work has been recognised by central government, it recently awarded the Council over half a million pounds to continue these services, which was the highest award per person in the West Midlands.

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