Published on: 3 February 2020

Helping end homelessness in Bath

Technology is helping the homeless as our branch in Bath encourages customers to donate via a smart window poster when they visit the cash machine. The novel way of raising money, made possible by embedded contactless technology, forms part of an innovative partnership to end homelessness for good in Bath, Somerset.

We hope the initiative will make it easier for people to donate money and help instil confidence in people who feel uncomfortable giving cash directly to homeless people when using a cash machine. While the default payment is set at £3, people can tap multiple times should they wish to give more. So far, the innovative trial has raised £100 a day.

The ‘Good Start Tap to Donate’ scheme, which is managed by local homeless charity Julian House, was developed by us alongside Bath Business Improvement District. All money raised will go towards the Julian House Good Start fund (opens in a new window), which will help improve and eradicate homelessness in Bath and North East Somerset.

Putting the device next to the cash machine at the Union Street branch – an area where homeless people frequent – should maximise donations due to footfall and awareness.

Contactless donations

As a payment method, contactless usage continues to rapidly rise. During 2018, the number of contactless payments made in the UK increased by 31% to 7.4 billion payments, according to UK Finance (opens in a new window). Other charities and not-for-profit organisations, including The Big Issue, have also recently turned to contactless payments as a way of securing revenue.

Stephanie Pritchard, Branch Manager, said:

‘At a time when many people don't have spare change or may not wish to hand it directly to someone who is homeless, having a contactless point in the window of the branch has bridged the gap. As a branch we are very much here for the community. This novel way of raising money for a fantastic cause is a great example of how technology is playing a role in helping society, one tap at a time.’

Allison Herbert, Chief Executive of Bath Business Improvement District (BID), is pleased to see the launch and said:

‘Many businesses express concern at the level of rough sleeping in the city centre, and Good Start will be an additional way for people to help tackle one of our most pressing issues.’

Roanne Wootten, Operations Director for Julian House, said:

‘Tapping could fund welcome packs, which include toiletries and sanitary products in crisis accommodation, new bedding and essentials when moving into supported housing, a birth certificate, a passport or a driving licence. Fundamentally, it is about the person and what they need to help them to come off the streets – it will be different for everyone.’

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