This week, Your Eastbourne BID followed other towns and cities in the UK to launch “Fresh Start”, a CIC which will collect donations from the public to give grants to local charities working with the street community.

This alternative giving model – which encourages local people to help deal with the root causes of the issue rather than giving directly to those begging on the street, has been adopted in cities as diverse as Bristol, Cambridge and Bath.

Members of the public can donate £3 (or more) by simply tapping their credit or debit card on a payment window. Every penny raised will be collected and distributed to charities working with street homeless people via grants once a quarter.

The first donation station was unveiled at the Clock House on Cornfield Road, with others planned in prominent businesses across the town centre.

Luke Johnson, BID Operations Manager and Director of the CIC said “We have spent over a year investigating different models for positive giving, and visited Bristol to see for ourselves the work it has done.”

“In that city, over 744 individuals have been supported through grant funding since it was launched in 2019 and their CIC raises, on average, £25,000 per year – funds which are distributed to help tackle street homelessness.”

Shoes Simes, Chair of Your Eastbourne BID said “We know how the cost of living is having an impact and this model will positively support the many brilliant local charities who work with the street community. It will provide targeted and productive help to homeless people, whilst stopping those who seek to take advantage.”

Stephen Lloyd, former MP for Eastbourne, has agreed to be the independent Chair of the grants panel once funding is received.

Stephen said “When I was the MP, I saw for myself the devastation caused by homelessness. I also worked closely with many of the excellent local groups that tackle it on the front line, which is why I’ve accepted the role of voluntary independent chair. I look forward to reviewing applications for grant funding from them later in the Summer. Eastbourne BID has come up with a brilliant idea which I believe will appeal to the kindness of Eastbourne folk, but also productively help members of the Street Community.”

Roland Brown, CEO of the Kingdom Way Trust, which runs a weekend drop-in for the homeless community said “I fully support this scheme and its objectives. I know that Fresh Start does not look to compete for funding that may be available, but instead wants to help support groups such as us, by providing additional funds from members of the public.”