As the cold snap takes a hold and Christmas draws closer, a new initiative has made donating to London’s homeless easier than ever.
You can now give £3 to rough sleepers with a tap of your smartphone or card at one of the 91 locations appearing across the city this winter. TAP London created the contactless points in 2017, working with technology startup GoodBox to develop its idea.
The current donation total stands at £13,419 after just two weeks and 58 out of the proposed 91 points installed so far. TAP has covered all the transaction charges, so 100% of the funds raised will go to the cause. The donations will be split equally between the 22 charities within the London Homeless Charities Group.
Francesca Hodgson, GoodBox’s co-founder, said the success of the campaign so far is due to the number of rough sleepers in London: “Homelessness is something that can resonate with everyone in London. You cannot not notice it, it’s so visible.” A report last month from charity Shelter found that London has 170,000 homeless people.
Hodgson added that the campaign is looking to install the contactless points in other UK cities. “We’ve had demand from councils across the country looking at what we’re doing here in London, asking can we get permanent donations points in [other] cities,” she said.
Initially, the campaign used “boxes” around the necks of rough sleepers, but these were discontinued for safety concerns. Jon Sparkes, chief executive of the homeless charity Crisis, said: "It's dangerous enough to be rough sleeping as it is."
TAP London co-founder Polly Gilbert said that we have to “act quickly” in creating innovative ways to help those in need.
London mayor Sadiq Khan praised the campaign, and recognised the changing nature of how we spend money. “The reality in 2018 is that many of us don't carry cash around, so if we can make it easier for generous Londoners to give by tap-and-go, we should do so.”
“I think it's shameful in one of the richest cities in the world we've got almost 8,000 people sleeping rough,” Khan said.