The founder and CEO of Walsall-based home repairs and improvements business Homeserve – Richard Harpin – has donated a package of aid to help safeguard rough sleepers in Wolverhampton amidst the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
The £12K funds, which come from the FTSE 250 boss’ personal charity and entrepreneurship think tank, The Enterprise Trust, will be directed towards homeless hub and food service the Good Shepherd in Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton where it will be used to help vulnerable individuals find accommodation and potentially training opportunities towards leading a self-sufficient life.
The donation is part of a broader £60K aid package to support homeless services spread across five local authorities across the West Midlands including Walsall via Change Into Action. Each of the five areas will receive £12K.
Richard Harpin said: “Even in more normal times, local authorities are stretched beyond their means and the Coronavirus pandemic, which has inflicted an unprecedented strain on resources, will undoubtedly lead to vulnerable members of society being put at even greater risk.
“Donations are critical to not only offer emergency support now, but influence long-lasting changes so that people can be helped to access permanent housing and support, creating better life opportunities for themselves into the future.”
The Good Shepherd plans to use the cash injection towards its programme of finding accommodation for rough sleepers, many of whom are currently being looked after in emergency accommodation thanks to the City of Wolverhampton Council as part of a government initiative to help during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is just one part of the charity’s work with the Local Authority and many other agencies to provide people on the fringes of society with the support they require to get back on their feet and lead a more fulfilled life.
Tom Hayden, Head of Operations at the Good Shepherd, said: “This is a very generous donation from Richard and the Enterprise Trust, particularly at a time when we are losing out on regular sources of fundraising income due to the current health crisis.
“The money will be used to secure private rented accommodation for rough sleepers currently in emergency accommodation and provide starter packs, kettles, toasters and bedding to make their new house a home.
“With the help of our Housing Support Officer Tina, we have already managed to house four people which is particularly important at a time when people are being encouraged to carry out social distancing and stay at home.
“The donation will also be used as an individual fund to purchase mobile phones, pay for gas and electric and for other essential items.
“The Good Shepherd will work with the 70 people currently in emergency accommodation as well as engaging people who fall into rough sleeping and homelessness during the outbreak.”
The Good Shepherd has helped over 1,000 people during the last 12 months, and the number of people visiting for daily takeout food has risen dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, regularly in excess of 170.
Tom added: “We work with the most vulnerable and marginalised people in the city and are seeing more individuals and families come for support with food at a time when many of our usual sources of fundraising such as events have been badly affected.
“So we just want to say a big thank you for this donation, which will have such a positive impact on the people that we support.”