Rochdale communities coming together to tackle homelessness through Real Change Rochdale

A housing association, a college and a charity have been demonstrating Rochdale's generosity and cooperative spirit by fundraising for the Real Change Rochdale fund to tackle homelessness.

Together, they've raised over £2,000 to kick start the Real Change Rochdale fund, which launched in January to provide direct support to people who are homeless.

The fund uses donations to cover the sometimes small costs for things like ID, deposits or travel that too often prevent people getting off the streets or lead to them losing their home. The money is given out by local charities such as Sanctuary Trust, Brentwood Day Centre or the Bond Board so it is there for people at the point when they need it most and it can make the biggest impact.

One of the people who has been supported already is John, who had just moved into a house after time rough sleeping and in a hostel. However, it was in a new area, away from all his friends, and was freezing cold as he had no money for heating. "I felt like posting my keys and getting off!", John said, "and if it wasn't for Real Change I don't know what I'd do."

The fund paid for money to go on his gas meter during a cold snap, so that John felt at home in his house and didn't go back to the streets.

To continue making a 'real change' for people like John, housing association Riverside, who manage many of the properties on the Langley Estate in Middleton, have donated £1,000. Their staff and residents in Langley have also been helping raise extra cash and awareness through a raffle and other activities around the estate.

Meanwhile, Rochdale Sixth Form College (RSFC) students have been showing their social consciences and entrepreneurial instincts by putting on a sweet sale, arranging collections in the college, and gearing up to run the Manchester 10k in May. This is all part of the college's brand-new Social Development Programme giving students the opportunity to learn skills while having a positive impact on local issues they care about. They've raised nearly £450 already and have big plans for future events.

For their part, Sanctuary Trust are an example of how else Rochdale people have been raising money to make a real change to homelessness.

Support workers at the charity which runs a range of support services for people who are homeless, arranged a 'March for Real Change' from one end of the borough to the other. With sponsorship still coming in, they've all raised over £600 from friends and colleagues, and every penny will make a big difference to people who are homeless or at risk.

Riverside, RSFC and Sanctuary Trust are not the only people fundraising for Real Change and there are many ways people can get involved.

The fund has been set up so that people who are worried about homelessness in the area can donate to one big pot and make a bigger difference, so if you would like to do a fundraising event, make a donation from your business or have your own idea on how to make a real change, go to the Real Change Rochdale web site to find out more:


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Verse of the Day

Sanctuary Trust works with homelessness and homeless related poverty and emergency homeless issues. God's Sanctuary was the vision of Sheila Halsall after seeing the level of homelessness Rochdale and later the homelessness Conwy and the substance misuse such as Drugs and Alcohol. By Providing emergency shelter for the homeless in supported housing services funded mainly through Supporting People we assist other providers such as Shelter homelessness, Petrus and Stepping Stones who are also supporting people through women's and men's hostels and floating support. We also have STEP Emergency overnight provision. With our work in Wales we partner with Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) as they provide financial help for homeless through emergency shelter and their Supporting People funds. There are different kinds of accommodation available but what is needed is good quality supported accommodation with a strong business and development plan. We have also provided consultancy service to help others move closer to an answer to homelessness. Our social enterprise company, Sanctuary Trust Enterprises runs Noah's Ark Play Centre, The Storehouse Charity Shop.