Jason Williams, director at Specsavers Newport, comments on a new fundraising initiative at the Austin Friars store that allows customers to make a donation to homeless charities via a contactless pay point.

Homelessness is a prominent issue in Newport, as it is across other locations in Wales and the UK, and something we sadly see first-hand being located in the heart of the city on Austin Friars. Homeless people are undoubtedly vulnerable members of our community – a community our business seeks to support whenever and however we can, beyond our primary services of optical and audiology care.

Inspiring charity work

When we hear about the inspiring work that local charities do to tackle the issue of homelessness, we can’t help but feel compelled to help. Therefore, when two homelessness charities, The Wallich and Eden Gate, asked whether we would be a host for their contactless donation point, we were delighted to partner with them for the initiative.

Latest figures from the Welsh Government suggest rough sleeping is up 30 per cent in just one year in Wales, and The Wallich has reported a 25 per cent increase in rough sleepers in Newport when compared to last year.

Our new donation point, located on our shop window and in two other businesses’ windows across the city, allows shoppers to donate £3 to a homelessness fund, either via contactless payment or by using a smartphone. Called ‘Street SupPORT’, it has been established to encourage donations to help fund all-important support services, including The Wallich’s daytime drop-in centre and Eden Gate’s winter night shelter.

In addition to helping fund services, it is hoped Street SupPORT will help engage members of the community about homelessness and encourage them to take action.

Helping the homeless

This is not the first time we’ve extended our help to the homeless in our community; we’ve also visited a community church to provide eye tests for those in need. However, we really hope that this latest scheme makes a material difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community, and we’re proud to be associated with it. If you’d like to show your support, you can donate through the donation point at our store until the end of September 2018.

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