Do you remember the homeless vending machine in Nottingham at the back end of last year? Set up by Action Hunger, the machine provided 24 hour access to food, clothing and hygiene products for homeless people and sounded a great idea. Unfortunately, however, it didn’t catch on. The council believed it was ‘encouraging’ people to stay on the streets, so that was that. The disappointing backtrack clearly hasn’t discouraged others, though, which is fantastic. A small charity called Gloucester City Mission has now came up with a similar initiative and they’re hoping it will prove a lot more successful.
The vending machine will be stocked with sandwiches, water, underwear, toiletries and sanitary products. Vulnerable people pick up tokens from the George Whitefield Centre in Gloucester and they can spend them on the items in the machine. The items are stocked with the help of Quedgeley company ‘Lauren’s Catering’, Sainsbury’s and Tesco and together they will make a big difference to homeless people in Gloucester.
Dave Kinhorn, of Gloucester City Mission, said: ‘As a small charity we don’t have masses of resources and this can be difficult. The idea of the machine is to give people who are rough sleeping, sofa surfing, in supported or temporary/emergency accommodation who use the centre five tokens a week and they can then use the tokens to get items they need.”
We think it’s another great scheme. We were shocked to hear that the Nottingham enterprise didn’t work out and we really think vending machines can make a valued difference to the lives of those who are most vulnerable. We’re sure we’re not alone in wishing this project every success. For those of you who need reminding of the Nottingham machine, check out the video below. It also provides a great insight into what the Gloucester machine will be like.