A Sheffield charity has launched an online appeal to raise the £10,000 it needs to renovate flats for young homeless people.
Roundabout is asking people to invest directly in the project through a six-week crowfunding campaign. Those who donate can then track the progress of the appeal online.
It is hoping that this innovative new way of raising funds will enable it to provide a much-needed facelift for its eight flats on St Barnabas’ Road.
‘Extremely run down’
Amy Casbolt, fundraising co-ordinator for Roundabout said: “They’re extremely run down. There’s not much furniture in there, they need painting, the heating system is terrible and they’re really not nice.”
The flats are next-door to Roundabout’s Emergency Access Hostel, the only one in Sheffield to take in 16 and 17 year olds. Young people typically stay there for six weeks before moving into the flats, where they can stay for up to a year.
The hostel last year underwent a huge £1m refurbishment to provide more bedrooms for residents and training space for Roundabout staff, who help those staying to claim appropriate benefits and plan for life after they move out.
Casbolt said: “It’s been really nice to see the impact that’s had on the young people.
“But it’s always been an incentive for people in the hostel that if you work with us, you can then move onto the flats next door, and they’re thinking why would I want to go there when it’s really nice in here?”
The hostel refurbishment was completed with £700,000 of financial support from South Yorkshire Housing Association, but there wasn’t enough money remaining for the adjoining flats.
Roundabout’s funding model has had to change in response to reduced Government assistance through the Supporting People programme, and demand for its services is increasing. It currently has to turn away 25 people a week.
Casbolt says this is driving the move towards new and less traditional forms of investment, like the crowdfund.
“I don’t think people realise what’s happening on their own doorstep. We support 150 young people every single day in Sheffield.
“We can’t do it without the support of local people. We desperately need people to donate – even £5 or whatever people can spare.
“Everyone who donates is helping to provide a safe place for young homeless people in Sheffield.”