More LCR businesses urged to sign Homelessness Business Charter as first ‘champions’ begin training

• Business Charter enables organisations to help homeless people • Training from national charity Crisis has now started and will help reframe the way homelessness is perceived More than 30 businesses have taken up the challenge to help people out of homelessness in Liverpool City Region following the launch of a major new initiative.

Now organisers of the Liverpool City Region Homelessness Business Charter are calling on more businesses to join the cause and help them meet their target of 200 businesses signed up to the charter with a designated homelessness charter champion from each by the end of 2020.

The LCR Homelessness Business Charter which was launched in November 2019 has been created with the Community Foundation for Merseyside (CFLM) and Liverpool Parish Church, working with national homelessness charity Crisis. It’s the first time that the charitable sector has worked with the business community in this way.

One of the charter’s aims is to help change public attitudes to the problem by communicating its complex causes.

Training for the first cohort of eight ‘charter champions’, being delivered by Crisis, has started, taking place in Liverpool ONE. The champions will now ensure that their colleagues are kept informed about homelessness issues and the various initiatives which are seeking to tackle them.
In addition to nominating a someone from their organisation, signatories to the charter pledge to make a tangible contribution from the charter “menu” - from sponsorship to equipment, from volunteering to pro bono services. Rae Brooke, CEO of the Community Foundation for Merseyside, said: “We want the Homelessness Business Charter to have real purpose and to make a tangible difference and we are delighted with the initial response from the business community.

“Thirty three businesses have pledged to help end all forms of homelessness in our region, because they are aware that it has deep social and economic impacts and recognise that they are in a position to help over the long term.

“However the more businesses that signup to the charter, the more can be achieved in supporting public and voluntary agencies in offering practical help, but also in spreading the message about the varied causes of homelessness, clearing up misconceptions and finding the best ways to tackle it.

“For the charter to be successful and to help people off the streets and back into the security of family and community we need as many businesses as possible to sign up. I sincerely believe that with all of us working together we can improve the situation for good.”

The genesis of the charter was a high profile conference at Liverpool Parish Church in April 2019 after which seven businesses: Avison Young, DLA Piper, Gaskells Waste, Investec Wealth & Investment Liverpool, Liverpool ONE, MSB and Onward Homes, united in a desire to help tackle the situation, challenging themselves to end homelessness in the city and wider region and to encourage other businesses to join them.

One of the businesses to have signed up to the charter following the November launch is Gaskells Waste.

Denise Banks, Commercial Director, explained why they had done so: “Homeless people and rough sleepers are something that most of us see every day and it’s an issue that is often reported on in the media - often tragic tales are told. Some of the statistics I have seen are shocking.

“Homelessness is an issue that affects us all and sometimes we can feel helpless in tackling the situation or if we do intervene it might not be in the best way even if the intention has been to make a difference to someone living in these terrible circumstances.

“I see the Homelessness Business Charter as a vital initiative that allows anyone in any business to help in simple but important ways to alleviate the problem of rough sleeping and homelessness in our city and the wider region’s urban centres.

“This is not just a problem that will go away or that we can ignore or indeed leave to public authorities. We are all in this together and it’s important that we are involved and I hope more will join us and sign up.” The initiative is being overseen by the Community Foundation for Merseyside and Liverpool Parish Church. The Community Foundation for Merseyside supports others support their community and since 1999, has distributed in excess of £41 million to charities and community groups in the city region. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact ben.roberts@cflm.email

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