The ‘Driving for Change’ initiative will provide direct support to over 3,000 homeless Londoners per year.
As the weather gets colder, rough sleepers are facing an especially difficult time on our streets. To help homeless Londoners this winter, the team behind Change Please has unveiled a new initiative, ‘Driving for Change’. Two London buses have been transformed into mobile care centres which offer everything from haircuts to dentist appointments.
The buses will start patrolling the streets six days a week from November, aiming to aid at least six people per day. The NHS will be offering free GP consultations inside the vehicles once a week, and hopes to be able to provide COVID-19 vaccinations from early 2022. The homeless can also receive haircuts, dental care, digital and financial literacy training, support opening a bank account where appropriate, employment support, shower facilities, therapy assessments, and essential everyday items. Those with access to a phone can request a bus via text message.
A third bus is currently in the works, and Change Please hopes to expand the initiative with the help of donations over time. Change Please is part of a social enterprise project that aims to aid the homeless crisis in London, and operates coffee shops that train homeless people to be baristas — the proceeds of which contribute to projects such as this one.
Founder of Change Please, Cemal Ezel, commented: “Driving For Change will give the most vulnerable people the opportunity to access crucial services which can guide and support them in changing their lives long-term. We hope to take the project nationwide and then internationally to achieve maximum impact; discussions around Paris and Los Angeles have already begun.”
Find more info on their website.