A free vending machine has been launched allowing homeless people to ‘buy’ essential items
A free vending machine has been launched allowing homeless people to ‘buy’ three items a day including food, clothes and sanitary towels has launched in the UK.
Launched in the run-up to Christmas, the first 24/7 dispenser will be located outside the Broadmarsh shopping centre, in Nottingham but could spread across Britain.
Up to 100 homeless people will be able to ‘purchase’ three free items a day from the state-of-the-art machine using a traceable key card.
The concept is the brainchild of new Nottingham homelessness charity Action Hunger, who have chosen the city for the project’s pilot ahead of plans to roll out machines across the country.
Charity trustee Huzaifah Khaled, who believes the machine is the first of its kind in the UK and world, said: ‘We chose Nottingham because it’s the city that I grew up in and have a deep affinity for, but we do plan on installing [a vending machine] in Manchester in January, then London and Birmingham.’
‘But everything hinges on how this does in Nottingham.’
The machine will be installed under the canopy near to back entrances of Broadmarsh, at the start of December.
A hundred key cards will be dropped off at West Bridgford outreach centre The Friary – Action Hunger’s chosen Nottingham partner – where staff will hand them out at their discretion.
Friary CEO, Sam Crawford, said: ‘We will be prioritising rough sleepers.
‘Not everyone who visits us is a rough sleeper, some are homeless in other ways such as those in temporary accommodation, so that would be who we would prioritise.
‘It’s an innovative way in which food and provisions can be made available out of hours to people in need.’
Those given a key card will need to check into the Friary at least once a week in order to keep using it.
Donations from FareShare – a supermarket surplus distribution charity – make up 50 per cent of vending machine stock, while the other half is bought by Action Hunger.
Michael Walker, from Sherwood, welcomed the arrival of the machine.
Michael, 63, said: ‘I think it’s a really good idea, it’s just a shame they’ve got to do things like this.’
Launched in the run-up to Christmas, the first 24/7 dispenser will be located outside the Broadmarsh shopping centre, in Nottingham – but could spread across Britain
Elaine Stephens, 54, from Whitemoor, said: ‘I think it’s a really good idea and I actually read that Nottingham City Council helped 139 homeless people last year.
‘I do help out where I can and buy them food if I see them. There is a gentleman that I regularly buy breakfast for and especially around this time of year when it’s freezing it’s good to help out.’
Action Hunger will also be installing vending machines for the homeless across the United States from the start of next year with sites earmarked Seattle, New York City and LA.