A charity is appealing for the public’s help in tackling a short-term funding crisis.
Banbury Young Homelessness Project (BYHP) costs around £250,000 a year to run and is looking for around £30,000 over the next few months to tide it over while waiting for longer term sources of funding to come onstream.
Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, the head of business at BYHP, Tim Tarby-Donald, said the charity provided a range of services for young people, not just the homeless, including family mediation and counselling, housing and homelessness advice and a job club.
He said: “We are trying to get the public to donate funds so in the short term it means we aren’t eating into our cash reserves to keep things ticking over.
“The charity sector is competitive and we are trying very hard to make sure we are in people’s minds.
“We try to explain this is for a generation of young people who are their neighbours and we have an opportunity to get these young people to make good lives for themselves, to become good adults and not have to rely on benefits.”
He added some of the young people the charity worked with were from deprived areas and not everyone was lucky enough to have the same opportunities.
From April 2015 to March 2016, BYHP supported 225 young people, aged from 13 to 25, and already since April 1 this year, has supported 58 young people, 20 of them new. The charity’s service costs around £1,000 for every young person it supports.
Mr Tarby-Donald said the charity was not at risk of closure or of having to withdraw services, but donations were crucial.
He said: “I could have a letter come through the post today which will significantly change the situation. A £10,000 donation would make a big difference. But realistically, the next few months are very important to us.”
A lot of what BYHP provides relieves the pressure on other organisations’ services, he added, and recent changes to children’s centres by Oxfordshire County Council could have a knock on effect.
He said: “We want to grow as we can see an uptick in demand as children’s centres close.
“Young families are going to be looking for support.
“Even though we don’t support children, a lot of those people who use children’s centres are in BYHP’s age range.
“We are trying to make sure we are ready for that because we can see it coming.”
He added: “We are not on the verge of closing but we want people to understand that because we have been around for 26 years, it is not easy to fund us.
“Year in, year out, month in, month out we have got to look for funding sources and keep in people’s minds when they run a marathon, BYHP really appreciates all the support it gets.”
> To help BYHP, text BYHP01 £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070, visit https://localgiving.com/byhp or www.byhp.org.uk/support-us, or call 01295 259442 and ask to set up a monthly direct debit donation.