CAMBRIDGE City Council has won a prestigious national award for Cambridge Street Aid – its pioneering initiative to give local people a safe and effective way to help people get off the streets.
The council was presented with the top award in the ‘Transforming Lives’ category at this year’s Municipal Journal Awards, which celebrate achievements in local government.
Cambridge Street Aid started in 2017 and has two key goals. The first is to allow people concerned for the welfare of people on the streets to donate, knowing that every penny will go toward a grant that will make a real and not a temporary difference to someone’s life. The second is to allow people on the street to decide for themselves the things that will help them achieve real change.
Cambridge Street Aid has now raised over £100,000 and made more than 300 individual grants for things like work training, basics for setting up a first home or equipment to pursue a new or forgotten hobby.
The only condition for a Street Aid grant is that it must help someone get off, or stay off, the streets of Cambridge.
Commenting on the MJ award, the award’s judging panel said that the strengths of Cambridge Street Aid included “the quality of its partnership working, a strong evidence base and the fact that it is very solution orientated”.
The way in which the community is involved, and how the project helps better inform the public about rough sleeping and homelessness, was also praised by the judges. It was also felt that the project was sustainable, scalable and replicable – qualities that are now very much in evidence with the subsequent launch of two ‘sister’ Street Aids in Yorkshire and with another in development.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “I am immensely proud and thrilled to learn that the City Council has won out in the Transforming Lives category at the Municipal Journal awards for its Cambridge Street Aid Fund.
“The public have taken Cambridge Street Aid to their hearts over the last few years, giving generously. So far they have donated the staggering sum of over £100,000, giving a hand up to many formerly homeless people who, with a Street Aid grant, have been able to turn their lives around.
“My thanks go to everyone who has contributed, no matter how small their donation, as well as to the volunteers, organisers and council staff who have worked so hard in fundraising, raising awareness and supporting those who received grants. This award is for all of them.”