Building society trials contactless donations point

Nationwide has installed a tap-to-donate machine in one of its branches, which will raise funds to support local homeless people

The building society Nationwide has started a trial of a contactless donations window that will raise funds for a local homelessness charity. 

If the trial is successful, Nationwide will consider expanding the initiative to more of its 650 branches in the UK. 

The trial is being run at the society’s branch in Bath, Somerset, with a contactless donations machine in its shop front that invites passers-by to donate £3 to Julian House, which provides practical support and training to homeless people in the local area. 

A Nationwide spokeswoman said the initiative, which has been operating for two weeks, attracted donations of £400 in the first week, including £100 on the first day. 

Julian House was selected for the trial by staff in the Bath branch because it is a charity for which they regularly fundraise. 

It is not yet clear how future charities might be selected to benefit from any expansion of the scheme. 

“We’re always looking for ways we can support the communities across the UK, and homelessness and housing specifically is something we endeavour to support,” the spokeswoman said. 

People can tap multiple times if they wish to donate more than £3 through the scheme, which was developed by the charity, Nationwide and Bath Business Improvement District.

A Nationwide statement said it was felt that the location of the device, which is an area frequented by homeless people and next to a cash machine, would maximise donations. 

Branch manager Stephanie Pritchard said: “At a time when many people don’t have spare change or might not wish to hand it directly to someone who is homeless, having a contactless point in the window of the branch has bridged the gap. 

“This novel way of raising money for a fantastic cause is a great example of how technology is playing a role in helping society one tap at a time.”

Roanne Wootten, operations director at Julian House, said: “Tapping could fund welcome packs, which include toiletries and sanitary products in crisis accommodation, new bedding and essentials when moving into supported housing, a birth certificate, a passport or a driving licence. 

“Fundamentally, it is about the person and what they need to help them come off the streets. It will be different for everyone.”

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