The BillyChip is an alternative to cash that allows the public to give direct donations to rough sleepers and homeless people without the fear of their donation being misused for drugs or alcohol. They can be redeemed in coffee shops and takeaways for the minimum of a hot or cold drink of their choice, many outlets offer more. The BillyChip is the legacy of its inventor, Billy Abernethy-Hope, a twenty-year-old ambulance driver from Bristol who tragically died before he could see his idea become a reality.
BillyChip is a unique safe and secure platform which allows the public to directly donate to homeless people without the fear of the donation being misused for drugs or alcohol. This safe platform for contributing to someone else’s wellbeing brings many benefits and encourages social integration, engagement, empathy and compassion.
Purchased at existing café outlets for £2 and donated to a homeless person, the BillyChip can be redeemed at any participating café for a free hot or cold drink.
A major advantage of the BillyChip is how it empowers homeless people with choice. Catering for dietary needs, choosing what to eat, where from and when to eat it is a choice the person doesn’t get when food is donated, but the BillyChip can give them back the autonomy that most of us take for granted.
The BillyChip is a reusable ceramic chip rather than plastic to be used time and time again, and is delivered to cafe outlets via partners of the catering industry whilst delivering to an established customer base, therefore reducing carbon impact.
Feedback from homeless people suggests that being given a BillyChip, as small an act as it may be, improves mental health and wellbeing, as the person knows somebody has gone out of their way to help them. It can also give a feeling of belonging and acceptance, reassuring them that they are welcome at outlets showing the BillyChip sign.
BillyChip have worked extensively with UK Police and Local Authorities, and have learned that it reduces unscrupulous begging and organised crime gangs that operate within cities and towns, freeing the community to work together to integrate with the genuine homeless and help them to once again feel part of society.
At present they have over 342 outlets across the UK, and their aim is to be in every city across the country, including major high street outlets. The participating café outlet is credited to cover their costs and monies from each chip sold comes back to BillyChip Foundation to open new outlets and support other homeless organisations.
Each new outlet BillyChip takes on has a onetime cost of £32.14, which provides the outlet with a Starter Kit comprising BillyChips, strut cards, window posters and window stickers to denote they are a participating BillyChip outlet. Funds from the Matthew Good Foundation will enable BillyChip to expand its reach by funding the creation of more starter kits, including the manufacture and shipping of the BillyChips and printing of information and display materials.