LONDON: The world’s first vending machine for homeless people opened today in Nottingham – but this is ‘just the beginning’.
The city’s homeless will now be able to come to a 24-hours-a-day machine in the intu Broadmarsh shopping centre to pick up essentials such as fresh fruit, sanitary towels, socks, energy bars and sandwiches.
The project is the result of almost two years of preparation by Huzaifah Khaled, of Toton, the founder of the new Nottingham homelessness charity Action Hunger.
The 29-year-old, who recently completed a PhD in law at the University of Cambridge whilst working up to 60 hours a weeks on the project, said: “The journey to here has been pretty insane.
“I never expected it to get this big, it has turned in to a global story.
“I chose to start here because I grew up and live in Nottingham, it is a city that is close to my heart but it is also a city with a problem with homelessness.
“I spoke to a lot of homeless people and saw there was a crucial need for something like this.
“We are not trying to supplant homeless services but to complement them.
“This is the result of one and a half years of hard work, but it is just the beginning.”
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.
These cards will be handed out by the Friary centre in West Bridgford to those they consider most in need and will work for two weeks before they need to be renewed.