NATIONAL: ‘World’s first’ vending machine for the homeless unveiled

The Action Hunger vending machine in the Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Action Hunger vending machine in the Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
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CHARITY volunteers have installed what they claim is the ‘world’s first’ vending machine for the homeless.

Initiative Action Hunger unveiled the device in the Broadmarsh shopping centre, in Nottingham, to provide rough sleepers with essentials including food, toothbrushes and socks over Christmas.

The machine can only be accessed with a key card given out by the city’s council and will be ‘permitted to those in need’.

Although the charity accepts it will not take people off the streets, it believes it will help homeless people in their time of need.

Lee Crowden, 43, who has been homeless in Nottingham for three-and-a-half months, said: ‘It will give you a service in the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning.

‘It’s a good idea, it’s one of the best things to happen in this city.

‘People only get the card two weeks at a time so it’s not like they are going to get free access.’

One of the trustees of Action Hunger, Halimah Gulzar Khaled, said: ‘This now means homeless people have access to food 24-hours-a-day.

‘If they are hungry, needing a pair of socks or feeling cold, there’s a place there they can go to.

‘It’s not going to take people off the streets because it’s only giving food or small items three-times-a-day, but it will help them while they are going through this phase of their life.’

While the machine is currently unique to Nottingham, there are plans to install it in more than 100 cities, including Manchester and London.