The small things making a big difference for Cardiff’s homeless

A cooker, a bike, a passport, and a new suit. 

Relatively small value items can make a big difference to the life of someone experiencing homelessness. This St David’s Day sees the launch of the Small Things Make a Big DIFFerence campaign, with the opening of six new donation points across Cardiff city centre to help tackle homelessness in the Welsh capital.

The campaign is part of the relaunch of Give DIFFerently’s partnership approach to tackling homelessness in Cardiff between FOR Cardiff and existing homeless charities and organisations.

First launched in 2018, Give DIFFerently has since raised over £12,000 and issued 32 grants to Cardiff based organisations and charities working with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Six new donation points across Cardiff city centre will allow people to use their smartphones to scan a QR code and make a quick and easy payment directly to the Give DIFFerently fund knowing that 100 per cent of their donation will go directly towards supporting people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The Give DIFFerently fund is managed by Community Foundation Wales, an independent non-profit organisation who support grassroots community groups with funding to help create equality and opportunity in Welsh communities. Cardiff based charities and organisations can apply for grants of between £25 - £2,000 through Community Foundation Wales to purchase essential items and vocational training to support people in their journey away from homelessness.

Now for the first time Cardiff Council’s Housing and Communities team can apply for funding through Give Differently, meaning that more people will benefit from the fund.

During an unprecedented cost of living crisis, the Small Things Make a Big DIFFerence campaign aims to show that ‘doing the little things’ matters - a core philosophy of the Welsh patron saint.  Small donations to the Give DIFFerently fund all add up to make a difference to the lives of those experiencing homelessness and grants as little as £75 to purchase ID can help change people's lives and reduce homelessness in Cardiff.

By donating to Give DIFFerently, you are helping people like Mark* who was homeless for three months following a breakdown in family relations. He was referred to the Wallich who successfully rehoused him and he is managing the tenancy well. The Wallich applied for a grant to purchase   a gas cooker for his new home, meaning he can make home-cooked food for his daughter, instead of relying on costly microwave meals.

Another person to benefit from Give DIFFerently is Isabella*, who was at risk of criminal exploitation and suffered mental health issues. Llamau received a grant from Give DIFFerently to purchase a bike for her to allow her to travel to job interviews and help to lessen her anxiety through a more active lifestyle.

Sam* who has faced housing challenges since the age of 17 has also been helped by the Give DIFFerently fund. The Wallich received a grant to purchase tools for Sam to start a gardening and tree surgeon business, allowing him to become self-employed and financially independent.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “People in Cardiff have a tremendous amount of compassion for those they see sleeping rough, or those experiencing homelessness and we know they want to help.

Continuing, she said: “Give DIFFerently is a really positive way to support vulnerable people. Donations made via the scheme will help those supported by homelessness services in the city to get their lives back on track. We very much welcome the relaunch of the scheme and encourage residents and visitors to contribute via the new donation points, including at Central Library Hub and across the city centre.”

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Wales, said: "We are proud to be working with FOR Cardiff to provide support to those experiencing homelessness in Cardiff. We know that what seems like a small donation can actually have a big impact and help provide a stepping stone for positive change.

Carolyn Brownell, Executive Director (Interim)at FOR Cardiff, said: “We know that people in Cardiff are hugely generous, despite continued financial pressure, and really keen to help those experiencing homelessness in the city centre. This campaign shows that even small donations can make such a big impact in helping change people’s lives and Give DIFFerently’s new QR code donation points will make it quicker and easier to make a donation, knowing that 100 per cent is going directly to supporting people in their journey away from homelessness.”

There are several ways to donate, whether that be scanning the QR codes at donation points in the city centre, visiting the Give DIFFerently website, or texting DIFF3 to 70331 to donate £3.

The current city centre donation point locations are:

  • Cardiff Central Library
  • The Hayes/Morgan Quarter – next to TK Maxx
  • Cardiff Market
  • The Bike Lock, Windsor Place
  • Mc Donalds Queen Street
  • Mc Donalds St Mary Street

To learn more about Give DIFFerently and the ‘small things’ campaign, visit Give Differently – Join us to tackle homelessness in Cardiff (

*Names have been changed to protect identities.