The Hideout café is the first local business leading the way in Merthyr Tydfil by signing up to the very unique BillyChip project, supporting those most in need within the town centre.
The project breaks down barriers and provides a safe and secure way to donate to those sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness, without the fear or worry of giving money which could be used on alcohol or drugs.
It works by a member of the public purchasing a BillyChip token from a participating outlet, such as a coffee shop, at the cost of just £2. They keep the token safe until they see a person in need. The recipient of the token can then redeem their BillyChip in one of the local participating outlets, using it to choose a drink or snack.
Geraint Thomas, Leader of the Council stated;
“I am delighted that local businesses within Merthyr Tydfil are recognising the importance of the BillyChip project and proudly signing up to this innovative scheme, that will give our community members a safe, easy and simple method to support those most in need.
“If you would like to help, I would encourage you to purchase a BillyChip token and donate that, instead of giving money, as the token can be used safely at places like the Hideout and redeemed for a hot drink or snack.”
Michelle Symonds, Cabinet Member for Public Protections said;
“I’m very grateful to the Hideout cafe for paving the way in Merthyr Tydfil, and I encourage and am hopeful that other food places will consider doing the same; showing compassion and kindness throughout our town.”
The project really is one of a kind and was set up in memory of Billy Abernethy-Hope, a 20-year-old ambulance driver who died in 2018. It was Billy’s dream to encourage generosity among those who may feel reluctant to give money to people experiencing homelessness. Tragically, Billy passed away before he could see his heartwarming idea come to fruition, but his family continued his legacy.
Natasha Price, owner of the Hideout said;
“We were approached by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and invited to take part in the BillyChip project. It’s something we thought was outstanding and something we would want to be part of.
“I think it’s great for the community to be able to give something back to the homeless, without having to worry about giving cash directly, and you know they are eating and having a warm drink by gifting them with a BillyChip. I think it’s fantastic for our community.”