Cafe customers in Bristol, Bath and Cheltenham urged to support token scheme to help homeless

Close up of a Billychip token
Thousands of 'Billychips' have been distributed throughout Bristol, Bath and Cheltenham.

Customers buying a coffee or tea to fight off the cold weather are being urged to also purchase a token for a homeless person to buy a hot drink with.

The token, called the 'Billychip', is available at cafes in Bristol, Bath and Cheltenham - areas with some of the highest numbers of homelessness in the West Country.

"It's a £2 token and you can go into a wonderful cafe and buy and you can hand it someone on the streets and they can come back in when it suits them and redeem it for a hot drink," explained co-founder Meg Abernethy-Hope from the Chew Valley in Somerset.

Meg Abernethy-Hope says the Billychip can spread 'compassion, generosity and kindness'

Thousands of the chips have been handed out to local cafes and food stores with some of the nation's biggest outlets signing up.

"Realistically the end goal is to spread compassion, generosity and kindness. On a global scale would be incredible because everywhere needs that and this is a mechanism by which people can use to do that," adds Meg.

The idea is in memory of Meg's younger brother Billy who, aged just 20, died in a motorcycle accident while travelling in Thailand in 2018.

Better Food support the scheme across its four Bristol sites. It's encouraging others to spread the homeless support.

Billy Abernethy-Hope died in a motorcycle accident in Thailand in 2018 Credit: Family photo

Jon Sherring, Catering & Operations Manager at Better Food said: "People are reluctant to give money because you don't know where that money's going so if you give that person a Billychip they can exchange it for a hot drink or food so it completely eliminates that issue.

"As long as they're aware of the scheme and how it works and where they can redeem the chips, then it's absolutely fine. It's a really positive thing to do."

More information about the scheme can be found here.