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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Phone lines 4 you

September 26 2009
VoiceMail4All is providing accessible phone numbers and messaging services for those without homes A new scheme called VoiceMail4All is providing accessible phone numbers and messaging services for those without homes. The initiative, launched by St Mungo's in partnership with technology charity Tech4All, supplies those with no fixed address with a personal telephone number with a standard London dialing code - 0208. Each number is private and users can record a personal greeting for callers. Messages can be accessed for free at St Mungo's projects, or from other telephones charged at a local rate. The scheme is aimed at avoiding the stigma of homelessness, when applying for jobs in particular. David Lightboy, who took part in the trial of VoiceMail4All, says, "I was applying for jobs and was able to have my own 0208 number on the application form. Without that number I would have had to have left the number for my key-worker or the phone in the hall of my semi-independent house. This way employers don't need to know I am homeless - I feel like I stand an equal chance with any other candidate now." The service avoids the disadvantages of mobile phones, which can be expensive, have limited batteries and are easily lost or stolen. VoiceMail4All is free to set up and is always accessible by both callers and users. Having received further funding from various sources, including the London Development Agency, the project is now available across the whole of London. Co-ordinator Laura Black, pictured setting up an account with Lorenzo, is enthusiastic about the positive impact it will have, stating, "We're all very excited about getting it up and running". Both number and voicemail are initially set up for a period of three months, which can be extended for longer if required. It is available through St Mungo's Ealing outreach team, North Lambeth Day Centre (during the building work from their office) and Bridge Resource centre. Registration is also available through an increasing number of partner projects, including St Martin's, Streetshine, Centrepoint and the Big Issue. Those wishing to find more information can contact St Mungo's VoiceMail4All co- ordinator on 020 8600 9162, go to the website, or visit one of the St Mungo's centres detailed above.
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