Bristol Beer Factory head of operations Domhnaill Barnes was enlightened by a relative that members of the public do not need a fixed address in order to vote.
So after investing in some due diligence with a colleague, and gaining permission from the Electoral Commission to get the ‘go-ahead’, they took the plunge.
Please share! Some of the team have started a small initiative to help people who are homeless vote...help us get the word out there! @ArnolfiniCafe@bristol247@BristolShelter@bristolhomeless@EmmausBristol@JulianTrust@email@example.com/sYmY0XZP1D— Bristol Beer Factory (@BrisBeerFactory) November 19, 2019
A big reaction
Barnes said: “We didn't have any hope at first but, this morning, we signed the 13th person.
“It's not a vast amount of people but it’s still 13 more people who are registered to vote than there would have been.”
Ever since the move was publicised, the brewery has received a big reaction – including other operators asking him how they can do it too.
It's never too late to REGISTER TO VOTE ️ and we believe that everyone should have a voice— North Bar (@NorthBarDrinks) November 25, 2019
So we're opening our doors to those who are homeless in Leeds (inspired by @BrisBeerFactory) to come and register at the bar!
Spread the word!!#everyvotecountspic.twitter.com/zdCM6DFHYo
Barnes added: “People do give a f**k. As a society, we have responsibility to make sure their voices are heard as much as anyone else’s.”
No voice unheard
Bristol Beer Factory’s initiative allows homeless people to use the address of one of its sites – the Arnolfini café.
Barnes continued: “I believe in democracy, I believe in our right to vote. I’ve voted in every election that I have ever had the opportunity to vote in.
“Nobody should be denied that, especially for something as little as not having an address.”
He explained this opportunity isn’t necessarily just for rough sleepers – but for anyone that may fall into that bracket.
He said: “Sofa surfers, people with tree homes, it’s for anyone that is entitled to vote and may not be aware of it and, in turn, miss out on having their say on the political discourse in this country.”
Barnes admitted to being humbled in receiving such a great amount of appreciation.
He added: “For us, and other charities doing the same, telling these people that ‘you can vote, your voice does still count’ – it’s a hugely powerful thing to do.”