Great Bristol Run 2023: Homeless charity with touching backstory confirmed as partner for event

The Great Bristol Run will take place on May 14
The BillyChip project was launched in 2019 after the ambulance driver passed away.The BillyChip project was launched in 2019 after the ambulance driver passed away.
The BillyChip project was launched in 2019 after the ambulance driver passed away.

A homeless charity created by a Bristol ambulance driver who tragically passed away before seeing his concept become a reality will partner this year’s Great Bristol Run event.

BillyChip will provide its brand-new gourmet chip van at this year’s AJ Bell Great Bristol Run to raise funds and awareness at the event on May 14th. The charity allows the public to directly donate to rough sleepers by purchasing a chip they can exchange for food and drink in outlets around the city, including Greggs, Rod and Ruby’s, Better Foods, and the Arnolfini Café.

Billy Abernethy-Hope, a 20-year-old ambulance driver from Bristol, first came up with the idea for the scheme after helping the homeless at Christmas. Feeling disheartened at how little support the public gave directly to rough sleepers, he was inspired to take action. Billy died before he could see the charity come to fruition but his family continued his legacy by launching BillyChip in 2019.

The charity expanded to include venues in other towns and cities such as Weymouth and Oxford and provided cooler bags for the homeless during the Covid pandemic - allowing those sleeping rough to keep any perishables fresh during the hot weather. The team’s work was praised by Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffmann, who owns the Koffmann Potato range.

BillyChip and The Koffmann family have together created a chip van using these potatoes which will make its debut at this year’s Great Bristol Run. The charity will run a marquee at the event and a group of runners will be raising funds for BillyChip.

Jon Hope, CEO of BillyChip said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with such a prestigious event in our home city and we hope the success of this will lead to new outlets signing up and more members of the public building a connection with their local homeless community through our safe and secure currency.”

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