A WOMAN from Pontypool is one of the brains behind a special intiative being used to support people suffering from homelessness. 

Sharon Truman, who was born in Usk but brought up in Griffithstown, Pontypool, is co-founder of Unify Giving, a 'tech-for-good' initiative that is helping to combat the growing homelessness crisis across the UK.

Put simply, Unify Giving is a platform that enables people to donate any amount of money through their website to a homeless person who will then be able to use the money on essential goods or services. 

To ensure the money is put to good use, there are limitations for the beneficiaries, such as they can't withdraw cash for their own, unspecified purposes. 

Ms Truman co-founded the company with her business partner Matt Bamber, who has a passion for combatting homelessness after experiencing it while working in the financial industry for years. 

Ms Truman believes her life has been very fortunate, including a nursing education, a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical field, and having three children. 

She began her social entrepreneurial life when her pharmaceutical career took her to Lisbon in Portugal.  

She said: "I felt it was time to give something back for the very fortunate life I've had. I fell into 'tech for good', and after going to Silicon Valley and learning about 'Corporate Social Responsibility', I realised corporates could and should help the societies they operate in."

This idea became Unify Giving after she met Mr Bamber by chance in London a few years ago. 

Ms Truman explained that they realised the limitations of traditional donations, and wanted to find a true 'one-size-fits-all' solution. 

The platform uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and phone technology to allow donors to provide people with money for essentials. 

Each person is signed up to the system by a charity and given a pre-payment card and a green RFID wristband to allow them access to money given by a donor. 

The beneficiary is given a profile on the platform so that a donor can give money directly to the person and have peace of mind that their money is going directly where it is intended to go. 

Unify Giving is still developing its technology, with a test phase expected in the not too distant future. 

Ms Truman explained: "The tech is still underway but we will be launching our test phase in around about a month and now begins our fundraising campaign to find 250k SEIS (seed enterprise investment scheme) backed money to finish development and scale the business globally as well as across other areas such as displaced children and domestic violence.

"Unify Giving ensures donations reach those in need directly for them to spend on essential goods and services, addressing the growing need for transparency in charitable giving."

The company is also looking to expand into the mental health sector through an AI chatbot which will provide homeless people with the chance to speak about their mental health. 

This also includes plans for a SIM card to enable the people they support to connect with each other when they need it. 

While the pilot test scheme for the new technology will be focused on charities in Stoke-on-Trent, London and Glasgow, they are planning to expand to more major cities in the UK within six months and continue to develop their platform to enable direct donations.