The world's first vending machine for the homeless has been launched just in time for Christmas
Picture: Aaron Chown / PA Wire / PA Images

The world's first vending machine for the homeless has been launched in Nottingham just in time for Christmas.

It's hoped the machine will be the first link in a worldwide chain to help those most in need.

Under a scheme pioneered by homeless charity Action Hunger, rough sleepers will be able to get hold of water, fresh food and warm clothes at any time of the day or night.

It's operated using a special key card which is given out by the Friary - a drop-in centre in Nottingham for the homeless - but people are only able to get hold of three items a day to prevent dependency.

The bright orange machine also dispenses energy bars, chocolate and sandwiches, as well as socks, antibacterial lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, and books.

Chris, who is living on the streets in Nottingham, was the first person to make use of the innovative machine.

He told PA:

I think it's a brilliant machine and a brilliant idea.

If you've got no money in the middle of the night, and you need something to eat or drink, or just dry socks.

The fresh fruit is taken from redistribution organisations who are attempting to reduce food waste, while the other items are bought with donations and are restocked daily by a team of volunteers.

 Picture: Aaron Chown / PA Wire / PA Images

Organisers hope the device will become the first in a local, national and worldwide chain, with up to 30 more expected to be put in cities before the end of next year.

The next machine is planned for the Arndale Centre in Manchester, followed by New York in February, and later in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Additional reporting by PA.

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