Sleep Pods for Weston to help protect rough sleepers over winter months

PUBLISHED: 07:55 08 December 2019

Volunteers will bring Sleep Pods to Weston's streets. Picture: Sarah Rice

Volunteers will bring Sleep Pods to Weston's streets. Picture: Sarah Rice

Archant

A ground-breaking initiative to protect rough sleepers from exposure at night is coming to Weston over the Christmas period – thanks to funds raised from famous musicians.

Sleep Pod is a lifesaving shelter which was created to protect people who live on the streets but cannot access homeless services.

It is designed to keep people warm, dry and safe after having originally been made to help refugees in Europe.

The £10,000 needed to fund 400 Sleep Pods, which cost roughly £25 each, was raised from a homeless music event where IDLES and Geoff Barrow's Beak performed.

The number of homeless people who died in North Somerset rose in 2018, according to Government statistics.

The Office for National Statistics found four homeless people died on North Somerset's streets last year, but none died in the two years preceding 2018.

In 2014 there were two identified deaths across the area, followed by one the following year.

Organisers of the initiative are seeking volunteers to help with two Sleep Pod builds taking place on December 15 and 16.

Helpers are also needed for distribution, which is being coordinated alongside Feed the Homeless and Homeless Emergency Action Bristol.

Shada Nasrullah, trustee for Feed the Homeless said: "The levels of rough sleepers are increasing and those who are on the streets will die younger because of the impact this has on their health.

"Not only are rough sleepers more susceptible to illness and infections, they're also having to deal with our harsh winters.

"Having somewhere warm and dry to sleep will save lives and improve the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable people in our community."

Since November 2018, organisations and charities such as Somewhere To Go, the YMCA, and the councils have been working together to facilitate night time provision for people sleeping rough across the area.

Homelessness rose by a third in North Somerset last year and the district's rates are significantly higher than South Gloucestershire and Sedgemoor.

To volunteer towards the project, email joby@refreshwest.com to find out more information.


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