Erdington Rotary is working together with the Birmingham-based charity Sleep Pod UK, which provides emergency aid to rough sleepers in severe weather conditions.
Sleep pods are a one-person, triangular prism shelter that allows a homeless individual to be protected from the elements.
The pods maintain warmth through insulation, using double-skin aluminum foil sheeting with a waterproof outer layer. Each pod is supported with bamboo sticks which are light and durable, making them easy to carry and assemble.
A complete pod can be manufactured for £30 and can be assembled with the help of one volunteer in less than an hour.
Once completed, the pods are handed over to local homeless charities to be distributed to those that are most in need of support.
Sleep Pod UK has three co-founders: Justin Devereux, Ian Ashby, and Pete Kenyon.
Justin, Ian, and Pete met during their time volunteering at a refugee camp in Calais, France. The three co-founders realised how dire the conditions were for the refugees on their first morning.
Many who were there fled wars and political uproars yet their biggest threat now were the freezing temperatures.
The only opportunity for heat would be to sit around the fires, huddled. Something had to be done.
During an interview, Justin has explained the circumstances and reality of the situation. He said “during our time volunteering there were 2,000 refugees and the support being received from Britain was scarce.
The majority of people that did give their feedback used the words ‘life’ and ‘saving’.”
“The ever-occurring threat to the people we were looking after was the cold.
“We were constantly giving out tents which have been collected from festival grounds, however, they would soon become ineffective. Blankets and sleeping bags would be wet and dirty, and the waste was extreme.”
Once Justin, Ian, and Pete returned to the UK they started creating mock-ups of various sleeping alternatives that could be used by the homeless. That is when they finalised the design of the current sleep pod.
With the means of seeing if the sleep pods work, Justin built some pods and decided to try them in the streets of Birmingham.
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He said: “I did about a week or so going out to Birmingham with an already established homeless charity and with their support we handed out ten sleep pods at a local soup kitchen.
“Each night I would go back to the same place at the same time to meet the people and gain their feedback.
“The majority of people that did give their feedback used the words ‘life’ and ‘saving’.”
With temperatures low as we head into the coldest months the need is bigger than ever for volunteers and donations.
Sleep Pod UK is hoping to put out another 500 sleep pods this Christmas, to do that they need your help. If you would like to donate or offer your help building the pods, please contact Terri Morgan or access the Sleep Pod UK website.