Rotary clubs in Staffordshire are asking people in Lichfield and Burntwood to support a project aiming to help rough sleepers.

Heart of England Rotary Clubs are backing the Sleep Pod Charity.

More than 5,300 pods – which are rain and wind-resistant – have already been produced.

One of the sleep pods

The idea was the brainchild of former rotarian Justin Devereux and friends Ian Ashby and Pete Kenyon, who set up the charity after working at a refugee camp in Dunkirk in 2015.

They have since begun manufacturing the shelters and distributing them for emergency use on the streets via local organisations.

Justin said:

“This is something that has been incredibly well received but is so simple as a concept.

“I don’t think I will ever find anything else that will allow me to have so much of an impact on other people’s lives.

“A sleep pod is not a long-term solution. It is an emergency shelter only.

“The charity will write their contact details of someone on a sticker which is added to the pod because it’s very important that, as part of the process, Sleep Pod users know there is a charity local to them that can, and will, provide them with accommodation on a more permanent basis.

“Nobody deserves to sleep on the streets.”

Justin Devereux

More than 2,500 volunteers have supported the charity through fundraising as well as becoming Sleep Pod corporate partners and taking part in build workshops.

But during the lockdown, the organisation had to improvise and created a scheme where volunteers could collect materials and instructions before building the pods and dropping them back ready for distribution.

Sleep pods waiting to be distributed

“One of the reasons build at home has been successful is because people have been able to be productive in the safety of their own home while not going out.

“It has empowered people to continue to be able to make a difference. 

“Our vision is that these pods get built all year round – there is constantly a need somewhere.

“What we want to be able to achieve is to have enough sleep pods for the people that need them whenever and wherever they are.”

Justin Devereux

Staffordshire Rotary Clubs spokesperson Terri Morgan, said:

“Whether it be fundraising or volunteering their time to help build the pods, rotarians are committed to helping the homeless within our communities.

“Please get in touch if you can help in any way.”

Terri Morgan

For more information on the charity or how to get involved visit www.sleeppod.org.uk, email rotarysleeppod@gmail.com or call 07704 713157.

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