Posted on Monday, 18 April 2016

A $2,000 Canterbury League Club donation has helped St Patrick’s Church Hill purchase 30 backpack beds to be given out to homeless people sleeping rough on the streets.

The backpack beds, designed by charity group Swags for Homeless, is an all- weather shelter and foldable bed made from waterproof and fire retardant material. When it isn’t being used, it rolls back into its backpack for easy portability with built-in storage pockets and a lockable internal pocket.

Sister Fidelis McTeigue of St Patrick’s Church Hill first got the idea to distribute these beds after speaking to the people who attend the church’s breakfast program for the homeless.

“When blankets get wet, which is a regular occurrence for the homeless, the blankets get very smelly. The blankets also pick up all the dirt and dust which makes them even more unpleasant. However, the major difficulty for the homeless is getting the blankets washed as they are not able to wash them in a regular domestic washing machine,” said Sr Fidelis.

“I was searching online to see if there was an easier solution; perhaps small warm blankets that could fit in a regular washing machine. It was then that I came across the Backpack Beds. These seemed like a brilliant answer and so I set about raising money for the backpack beds.”

According to Sr Fidelis, most recipients of the backpack beds have said they are getting much better sleep and feel safer and warmer.

“People who face homelessness sometimes find it difficult to enter emergency accommodation, so it is vital that they have access to this type of humane crisis bedding which keeps them warm and protected especially heading into the winter months. Canterbury is proud to help Sr Fidelis purchase these backpack beds,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.