Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Street Swag

May 21 2009
More than 2,000 bed rolls reach Australia‘s street homeless population On the streets Down Under, the swag is enjoying a revival, courtesy of a charity that aims to distribute the bed roll to as many street homeless in Oz as possible. Brisbane schoolteacher Jean Madden founded Street Swags in 2005 after seeing a documentary that highlighted the effects of sleep deprivation on the physical and mental health of rough sleepers. Since then, the charity has distributed more than 2,000 swags (bed rolls made of a foam mattress and canvas) through a variety of charitable organisations and schools to Australia's street homeless population. For Aussies, the swag is an Australian icon, made famous by the unofficial anthem 'Once a Jolly Swag Man', a song about a homeless man killed for stealing food. Ms Madden said: "The street swag was specifically designed for homeless people 'sleeping rough'. It provides comfort, warmth and waterproofing, but mostly importantly, doesn't look like bedding being carried." The swag also allows extra room for other personal belongings. Street Swags only supplies those who are sleeping on the streets, but it is fast being recognised as an immediate need. "It's an important base step in helping to ease the detrimental effects of sleeping rough," added Ms Madden. "We can offer these people a level of dignity and stability in that they can carry their bedding and belongings with them discreetly." This year alone, Street Swags plans to distribute 6,000 across the country and also hopes to start distributing in the UK in the not too distant future.