Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue

June – July 2024 : Reflections READ ONLINE


Street Swags

November 12 2009
The ‘walkabout‘ bed now sells to the general public An Australian charity that donates specially designed bed rolls to rough sleepers, has started subsidising its work by selling the 'walkabout bed' to the wider public. Street Swags has been giving out the bags for more than four years now. Each comes with room for extra belongings, and is made of super-lightweight waterproofed canvas, with a high-density foam mattress. It offers comfort, warmth and protection from the weather. Street Swags is tackling its financial problems head-on by creating Walkabout Beds Pty Ltd. All profits are returned to the charity. Designed for emergency relief, the walkabout bed is a modular tent with a thicker full-length mattress that allows families to be sheltered together. However, many teenagers in Queensland have renamed it the 'party swag' as they are easily carted about and used for end-of-year celebrations. In August, Jean Madden the designer behind all of this, won the INDEX Award 2009: People's Choice Award, the largest design award in the world. She beat off competition from the likes of Brad Pitt. But, as with many organisations, Street Swags has been hit by the financial crisis that has rumbled throughout the world over the past year. Madden said: "We have seen the majority of our street swags be given to families who can no longer afford to live anywhere. We have been faced with greater demand whilst receiving less financial assistance from the corporate sector." Despite this, so far the charity has given away over 11,500 street swags to the homeless in Australia. The bed rolls are made by prisoners in centres in Grafton and Woodford and cost around $60 Aussie dollars to make. "The street swags are about keeping people alive, long enough, for the community to take responsibility for their own," Madden added.