In 2019, while visiting the Rotary Capetown, Mary Crammond was introduced to Sheltersuit Foundation and Lyn. After seeing a Shelterbag, Mary’s first thought was “We don’t need that in Australia! Our government looks after us”. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent to her that Australia had more people experiencing homelessness than she first realised.

Now, Rotary Terrigal and Sheltersuit have started a project to share shelter with 400 people in the Central Coast region of Australia.

People supported 400
Work provided 466 hours
Mary Crammond from the Rotary Club of Terrigal

Our homeless people get used to being in lockdown, being put in motels and cabins, being nice and warm and comfortable, then they are back on the streets with nothing.

Mary Crammond, Terrigal Rotary
Mary Crammond from the Rotary Club of Terrigal
Mary Crammond from Terrigal Rotary

Getting off the ground

After sharing their intention to start this project, the Terrigal Rotary received their first grant from their Rotary District, Rotary Australia Benevolent Society. This was then matched by Terrigal Rotary.

But Mary thought that more could be, and should be done. So she approached local banks, business  and real estate agents as well as applying for local grants. This combined effort ended up raising the funding for 400 Shelterbags, which arrived in Australia at the beginning of August.

Coast Shelter in North Gosford, New South Wales, Australia

Working together to start a conversation

To make sure the Shelterbags reached those who need them the most, The Rotary Club decided to collaborate with The Salvation Army, Uniting Care and Mary Mac’s Palace. The Rotary Club demonstrated how to use the Shelterbags to these organizations, and also shared their bigger potential. For example, a Shelterbag can start a conversation with people, building trust and sharing other rights and options available to people experiencing homelessness.

This sparked a lot of excitement for everyone, especially the opportunity to form a genuine connection with people experiencing homelessness in the local community.

I'm thinking it's going to be like last lockdown. All my rough sleepers will come back out of temporary accommodation and they will be back out on the streets.

Sally Liedberg, project officer for Mary Mac's
Shelterbags are lightweight, portable, sheltered beds that roll up into a bag.

We’re just getting started

With the succes and the positive impact distributing the first Shelterbags, Mary and the Terrigal Rotary are determined to continue this project.

The next order for 750 Shelterbags will be placed in October 2021, but the goal is to share shelter all over Australia and New Zealand. And with 116.000 people sleeping rough in Australia alone, she aims to get other Rotary Clubs behind this goal too.

Feeling inspired? Get in touch and let’s have a chat

At Sheltersuit, we are always looking for new partnerships to support our mission. Does your company want to support us in protecting the homeless with specially designed solutions while reducing waste and creating new jobs for people with a distance to the labour force? Send me a message and let’s talk.

Lyn Brandon-Podd Render, Sheltersuit Foundation
Lyn Brandon-Podd Render
Sheltersuit South Africa

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