Entrepreneur Peter Dawe creates ‘sleeping bin’ for the homeless
Multimillionaire entrepreneur Peter Dawe has fashioned a ‘sleep pod’ out of two wheelie bins which he claims would help rough sleepers stay dry at night.
He admits the idea has been met with some consternation, calling it a ‘Marmite design’ that people either love or hate.
But he now plans to make a YouTube video showing people how to create their own pod, which he says cost just £100.
Mr Dawe, who stood as a Brexit Party candidate for the Cambridge seat in last December’s General Election, said: “My hope is that, if it works and homeless people like them, it will go global and people will be using these as sleep pods around the world.”
He added: “It is a Marmite design. Some people think it’s absolute genius, some people are actually horrified. ‘Oh you can’t put homeless people in rubbish bins’, they say. My argument is I’m not putting homeless people in there, they are choosing it.
“All I’m doing is mitigating the rough sleeping environment into something a bit more comfortable and secure. But those are the typical two responses to them.”
The businessman, from Ely, said he first hit on the idea of using the bins as a place to sleep when he built a prototype of a single person car, also made from a bin.
“I was messing around with them and got in and found it was dry and warm. Secondly, it is unbelievably easy to make – it is two wheelie bins with four saw cuts and couple of bolts.
“A wheelie bin costs £50, so two wheelie bins is £100. I chose it because they are cheap and ubiquitous – they are a global thing.
“It was just one of those bright spark ideas – I thought this might work. So I put one together and got in it and thought ‘yeah this does work’. Now all we have got to do is
figure out whether rough sleepers think it is a good idea.
“I will produce a YouTube video about how to make them – it really is so trivial that they will probably go off and make some modifications that make them better.”
Asked whether he had tried sleeping in one of the pods himself, Mr Dawe replied: “I have laid in one for some tens of minutes.
“It would be nice if they were slightly bigger, but that’s what wheelie bins are.
“One of the issues of being a rough sleeper is being kicked and urinated upon and it protects you from that, although we will need to provide them with cycle locks so people don’t decide to drag you off somewhere inside the wheelie bin. There are some horrible people out there, unfortunately.”
He added that the converted bins could have other practical uses for anyone sleeping rough, saying: “During the day you put one wheelie bin inside the other, put the lid back on and now they can store their spare clothes that have you in a reasonably watertight space.”
He took two of the prototypes to outside Jimmy’s shelter in Cambridge.
However, even after demonstrating how the pods could be used, there appeared to be no takers.
Mr Dawe said: “What I would like to see is someone funding the design of a purpose-built sleep pod that we could deploy at £100 a unit that has solar panels, windows and an interior
light and was easy to use. But let’s just test whether rough sleepers want to huddle down in a plastic pod.”
A spokesperson from Jimmy’s stressed that the charity had nothing to do with the project.
More by this authorAlex Spencer