The cost of living crisis has revealed how hundreds of children and their parents often don’t even have a bed to sleep in at night.
But today the Good Night Project is being launched in the city to try and end this situation and ensure everyone has a bed of their own, where they can get a good night’s sleep.
The project is the latest initiative by the City of Wolverhampton Council with key partners to combat the awful situations some families have found themselves in particularly since the cost of living crisis.
Around 1500 beds and bedding items have been given out over the last 12 months with 60% of these going to children. The problem first came to light through applications to the Household Support Fund – the money being distributed by the Government through Local Authorities to help with the cost of living.
Those in need can apply for emergency help from the fund with one off household expenses like food and energy or household items. It became obvious many residents were asking for essential items like beds and bedding.
The council launched its Financial Wellbeing Strategy last summer with partners in a one city approach to ensure those in poverty could still reach their full potential and build better lives not just for themselves now, but for their families for generations to come.
Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield said:
‘Since that launch, the cost of living crisis has affected everyone to some degree, but with some being affected far more than others. It’s shocking in this day and age that some children don’t even have a bed to sleep in at night.
‘We’ve shown as a council and with the help of our great partners that we’re determined as one city to do all we can to help those that need it most through these tough times.
‘A good night’s sleep is essential to us all and is one of the fundamental things we need to thrive and grow. Children need good sleep to do their best in school and build bright futures where they can fulfil their ambitions.
‘It saddens me that a project like this is needed, but I’m glad we’ve been able to launch this with our partners to try and ensure every child and indeed every person in the city can have a bed to call their own.’
African Caribbean Community Initiative and Rachel Smith, of the Wolves Foundation
The Good Night Project started on Monday, 20 March with a 3 day exhibition in the Civic Centre to shine a spotlight on the issue.
The Wolves Foundation, one of the key partners and the official charity of Wolverhampton Wanderers, is helping to reach more people in need by referring individuals from across the city and administrating the project.
Already providing food poverty support, with more than 200,000 meals delivered in 2022, the Good Night Project enables the charity to assist in other areas.
Tom Warren, Senior Manager for Projects at the Foundation, said:
‘The Feed Our Pack project has made a huge difference to the community over recent years, particularly post pandemic.
‘But with the cost of living crisis affecting so many people, we’re aware the need has grown beyond that of just food. So we’re delighted to be again working in partnership to deliver The Good Night Project, which will be another important addition to what we can offer.
‘Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep and it is vital for mental and physical wellbeing.’
Alicia Spence, from the other key partner, the African Caribbean Community Initiative said:
‘ACCI as a charity has operated in Wolverhampton for over 30 years. ACCI’s involvement with the Good Night project came out of the Mi Friendly Cities initiative, which helped hundreds of vulnerable people set up a new home in Wolverhampton.
‘We have worked with families and individuals that when we first met did not even have the basics, like somewhere to sit, sleep or even prepare a basic meal. For a lot of people we helped, their situation had eroded their sense of self worth and dignity.
‘The Household Support Fund has helped ACCI give people the essentials they need to improve their lives and build a more positive outlook for the future.
‘At ACCI we believe we share a common humanity with everyone and as such our involvement with the Good Night Project helps us fulfil that goal by providing the opportunity to help people get a good night’s sleep.
‘Our recent involvement has helped a mum and baby who were sleeping on blankets on the floor get a bed and a cot. The bed base and cot were preloved and donated to us, the Good Night project provided new clean mattresses and bedding.
‘ACCI is looking forward to a positive future partnership with the City Council and the Wolves Foundation.’
Government Minister, Mims Davies, praised the project on a visit to the council today.
The Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, said:
‘We introduced the Household Support Fund in 2020 to help the most vulnerable with essential costs in the face of unprecedented, but temporary pressures. It is distributed through councils because they know their local areas best and I’m pleased Wolverhampton Council are creating long term change to support those in need with their £13 million allocation.
‘This is an excellent example of national Government, local council and partners working together and I encourage other councils to follow Wolverhampton’s lead in using the Household Support Fund to both identify local issues and then develop long term support to combat them.’
- The Good Night Project is a community led partnership aiming to reduce bed poverty and ensure everyone in Wolverhampton has a good night’s sleep in a suitable bed.
- ‘Bed poverty’ is a term used to describe a situation where a person does not have access to a bed and a situation in which a household does not have enough income to afford necessary items.
- Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to health and wellbeing. It is as essential to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing, and is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health. Sleeping helps to repair and restore our brains, not just our bodies. (Mental health.org.uk)
- Bed bases, mattresses and bedding are all items that will be given out by the project. Some items will be new, but some will be pre-loved items, which have been recycled and refurbished by ACCI.
Find out more, including how to apply and donate, by visiting the website The Good Night Project.