Burnie High School

Students raise funds

Burnie High School students with the Street Swags are (from left) Jesse Streets, 13, Dylan Marshall, 15, Sebastian Leaman, 14, teacher Anne Newman, Natayla Williams, 14, Vin Hindmarsh of St Vincent de Paul and teacher's assistant Edwin Wood.

Students raise funds for homeless shelters

A dedicated group of students from Burnie High School have worked tirelessly to raise money to support homeless people.

The students washed cars to raise $240, enough to buy four Street Swags.

Burnie teacher Anne Newman said the group saw an advertisement on TV about a homeless lady who had been given a Street Swag and the difference it made to her life.

"Teachers would book in their cars to get washed.  We try to do things for people in our community every year," Ms Newman said.

Fifteen-year-old Dylan Marshall said the experience would make him want to help with other causes.

"I feel sorry for people living on the streets, it's good to help them," Dylan said.

The project to raise money was championed by teacher's assistant, Edwin Wood.

"We loved to help people out that are less fortunate than us . . .  the students loved it," Mr Wood said.

Mr Wood said the Street Swags were made out of durable, waterproof material with an in-built mattress.

They can also be used to hold clothes and personal belongings and a flap can be unfolded and used like a tent.

The group of students presented the four swags to St Vincent de Paul Society state president Vin Hindmarsh last week.

Mr Hindmarsh said the connection with the school community was important.

"If you've got something you can throw over your shoulder it's great," Mr Hindmarsh said.


  • What is a Street Swag?

A carry bag by day and a basic bed and shelter by night.
It was designed to be discreet so as not to identify people as homeless.
Has two layers of canvas under a person's feet but no foam, so the user has a thicker mattress under their body, with extra room for belongings.
The cover sheet can be used as a blanket or strung up like a lean-to style tent.
Street Swags can be made into 'double beds' by placing two side by side with one upside-down, so that both cover sheets come inwards.
A light weight canvas called Coolabah and high density foam are used to make the Street Swags.
Most of the swags are distributed to the homeless by organisations including, The St. Vincent de Paul Society, The Salvation Army and Mission Australia.

Story by Holly Monery, The Advocate