Sam Ashworth is a 21 year old former Mark Rutherford pupil pursuing a career in engineering. Nothing too unusual about that, except Sam is also known as Blanket Boy – his superhero alterego (he’ll hate that! – Ed), determined to help and humanise Bedford’s homeless. “In August 2015 I walked past a homeless guy outside Lurke Street car park. I was about to walk on when I glanced down and noticed he was reading my favourite book, The Great Gatsby,” said Sam. “I went off, bought the guy a cup of tea and sat down with him to chat about the book. That moment made me realise that there is an element of dehumanisation of homelessness in Bedford. I’ve realised that people’s opinions are quite hardended – they believe that these people deserve to be homeless, that they are all addicts, or that they are commercial beggars. I want to change those opinions and encourage Bedfordians to see the human beings who are suffering on the streets.”
Sam began by giving out blankets to rough sleepers and now puts together and distributes Help Kits which include essentials including blankets, water, face wipes and food. “The future of Bedford’s homeless is very bleak,” said Sam. “There is limited social housing, so they have less chance of getting off the streets. Many that I see are malnourished and have stomach ailments.”
If you would like to help Sam help Bedford’s homeless, then please go to his Go Fund Me page and contribute to Outside Help. You can also keep up with the work they are doing on the streets of Bedford by following their Facebook page.
Photo by Cat Lane
To read the rest of the March issue of the Bedford Clanger online, click here.