Radio Sandwell Local News

Inventor creates cardboard beds for Birmingham's homeless

2015-10-31 11:26:07

Elliot LordPeople donate relatively small sums of cash to back the project of their collective choosing at Birmingham Soup.

A project to create cardboard beds for the homeless has won the first of a regular competition to help communities across Birmingham.

The beds are made from discarded packaging which is slotted together to create a stable, dry and comfortable place to sleep for people living on the city's streets.

Elliot Lord's design won the backing of micro-investors at the inaugural Birmingham Soup event.

Inspired by the Detroit Soup initiative the event sees members of the public make donations of £5 or more into a saucepan.

The 85 investors then watch pitches from people with ideas to improve people's lives in Birmingham, discuss the ideas over soup and then vote for the one idea they most want to support.

Pitching his idea to the group at the Digbeth home of innovation group Impact Hub he described how he'd spoken to people sleeping rough in his hometown of Wolverhampton.

"Apart form the obvious of being really cold they say it also makes their bones ache - it goes right through you.

"Their shoulders, their hips and their spine they wake up constantly with this kind of pain."

The beds are free to make, can be flat-packed for easy transportation and can be waterproofed using large plastic sheets or bin bags.

After asking people to trial a prototype Lord said one man described it as "'the best night's sleep I've had on the streets."

Mr Lord added: ""What they said is that it's basically like sleeping on a normal bed.

"Whereas normally homeless people might wake up ten times a night because of the cold and the pain as I've just described, one couple who tried the first one out for me said they woke up twice - and that was to go to the toilet."

Elliot LordElliot Lord tests out the card bed.

Mr Lord first developed the beds in September but says he received no support from homeless charities he approached.

After winning the backing of Birmingham Soup - along with their £380 - he hopes to see the beds used wherever they are needed and insists he will not copyright the design in a bid to get people making them.

"It's absolutely phenomenal is the best word to describe this.

"Having won this project and hearing from people the support and the belief that they have had in this means so much and it gives me a lot of belief and inspiration and motivation to take this forward.

What's ultimately the best thing about this event happening is that I've been able to meet lots of other people."

Scroll down to see how the card beds are assembled and follow this link to find out how to make them from scratch.

Find out more about the project at or email your questions to Elliot and the team at

Elliot LordEating soup at Birmingham Soup.

Elliot Lord

Elliot Lord

Elliot Lord

Elliot Lord

The next Birmingham Soup is scheduled for Saturday, November 14 at Impact Hub Birmingham, Walker Building
58 Oxford Street, Digbeth, B5 5NR.

Visit to find out more.

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