Laura Furnifer, a member of the structural design team at a packaging company in Devon has been busy helping to design a bed made out of cardboard which she, along with a group of volunteers, will be using for a fund-raising Sleep Out’ due to take place in Barnstaple on Tuesday 30th October.
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The ‘Sleep Out’ Event has been organised to raise awareness for the homeless and in particular ‘rough sleepers’ and to raise funds for Encompass, a local charity working with the homeless offering valuable support and information. The event has been organised by a group of young people at Ayres Close, part of Independent Futures and will take place at the Mount, beside Barnstaple Library, from 7..00pm until 7.00am the following morning.
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When Laura from Atlas Packaging first heard about the initiative, she immediately wanted to get involved. ‘It’s such a challenge and for such a good cause. I really wanted to participate by taking part in the actual sleep out’ she said. ‘Then I thought about how Atlas might be able to use their skills as a business to add more value and make sleeping rough a warmer and more comfortable experience. Here in the design department we are always being presented with new challenges from constructing corrugated Formula 1 cars to creating structural packaging for pretty much any product you can think of. So, we thought, why not a bed? Our Managing Director was delighted for us to pursue the idea and has now commissioned us to create a bed for each participating volunteer. These will then be donated to Encompass for those in need in our local area.’
Following field research amongst rough sleepers in Barnstaple, Laura, under the tutelage of Design Manager, David King, has helped to design a 100% recyclable corrugated bed which is based around the idea of using divisions to keep the sleeper away from the floor. ‘The divisions create cells which trap air and heat from the sleeper to dramatically decelerate the rate of heat loss. We have also chosen a strong board grade to allow the bed to be as durable as possible for maximum use’ Laura continued.
Laura is 27 and has always lived in North Devon. Having completed her A Levels, she went to Sussex University where she undertook a BSc Product Design degree in the School of Engineering. Thirteen months ago, she decided to choose a career where she could put the skills she had learnt at university to use. She was snapped up by the Design Department at Atlas where she has been ever since.
Commenting on the ‘Sleep Out’ challenge, Laura said: ‘I’ve experienced low temperatures before, having spent lots of winters snowboarding at high altitudes. But sleeping out is a whole different ball game. I’m determined to stay the course and raise some money for this fantastic cause.’