Big Bed Build event at Discovery Park gets Thanet children ‘Off The Floor’

The Big Bed Build at Discovery Park

More Thanet children who would have been sleeping on the floor will now have beds thanks to volunteers from businesses at Discovery Park.

More than 140 volunteers took part in a Big Bed Build project to support Thanet charity  The Iceberg Project, its Off The Floor initiative and the families it helps.

Off The Floor is a scheme launched in April by the project, run by Alexander Roarke -known just as Roarke- and Ann Newstead, who also head up  The Lounge community café on Westwood Industrial Estate.

The aim of the scheme is to build wooden beds and provide them to every family in Thanet who needs them.

An estimated 300 children in Thanet are sleeping on the floor, sofas or sharing beds with siblings because families are living below the poverty line.

Roarke says Off The Floor has been inundated with requests for help with many families saying their children are using coats as a mattress.

The Big Bed Build project was led by Cummins Inc, which has Thanet Iceberg as a community partner. On the day, the volunteers were set the task of playing their part in helping the estimated children who currently have to sleep on sofas or the floor at night. The target for the day was to make the next batch of 90 beds as part of the scheme.

Volunteers were recruited from 14 firms and Discovery Park donated the space for the team to work in and assemble and paint the wooden beds during six hours at the science and innovation park near Sandwich.

Cummins staff Ya-Wen Chang, Andy Underwood, Dave Fright, Richard Lee, Andrew Stockbridge at the Big Bed Build.

Andy Underwood, Director at Cummins, said: “After supporting the local community over the years, we know only too well that many families across Thanet and East Kent are struggling, and the current cost of living crisis is making it even harder. It’s been great to work alongside other businesses at Discovery Park and support the important work of Thanet Iceberg.”

Seven of the volunteers were refugees from Cummins’ community partner, the Kent Refugee Action Network, who came along to help build the beds.


Roarke said: “There is no easy answer for the problem in our region, but when 140 people get together to support projects like this it is a great step in the right direction to making the future a brighter place for the people of Thanet.

The charity supplied the wood from donations for the volunteers to put together. The completed beds and mattresses will be delivered by Thanet Iceberg to families across the isle.

Companies from Discovery Park and the community that took part included Cummins, Pfizer, Viatris, Kent Renewable Energy, Sterling Cross, Adastra, The Animation Company, Rogers and Co, Woodley Coles, Evolve Therapeutic Fostering, Tiscali, Instant Impact and Natwest.

The Lounge is one of the Thanet Iceberg projects

Established in 2018, Thanet Iceberg Project helps individuals and households across Thanet to combat the causes of poverty whilst overcoming its symptoms. They run three projects, The Lounge, where the community can come together for a drink and a snack, The Loft, where pre-loved furniture and small household items are given to those who need them – encompassing the Off The Floor project – and Crossroads to offer advice, support and where needed, practical assistance.

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