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Stepping up fight against homelessness

The Sheltersuit Foundation is a non-profit social venture which designs and manufactures products that provide immediate shelter to people experiencing homelessness.

Sheltersuit UK, a branch of the foundation, is collaborating with Vango, one of Europe’s leading camping and outdoor equipment brands, to produce its Sheltersuits and Shelterbags.

Established in the Netherlands in 2014, the Sheltersuit Foundation produces two core products, the Sheltersuit and the Shelterbag. Production and distribution of these products are fully mobilised on a global scale in the USA and South Africa with operations emerging in the UK over the coming months.

The Sheltersuit is a warm, wind and waterproof jacket with an optional sleeping bag attachment that provides immediate shelter. The Sheltersuit consists of a jacket, sleeping bag and duffel bag, all made from high-quality, breathable tent fabric and the inner lining is made from upcycled sleeping bags to provide high levels of insulation.

The Shelterbag is a lighter solution, which is robust enough for the UK climate. It is a portable, sheltered bed which rolls up into a waterproof, lightweight bag. It has a built-in pillow with room for an extra sleeping bag making it adaptable for all seasons.

A flexible tent pole is integrated into the hood to keep it upright, providing more space and better shelter from the rain.

The eco-friendly outdoor brand, Vango, has committed to recycling its end-of-life tent and sleeping bag fabrics and fillings for Sheltersuit UK to upcycle and design the Sheltersuits and Shelterbags for the homeless. Sheltersuit Foundation has upcycled over 21,000kg of materials to date and Vango will now contribute to increasing that number, further reinforcing the outdoor brand’s sustainable business credentials.

Significant stocks of materials have already been donated by Vango which are in Sheltersuit’s London workshops ready for full production. Sheltersuit UK are also importing Shelterbags from its overseas workshops for distribution to the homeless in England and Wales, and these are supplemented with sleeping bags donated by Vango.

Rob Birrell, Vango’s marketing director, said: ‘For over a decade Vango has been an industry leader working towards a more sustainable future for camping and environmental responsibility, through our offering of services to help reduce the volume of camping equipment ending up in landfill. We are delighted to have now introduced a new partnership with Sheltersuit UK, taking our environmental goals a step further.

‘From our recently launched Earth Collection, which has been made using almost two million recycled single-use plastics, our “Spares and Repairs” service which is focused on extending the life of Vango kit, to our Camping Recycled outlet giving used gear a second life. Now, through our partnership with Sheltersuit UK, we are another step forward in improving our sustainable business practices, so we too, can do our part for the great outdoors.’

Ian Sutherland McCook, the Sheltersuit Foundation UK managing director, added: ‘We are extremely pleased to welcome Vango on board as a partner. Our partners make it possible for us to make Sheltersuits and Shelterbags, to give warmth and protection, and to create jobs for people most in need. Vango are generously providing lifesaving materials for us to upcycle into these survival products for the homeless and support the employment of former refugees and former homeless individuals.’

The original Sheltersuit concept was developed by Bas Timmer, a fashion designer from Enschede. Bas founded the Sheltersuit Foundation in 2014 after a friend’s father passed away on the streets due to hypothermia. Since that date, more than 14,000 Sheltersuits have been manufactured and distributed globally.

For more information on Vango’s sustainable business practices visit HERE.

For more information on the Sheltersuit Foundation visit HERE.