Meet the teen making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Pic...

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A 16-year-old army cadet from Cambridgeshire is keeping busy in lockdown making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets.

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Pic...

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Press Release

Sergeant Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is taking on the task in a bid to complete the volunteering module of his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The teen’s idea, aptly named the ‘Crisp Packet Project’, was invented by a Pen Huston in 2019 to create a cost-effective solution to keep rough sleepers warm.

Rhyder said: “Everything is made out of crisp packets and plastic that is melted together.

“Because crisp packets are made from foil, they keep a lot of heat in, which makes them really good to give out to help the homeless.

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Pic...

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant


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“I started doing this because it helps me give back to the community while also passing my volunteering section of the DofE Award.”

Foil-lined packets are melted together with an iron, on low heart, to form large sheets.

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These are then covered with plastic sheeting, also ironed on, and then joined to form bivvy bags, large sized outer bags which will fit around a regular sleeping bag,

Rhyder has advertised for crisp packets on the Cambridgeshire Army cadet Force Facebook page and on other community discussion pages.

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Pic...

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

This was noticed by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire who interviewed him on November 24 and broadcast it the following morning.

The BBC also tweeted a short video about his activities; this publicity has resulted in more than 300 crisp packets already arriving.

Each sleeping bag will be packaged up with a donation of gloves and hat and distributed to food banks and other charities where they can best reach those in need.

150 packets are needed to make one sleeping bag, meaning he will require many more.

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Pic...

Sixteen-year-old Rhyder Cameron-Wickes from March is making sleeping bags for the homeless out of recycled crisp packets. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Rhyder added: “As of right now there is no target for how many bivvy bags I want to make, but I am aiming to continue making them to the end of next year.

“I’m feeling good about the project, there have been great responses to it from the public saying that they are willing to share it around, support it and send their crisp packets to our drop off points and it’s also a rewarding way to spend any spare time I have.”

Army cadet instructor Ros Whyall said: “DofE has been very challenging during lockdown.

“Sgt Cameron-Wickes has excelled himself during these difficult times, not only by completing his Silver Certificate of Achievement but progressing onto his Gold award and set about this brilliant idea.

“Not only is he helping those that are less fortunate in the community, but he has also asked other cadets enrolled on their award to support him, should they need to complete their volunteering section.

“This is a great project and I wish him the best of luck in completing it.”

Empty crisp packets should be cleaned and flattened before posting or delivering to the FACT charity located at 5 Martin Avenue, March PE15 0AY.

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