By Jed Lanyon
The Rotary Club of Lilydale hosted the Swaggie Bush Dance at Wandin North Hall on Saturday 11 May to raise money towards backpack bed swags for homeless people in the Yarra Ranges.
The dance event raised $2400 which will allow local charity organisation Holy Fools to purchase of 20 swags.
Rotary Club of Lilydale president Ron Haines said that around 140 people attended the event and that they had originally hoped to raise $800.
“The idea came from our exchange student from Germany Philipp Woedl who wanted to raise funds for a local charity before he goes back home in July.
“I was very proud to see so many people enjoying themselves and would like to thank all the many people that made the night so successful,” he said.
“There were several other exchange students that attended from Brazil, Italy and Germany.”
Mr Haines said it was wonderful to see so many young people and the not so young enjoying the music and joining in with the bush dance.
Holy Fools CEO Neal Taylor shared how handy the swags are for those sleeping rough.
“They are very helpful. If you have to sleep rough they are probably one of the best ways of surviving.
“The backpack beds are totally waterproof and fireproof. They provide shelter for the night so you can pretty much sleep anywhere and out of the way,” he said.
They’re comfortable in that they have a little bit of a mattress in them as well.
“They’re designed to help the homeless in the sense that it has a lot of pockets and places to store things like clothing… They’re fantastic but I wish we didn’t have to use them,” Mr Taylor said.