A SOMERSET resident has decided to help the homeless using crisp packets – and people from around the UK have pledged their support.

Miley Porritt, 23, from Frome, has been creating survival blankets for the homeless made from washed crisp packets.

Mr Porritt, who was homeless himself until he moved into a flat in October, decided he wanted to do something give back to the charities who supported him.

He posted the idea on Facebook on November 2 and the post has now reached more than six million people - many of whom are donating crisp packets or having a go at making blankets themselves.

“I came across the idea and started campaigning to get it across the country,” Mr Porritt said.

“I didn’t expect the response it got, but now it has turned into a proper campaign and we are working with charities all over the UK.

“Now we – I say ‘we’ as there are now so many people who are involved - are starting to get donations and we’re going to get volunteers to help make the blankets after lockdown.

“We are also fundraising to continue making the blankets and help the homeless in any way we can.

“I’ve spoken to charities and they are running out of sleeping bags and blankets and they are telling me this product will save lives.

“It was meant to be a small thing, I thought I would just raise a bit of money to give back. Now hopefully I will be able to help as many people as possible.”

Somerset County Gazette:

BLANKETS: Miley is calling on people to help by making their own blankets or sending over their used and washed crisp packets

After being homeless himself, Mr Porritt wanted to help others in a similar situation and raise awareness of young homelessness and mental health.

“There is a big problem with young homeless and mental health – I’ve seen it firsthand and I know a lot of friends who have seen it firsthand too,” he added.

“I know it must have had an impact on a lot of other people.

“I was homeless because I had a few family issues. I was adopted at a young age and it just didn’t work out. I am back on my feet now thanks to the YMCA Mendip – I lived with them for five years.

“I’ve always been able to move out but it has just not been possible due to my mental health. Now it is about time really and I am in a really good place to do it.

“I want homelessness to be addressed, it is sad in this time that I am having to do this on my own because charities are running out of blankets.

“When I was homeless, a blanket like this would have been extra help. There were nights when I was just using a jacket to keep me warm.

“The blankets can be used for sitting on, to wrap around yourself as well – they are thick, waterproof and warm.

“It reminds the homeless there are people out there who care about them.”

Somerset County Gazette:

CRISP PACKETS: Make your own blankets with the help from The Iron Man's Facebook Page

YMCA Mendip played a huge role in helping Mr Porritt to find his feet – and wanting to find a way to repay them was one reason he started the project.

Abby Williams, accommodation and support manager at the Frome Foyer, said: “What a pleasure it has been supporting Miley through his individual pathway to independence.

“He has faced many challenges but has used all the support available to him from YMCA. I am so proud of all he has achieved, and it reminds us all that our role is worthwhile.”

So far, the project has raised £2,114 to keep the project going and to support the homeless.

To donate to the project visit gofundme.com/f/zkht93-survival-blankets-for-the-homeless

“I couldn’t be happier for the project,” Mr Porritt added.

“I’ve always cared about the environment and I have always liked making something out of nothing.

“I also love crisps (prawn cocktail is my favourite) too so it’s a win win.”

To find out more visit Iron Man Survival Blankets on Facebook.