One of Leeds’s most prominent philanthropic teachers has spent the past four years fighting “bed poverty”. He has delivered mattresses, pillows, and duvets for nearly 1,400 needy children. 

Rebekah Wilson (33), a deputy headteacher from Leeds, founded Zarach, her charity in the city, in 2017. She was inspired by a student in English who revealed that he had spent months sleeping on the ground with his siblings because they did not have one.

One boy reported that he was unable to focus after rubbing his stomach. The boy was irritated by the fact that the mattress he used to sleep on had bed bugs. He was able to itch throughout school.

Another photo shared by the charity on social media shows a child’s bedroom with no carpet and covered in clutter. A second pupil had to be moved from her mother’s house due to concerns that her ceiling would collapse.

These are just some of the heartbreaking stories that inspired the teacher to take action.

Rebekah said to the BBC, “It’s wrong that in 2021 in Britain we have children who don’t have beds.” 

“Children will never get an education which can end that cycle without a healthy diet and enough sleep. A bed is not a starting point.

Deputy headteacher Rebekah Wilson, 33, from Leeds, (pictured) set up the Zarach in 2017 after one of her pupils revealed he and his siblings had slept on the floor for months because they didn't own a bed

Rebekah, 33-year-old deputy headteacher from Leeds (pictured), set up Zarach in 2017. This was after one her pupils disclosed that she and his siblings had spent months sleeping on the floor because they couldn’t afford a bed.

Bex explains that school referrals are 'only ever increasing' and points to the fact she has delivered beds to every postcode in the Leeds area as evidence of the widespread impact of 'bed poverty' in the UK

 Bex explains that school referrals are ‘only ever increasing’ and points to the fact she has delivered beds to every postcode in the Leeds area as evidence of the widespread impact of ‘bed poverty’ in the UK

Rebekah says that school referrals have been ‘only increasing’. She points out the fact that she delivered beds in every Leeds postcode to show the extent of bed poverty in the UK.

Her memory is of being in an English class teaching first graders about irregular tense verbs when she received the news that some students weren’t getting enough sleep. 

‘I realised I had a choice; to be satisfied that I’m teaching him grammar because it’s what I’m paid to do, or to continue to be the best teacher I can be whilst also using my time and influence to make sure every child in our city has their basic needs met, gets a good night’s sleep and an equal opportunity’.

She decided not to join the increasing number of people who are complaining about child poverty or a lack support for those without beds. 

Rebekah set out to aid other children who were living in poverty. Zarach was named in Hebrew after the Hebrew term for “rising sun” in 2018.  

Zarach’s father offered to let Zarach use his storage space for free after Zarach contacted local bed-businesses and received orders. 

Rebekah, after spending a day teaching Shakespeare Primary School in Leeds and getting to know the school, gets behind the wheel and drives a van that delivers mattresses, pillows and pyjamas for the needy in the city. 

According to her, “All of us can only have a few bad days or make bad decisions. We all need similar support.” [Zarach] offer.

People sometimes think that we can just continue giving out things. But, the truth is, you have to find a solution. We will keep giving beds out, even if there are five or six children sharing one bed with us, because they have the right to.

“It might look like it’s putting a plaster over a very big problem, but that child still has to have a bed no matter what the reason.

“Whatever occurred before this child, at that instant, that child will be still sleeping on the floor if we don’t intervene. And that’s the difference we make. 

The most disturbing image is of a 7-year-old girl’s bedroom in disarray. It has no bed, carpet, or other furnishings.

Bex shared a post earlier in the year about a fundraiser. It is not an option. 

“One thing all stories have in common is that a child has a parent/s who are brokenhearted and struggling to make ends meets. This is what the photo of the mother shows.

After a full day of teaching at a primary school in Leeds, Rebekah gets behind the wheel of a van and delivers beds, mattresses, pyjamas, pillows and more to desperate families in the city during her free time in the evenings

Rebekah spends a day teaching in Leeds and then gets in a van to deliver beds, mattresses, pyjamas and pillows to families needing them.

Rebekah was determined to help other children living in destitute conditions, so set up her charity Zarach, named after the Hebrew for 'to rise [as the sun]', in 2018

Rebekah set out to aid other children who were living in poverty. She named her charity Zarach after Hebrew word for “to rise”. [as the sun]In 2018, ‘

Instead of joining the growing number of voices complaining about child poverty and a lack of support for kids without beds, she decided to do something about it

She decided not to join the increasing number of voices condemning child poverty and lack of support for children without beds.

Zarach was founded in 2017 and has raised tens to thousands of pounds in Leeds to fight child poverty.

They have received praises on social media for their work over the last four years. 

Kavitha madhurt stated that she takes a good night’s sleep and our beds for granted. Thank you Zarach, for raising awareness about the fact that not all children in Britain have this.

Zarach’s work was shared by an additional online commenter. Although it is sad that these children find themselves in this position, 

Mattress Online described their delight at the opportunity to help the charity. 

'Bed poverty', where a child doesn't have their own bed to sleep in, is an issue of growing concern that appears to be spreading rapidly across the UK. Above: A seven-year-old's bedroom in Leeds without carpet

Bed poverty, which is when a child does not have their own bedroom, seems to be a rapidly growing issue in Britain. Above: This is a seven-year old’s Leeds bedroom without carpet.

Statistics from children's charity Buttle UK show 30 per cent of families on low incomes struggled to afford beds for their children in 2020

Buttle UK, a children’s charity that provides beds to children with low incomes, has released statistics showing that 30% of these families struggled to pay for children’s beds in 2020.

Leeds home broken ceiling

Leeds bedroom no carpet

One child’s bedroom was shown in other photos shared on the charity’s social networks (right) One pupil had to be moved from her Leeds mother’s home because she was afraid her bedroom ceiling would collapse under damp conditions (left).

“Bed poverty” is a growing problem that seems to be rapidly spreading across the UK. This refers to children who don’t own their bed. 

Buttle UK statistics show that 30% of children from low-income households struggled to get beds for their kids in 2020.

The number of applications for Chances for Children grant funding increased by 68% in 2020/21. In all, Buttle UK provided 1,921 bedding items to struggling families at a cost of £448,409 this year.

Zarach's efforts over the past four years have not gone unnoticed, with people taking to social media to praise the charity's 'life-changing work'

Zarach’s work over the last four years has been well-received by people who took to social media to thank the charity for its ‘life-changing’ efforts.