1863. Bex Wilson
Bex Wilson, from Leeds, is a Deputy Headteacher at an inner-city primary school in the city who created her own charity ‘Zarach’ to reduce bed poverty after discovering one of her pupils did not have a bed to sleep in.
Bex learnt that the child’s family had experienced a crisis and had been required to take up an unplanned house move to an unfurnished property. After making further enquiries, she discovered there was nowhere to make a referral which would guarantee the pupil would have a bed by the end of the week, and decided to take matters into her own hands, purchasing beds and bedding for the family. Realising that many other families across Leeds and Yorkshire face similar situations of being unable to afford an adequate bed for their children, affecting their wellbeing and ability to learn in the classroom due to sleep deprivation, Bex wanted to create her own charity that could deliver beds and related items to those in need. ‘Zarach’, which means “rising light” in Hebrew, has now provided beds to nearly 1,400 children across Yorkshire since 2018 and has grown from a family operation to a team of over 58 volunteers, working with a network of more than 200 schools and partner organisations to receive referrals.
In a personal letter to Bex, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Thank you for all you have done for children across Yorkshire and for the service you have given to your community by founding ‘Zarach’.
“Alongside your team of volunteers, you have delivered donated beds to over 1,400 children ensuring that they get a good night’s sleep. As a Deputy Headteacher, you know the importance of sleep on a child’s ability to learn in the classroom and so you are improving children’s education as well as their health.”
Richard Burgon, MP for East Leeds, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that East Leeds resident Bex Wilson has been rightly recognised in this way for her inspirational work making an incredible difference to children right across our region. She is a real life hero in our midst for setting up and organising the incredible ‘Zarach’ charity on top of working in the incredibly demanding role of Deputy Headteacher in an inner city school. Well over a thousand children here in Yorkshire have been helped and supported by Bex and Zarach. That’s truly incredible. Through changing lives in our region Bex and ‘Zarach’ really have been a light for children in incredibly difficult situations across Yorkshire.”
“In a world full of people going the extra mile, it is an honour to be recognised by our government for what we at ‘Zarach’ have managed to achieve so far. We hope to continue raising awareness of child bed poverty until every head has a bed.”