There is a teacher zipping about Leeds delivering beds. Over the last few years Bex Wilson has helped get 1,400 beds and bedding to the most in-need children in the city. There is a film about Bex on the BBC website. She is one of those good, indomitable people who see a problem and decide to do what they can to fix it.
She arrives at a house, a house stalked by poverty, tells children she had heard they were great but could be even greater if they had a good night’s sleep, and like Nanny McPhee she helps them and then heads off into the city air. She’s careful to make sure the children don’t feel embarrassed about their situation.
“It’s just not right in 2021 that, in Britain, we have children that don’t have a bed,” she says, simply. She’s right, of course.
Watching Wilson at work, the scale of the problem facing many in Britain is reinforced. The families she helps are on the edge juggling with what they have – for example, to repair a washing machine, an essential piece of kit with small children in the house, or to use the money to buy a new bed for one of the kids. You see the reality and you feel an urge to rip everything down and start again. The inequity and the inequality drip with that metallic taste of injustice. It makes angry Roy Keanes of us all.
But just being angry won’t help things. Helping helps. As Wilson said, some people argue that what she is doing is just a sticking plaster. Maybe. But in that moment that is EXACTLY what is needed.
I took part in a radio debate last week, hosted by the peerless Colin Murray.