When Friction Collective met Jasper Thompson

An amazing thing is happening in Bristol and it’s culminating in the form of bright yellow painted, corrugated steel. Jasper Thompson, owner of Jasper’s Jamaican Diner is the founder of Help Bristol’s Homeless, a charity which has been converting shipping containers into living accommodation, providing shelter for those who are without somewhere they can call home.

Bristol has a the second highest number of homeless people in England; figures have doubled since 2011.

We went down to the diner to speak to Jasper and to check out the containers. The first thing noticeable thing about Jasper is that he is a busy man, running the restaurant and charity ‘Help Bristol’s Homeless’ is by no means breezy, though he is surprisingly calm in demeanour.

Jasper who is an ex army major, explains how he first began helping people around the streets of Bristol. “It’s funny, you don’t quite notice until you’re looking. I had a bit of spare time on my hands and I just thought to myself, ‘I’m going to do something to help.”

Jasper posted a call-out on Facebook asking if anyone could donate any spare clothes and along with his wife Tania, who now also runs the charity, they went onto the streets of Bristol and gave out soup, clothes and provided hot water for washing. Jasper continued helping on a weekly basis. As the number of homeless turning up increased, so too did the Facebook followers and along with it, the donations. Jasper came up with the plan to use donation money for shelters; at the same time a friend donated a shipping container – and they have been converting them into homes ever since.

Currently, Jasper has a number of people working on converting the shipping containers, including some of the homeless people that Jasper has met along the way, all with the promise and incentive of living in them once built.

Jasper hopes to continue this business model across the South West and ultimately nationally.

yellow shipping container for Bristol homeless

If you’d like to find out more or to help Bristol’s homeless and donate online click here.