50 Backpacks founder confident new venture will breed success

New homeless organisation with Salvation Army to launch in Wisbech

Simon Crowson (second from left), known as 'Spike', hopes his new venture '50/50 Vision' in partnership with the Salvation Army will be a success. - Credit: Facebook/5050 Vision

A man who has helped support homeless people in Wisbech and surrounding areas is confident his new venture will continue helping those in crisis. 

Simon Crowson, known as ‘Spike’ will launch ‘50/50 Vision’ in partnership with the Salvation Army, having closed his previous organisation, 50 Backpacks Vision, in February. 

Mr Crowson said: “Discussions started around four weeks ago after 50 Backpacks closed. 

“They approached me and said the town really needs this, so they asked if they could do something with me.” 

50/50 Vision, which will open tonight (Monday), will serve food and essential items to rough sleepers and homeless people six nights a week at the Salvation Army’s Wisbech branch on John Thompson Road. 

The organisation will have seven volunteers, including some that helped at 50 Backpacks. 

Since 50 Backpacks closed down, Mr Crowson has continued to assist rough sleepers, including rehoming one and staying in touch with others he has helped. 

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“I know 50 Backpacks was about me, but I want this to be about the group. It can’t just be about me. It’s the team that make things happen,” he said. 

“On my own, I could not open and feed them; it takes a team to provide that. 

“We will use the opportunity to try and create a great place to engage and signpost additional support if it’s needed.” 

Discussions with the Salvation Army to launch 50/50 Vision have been ongoing for around a month, a partnership that is hoped to come to fruition. 

Adrian Casey, corps assistant at the Salvation Army’s Wisbech branch, said: “We want to work together to try and continue the work Spike had with 50 Backpacks. 

“I have known Spike for years and I am 100 per cent confident this will be a success.” 

Mr Crowson said he fears a rise in the number of people returning to the streets due to subsidy concerns. 

But he is hopeful that 50/50 Vision can continue where his previous venture left off. 

“We’re not saying we will eradicate homelessness, but can make life more comfortable for those in crisis, such as support with benefits and mental health,” he said. 

“There will always be people that don’t like me, and I’m okay with that. 

“I don’t feel I need to prove people wrong. I feel the work we do and the success we had has proved them wrong.”