Couch-surfing for charity

Couch surfer . . . Rodney Martin camps another night without the comfort of a bed in a Dunedin flat. PHOTO: ELLA STOKES

A Dunedin student is couch-surfing his way through 2018 to raise money for charity.

Rodney Martin is giving up the comfort of having his own bed and bedroom, and is donating his rent money to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Each week the 25-year-old donated $150 and, along with other donations he has received on his Givealittle page, he has already raised nearly $3000.

He said he thought of the idea when he was house-sitting in January and was sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

“I thought it would be something a bit different but also something worthwhile.”

Since then Mr Martin has been hopping from couch to couch in flats throughout Dunedin.

“It’s actually been pretty good and I like living with less. I keep everything in my car but I don’t really have much stuff.”

He said it had been great for his people skills, and he had to be really willing to put himself out there.

“You have to learn about the dynamics of a flat and how to get on with a whole new range of people in just a couple of days.”

He decided to give to the Mental Health Foundation as he believed it was important in New Zealand.

“We live in such an amazing country with so many different sports to play and things to do, yet people still struggle with mental illness and issues.”

He said he hoped his donations could help give people the support they needed if they were struggling.

Mr Martin juggled a busy schedule of completing his final year studying commerce, playing sport and working at UniPol, and still managed to get a good night’s sleep on a couch.

“I’ve had some comfy couches and some not so comfy ones.”

He said people had been very accommodating and he hadn’t been stranded, yet.

Mr Martin is almost halfway through riding the couch-surfing wave and planned to stick it out till the end of the year.

To help, search “couch-surfing for mental health” on the Givealittle website.