Staff from the Leeds office of national law firm Weightmans have chosen local homelessness charity Simon on the Streets as their nominated charity for the 18/19 financial year, kicking off their support by raising £2500 by ‘Sleeping with Simon’, sleeping out for a night to raise awareness and funds for those struggling with homelessness in West Yorkshire.
Simon on the Streets is an independent charity offering emotional and practical support on a outreach basis to rough sleepers or those at risk of rough sleeping. The charity works in West Yorkshire, particularly Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield through tailored support for service users.
The ‘Sleep with Simon’ event was held on 26 September 2018. It is an annual sleep out where participants take to the streets overnight to get an idea of what it is like to be homeless. The event does not replicate the horror faced by those forced to do this, but is designed to educate and raise awareness of the issue, as well as bringing in much needed funds.
Helen Brown, Partner at Weightmans and head of the firm’s Leeds office was one of 24 Weightmans staff who took part. She said:
“Simon on the Streets is a local charity doing fantastic work to support the homeless community in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire area. The organisation is really the last chance for the homeless in Leeds – their ethos is to work with the individuals to build rapport and trust to help them deal with medical, financial and psychological issues, with a view to eventually re-housing them.
“The sleep out was an eye-opening experience – it was brutally cold in the early hours of the morning, and with just a sleeping bag for cover you were very aware of how exposed you were. It is truly heart-breaking to think that this is routine for some, and has spurred us on to keep raising funds and awareness, to help SOTS in all that they do to reduce incidences of homelessness and ensure that vulnerable people are getting the help they need.
“The staff at SOTS are incredibly committed and they routinely work through the night checking up and supporting as many homeless people as they can. We are proud to support them and look forward to taking part in the sleep out and other events over the coming months.”