A Yorkshire homelessness charity has raised more than £22,000 at its annual sleep-out fundraising event which took place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on 27 September 2018.
Simon on the Streets hosted its annual sleep-out in Leeds last week, which saw business owners, journalists and supporters bed down in the Tilt Yard with just a sleeping bag and cardboard for comfort in order to raise funds and awareness of homelessness across West Yorkshire.
The fundraising event, which also aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by rough sleepers every day, was a huge success, with more than 100 sleepers supporting the cause.
As the charity’s biggest sleep-out yet, the event raised an outstanding £22,000, more than a 45% increase on last year, which will support Simon on the Streets’ continuous work with rough sleepers in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.
Attendees heard a touching speech from Gordon Laing, general manager of Simon on the Streets, which highlighted some of the shocking statistics surrounding homelessness in the UK, particularly the recent rise in the use of the drug ‘spice’ among the homeless community and harm this causes.
“The Leeds sleepout is our biggest fundraising event of the year and we’re thrilled with the amount of support we continue to receive each year. We’re so grateful to everyone that took part and raised funds to help us achieve our largest total yet, £22,000.
“Homelessness is an ever-growing issue particularly in Leeds, with the use of drugs such as spice more visible than ever in the city centre. The funds raised will allow Simon on the Streets to continue our vital work with rough sleepers, helping them to turn their lives around and get the support they need with mental health and any dependencies they may have.”
Founded in 1999, Simon on the Streets is an independent charity, which relies solely on sponsorship, fundraising and donations. The charity works with local people who are affected by homelessness and rough sleeping in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield. The organisation offers street-support to individuals who have complex needs and cannot access mainstream services, due to behavioural issues or mental illness.
This year’s sleep-out was in collaboration with national charity, CEO sleepout, which works to encourage CEO’s of companies to sleep rough for the night to raise funds for homelessness initiatives. A number of CEO’s took part in the sleep-out, including Patrick Noakes, managing director at Victoria Gate Casino.
Although sleep-outs are not designed to mimic the harsh realities experienced by rough sleepers on a daily basis, they provide an idea of what life is like to sleep outside, unprotected for the night.
Featuring an exclusive performance of ‘Mother Courage and her Children’ performed by the Red Ladder theatre company, as well as an inspirational talk from champion rally driver and motivational speaker, Penny Mallory, the sleep-out was a thought provoking night for participants.