Huge success at Stonepillow's Big Sleep Out 2017
Our annual fundraising event, the Big Sleep Out, took place on Saturday 7th October in the grounds of Chichester Cathedral. This year, 80 people slept outside in cardboard shelters to raise vital funds for Stonepillow and raise awareness of homelessness in the local area.
Laura Bulbeck, Stonepillow PR & Events Manager, said: “The event was a huge success and so far it has raised over £24,000, which is absolutely fantastic, it’s the most we have ever raised! These funds will make a huge difference to the lives of homeless and vulnerable people and ensure that Stonepillow can continue to provide support to those in need. We are incredibly grateful to everyone that took part, to Liberty Group for sponsoring the Big Sleep Out and to all the local businesses that supported the event.”
The Big Sleep Out kicked off with a fantastic performance from the Sussex Steel youth band, attracting crowds of people to the Cathedral where participants were starting to build their shelters. Our Chair of Trustees Shelagh Legrave OBE DL judged the shelter competition alongside the Mayor and Mayoress of Chichester and local MP Gillian Keegan. Rapid Relief Team (RRT) and COOK Chichester provided delicious food, followed by a service in the Cathedral and entertainment from the fabulous Frankie & Louie. On Sunday morning, Costa in East Street Chichester, kindly donated breakfast and hot drinks for all those who had slept out overnight.
The Big Sleep Out does not aim to replicate homelessness but does give people a small insight into some of the harsh realities of rough sleeping. Before participants settled in to their shelters for the night, we asked one of our clients to share their experience of what it’s like to be homeless and how they turned their life around with our support. This was a stark reminder for everyone that what they were about to endure for one night, others have to face every night. This gave participants a better understanding of life on the streets and the support Stonepillow offers to help reduce homelessness.
Tackling homelessness requires more than meeting the day-to-day needs of rough sleepers, people need long term support to help them leave the streets permanently and find independent accommodation they can call home. Stonepillow provides support 365 days a year and we could not run our services without the help and generosity of the local community.
The Big Sleep Out is an annual event, so look out for the Big Sleep Out 2018 dates coming soon!