On 17th April the fifth Big Tees Sleepout was held at Durham University’s Queen’s Campus. Organised by Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, the Sleepout aims to raise funds for those suffering poverty or homelessness and raise awareness of the issue.
“I decided to take part in the Big Sleepout to help raise vital funds for charities that help the homeless in our area. Without such charities, we would have a lot more people sleeping rough on our streets.
Homelessness isn’t just sleeping on the streets, it’s much more than that. Individuals, couples or families could be sofa surfing, staying with family or friends in temporary accommodation. Organisations such as Community Campus and others help individuals in this situation, providing a lifeline at a time of need and in most cases – desperation. Thanks to these organisations the number of rough sleepers on Teesside is low.
Although the number of rough sleepers on Teesside is minimal, shouldn’t everyone be entitled to warmth and shelter? The Big Sleepout is a great event raising vital funds for fantastic local organisations and will help organisations to continue to provide warmth, shelter and support to individuals who need it most.
So on Friday 17 April, I put on my warm clothes and took my sleeping bag to the pavements of Stockton. The weather was mild and the evening started with a bit of camaraderie along with entertainment from singer Danny Devon. All is going well. As the darkness came in, so did the cold. It was a long night ahead and we were extremely pleased to see the sun rise at 6am the next day. Whilst de-icing the car the next morning, my friends and I started to reflect on our experience. We had layers of warm clothing, thermals, sleeping bags and warm drinks to get us through the night – some people aren’t so lucky. Homelessness can hit anyone of us and at any time. This is definitely an experience that will stay with me”
Community Campus regularly engages with people who have slept rough at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, these people don’t have access to sleeping bags, food or drink and speak of feeling frightened, isolated, cold, hungry…this event really does make people think about how they would feel if they were in that position. If you would like to donate via Victoria please click Donate
If you come across someone sleeping rough, you can get them some assistance by reporting it to Street Link
For more information on the work of the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation please visit teessidecharity.org.uk/