Simon on the Streets hosted its annual sleep-out in Leeds last week, which saw business owners, journalists and individuals bed down in the Tipping Yard with just a sleeping bag and cardboard box for comfort in-order-to raise funds and awareness of homelessness across West Yorkshire.
The sleep-out raised an outstanding £15,800 which will support Simon on the Streets’ continuous work with rough sleepers in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.
The fundraising event, which also aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by rough sleepers every day, was a huge success, with 92 sleepers supporting the cause.
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.
Sleep-out attendees were exposed to the harsh realities of rough sleeping, in a touching speech by Gordon Laing, general manager of Simon on the Streets, which highlighted some of the shocking statistics surrounding homelessness in the UK.
In a recent report, national homelessness charity, Crisis, states that the number of rough sleepers is set to increase by 78% in the next ten years. Also, the average age of death for rough sleepers is just 47 years old.
Featuring an exclusive showing of ‘The Shed Crew’ performed by the Red Ladder theatre company, as well as an inspirational talk from motivational speaker, Richard McCann, the sleep-out was a thought provoking night for the brave participants.
Gordon Laing said: “The sleep-out was a huge success, I am always amazed at the generosity of people towards our cause. We cannot thank all the attendees enough for their support and the money they raised, which constantly helps us to improve the lives of more and more rough sleepers.”
Ian Emberton, sleep-out attendee, founder and managing director of Xerogrid, said: “The sleep-out was a humbling experience, although nothing compared to the struggles faced by rough sleepers on a daily basis as we had the comfort of security and friends, I empathise with those living the reality, I will continue supporting the fantastic work of Simon on the Streets.”
To find out more about the event, visit http://simononthestreets.co.uk/sleepwithsimon/.
Simon on the Streets has recently launched its Christmas appeal, raising money for an outreach worker in Huddersfield and beyond. To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/simononthestreets/christmasappeal2017.