Dozens of people are expected to join a sponsored ‘sleep out’ at The John Smith’s Stadium to raise awareness of homelessness.
The Stadium will be playing host to Huddersfield’s second sponsored sleep out on April 21 in aid of homeless charity Simon on the Streets.
‘Sleep with Simon’ is the flagship fundraiser for West Yorkshire charity Simon on the Streets.
It provides outreach support all year round to vulnerable adults who are rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping in Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
While the sleep-out can never give a true idea of what it is like to sleep rough – without the context of tragic and harmful lives that simply isn’t possible – what it does hope to do is to challenge people to question their own understanding of rough sleepers.
The sleep-out has been running in Leeds for around six years, and returns to Huddersfield and the John Smith’s Stadium in 2016 for the second time.
Last year’s event saw around 40 participants raise over £6,000, a huge achievement for a first time and the independent charity hopes that this year’s event will be even bigger and raise more funds so they can continue their work.
As a show of support, three Stadium members of staff have volunteered to take part and sleep out on the concourse, to help raise money for this cause.
They will be spending one whole night sleeping out on the concrete with just a sleeping bag and the clothes on their back to keep them warm, come rain or shine, to raise awareness of rough sleepers.
Gareth Davies, managing director at the stadium along with other members of the KSDL team, Michaela Brook, 50, and 23-year-old Rachael Sulley, will hear stories from some of those people who have been previously supported by Simon on the Streets.
Gareth said: “I thought it was a very worthwhile idea. Quite a lot of homeless people drift in and out of it.
“The people at Simon’s are trained professionals and I’m hoping we can raise as much money as possible to support them.”
Rachael added: “Gareth and I did it last year and it was really good. The weather was kind to us and I just hope it is okay again this year.”
Simon on the Streets, currently offer their service to approximately 100 service users across West Yorkshire, to make positive change for those who sleep rough.
It costs the charity a little over £2,000 per year to intensively support one rough sleeper with 83p in every £1 of the charity’s income spent on its charitable activity, directly going towards supporting its service users.