75 people braved Storm Babet to sleep out on the streets of Leeds for a local homelessness charity, helping to raise almost £25,000.
Sponsored by British online homeware retailer, DUSK.com, West Yorkshire homelessness charity Simon on the Streets held its annual sleep-out event, ‘Simon’s Big Sleep Out’ on Thursday 19th October at Leeds Civic Hall.
The 2023 event, which saw participants endure ferocious winds and rain as Storm Babet hit the city, provided the chance for individuals and businesspeople to sleep outside for one night and learn about some of the harsh realities that rough sleepers experience on the streets. It was also a chance to learn more about the increasing amount of people becoming homeless and how the charity supports rough sleepers.
Having set up their beds for the night, attendees enjoyed an interactive quiz from Leeds-based KwizzBit with catering provided by Sodexo and Rapid Relief Team.
Founded in 1999, Simon on the Streets is an independent charity, working with local people who are affected by homelessness and rough sleeping in Leeds and Bradford.
Natalie Moran, CEO of Simon on the Streets commented:
“The Big Sleep Out is not intended to be a way for people to say they know what it’s like to be homeless. This is just one night. After which everyone can go home, get dry and warm and climb into their own beds. What we hope is that by taking part, people get an opportunity to really think about the practicalities of not having somewhere to call home. The horrendous weather, courtesy of Storm Babet, made it an incredibly emotional night for those who took part. The fact that this is some people’s daily reality shook so many of the participants.
“We are so humbled by how many people chose to share this experience and who, so far, have raised an incredible £x. We know that many people are still pushing their Just Giving pages so we are hoping we can reach our £30,000 target.”
As well as sponsoring the event, 15 colleagues from DUSK attended the event.
Sian Guest, Head of Brand Marketing at DUSK.com said:
“We are incredibly proud to have sponsored Simon’s Big Sleep Out for the second year running and to have raised extra funds in addition to our sponsorship and bedding donations. The colleagues who participated felt humbled and honoured to be part of such an important fundraising event, helping raise awareness of the vital outreach work Simon on the Streets carries out in our local communities.”
The Big Sleep Out marked the end of a busy month for the homelessness charity as Simon on the Streets dedicated the month to its campaign ‘A walk in their shoes’ with early October events including a poignant display on the David Oluwale Bridge as part of Leeds Light Night.
Simon on the Streets fundraising initiatives and events continue with the charity’s regular monthly corporate socials and a Christmas Elf Run in December for school children to get involved.