Sleepout gives glimpse of rough sleeping

Mayor and mayoress Alex and Fran Harman supported Worthing Churches Homeless Projects' annual sleepout
Mayor and mayoress Alex and Fran Harman supported Worthing Churches Homeless Projects' annual sleepout

Worthing Churches Homeless Projects hopes to raise £10,000 from its annual sleepout.

Mayor and mayoress Alex and Fran Harman went along to support the 24 people who set up camp in the playground at Broadwater CE Primary School last Saturday.

For some, it was the fourth or fifth time doing the Sleepout, while others were taking part for the first time.

Amy Oboussier, community fundraiser, said: “A lot of those attending took the time to carefully construct themselves a makeshift den to keep warm.

“There was an array of cardboard box houses carefully put together with tape, some chose to just cover themselves with a tarpaulin to keep dry, while others decided to only use a sleeping bag with nothing but the night sky above them.”

“The event allows participants to experience a glimpse of rough sleeping and some of the conditions our clients face.”

The evening started with soup, so everyone could get to know each other over a shared meal.

Amy said facing the harsh winter weather gave those taking part an understanding of how difficult and challenging sleeping outside can be, even though they were in a safe and secured setting.

She added: “Using the school playground meant they did not have to worry about the possibility of their possessions being stolen or being attacked. Some of our clients have even had people urinate on them.

“There were hot drinks and toilet facilities accessible at all times, again this is not a luxury available to anyone sleeping rough.”

One 14-year-old who took part said it made him feel sad to think of the people who had no choice but to sleep out night after night.

The charity supports support more than 1,100 homeless and insecurely housed men and women per year, helping them from the beginning of their journey and their life on the street through to living independently.