More than 100 people have taken to the streets of Leeds to sleep out for a local homelessness charity, helping to raise over £26,000.
Sponsored by DUSK, West Yorkshire homelessness charity Simon on the Streets held its annual sleep-out event, ‘Simon’s Big Sleep Out’ on Thursday 20th October at Leeds Civic Hall.
The 2022 event, which returned for the first time since the Covid pandemic, 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.
Before bedding down for the night, attendees heard from The Lord Mayor of Leeds 2022 – 2023 Councillor Robert W Gettings MBE JP who discussed the importance of local homelessness charities including Simon on the Streets, one of the Lord Mayor’s four chosen charities to support during his 12-month term.
Attendees also saw performances of sax and percussion music from Love Leeds Events and an interactive quiz from Leeds-based KwizzBit with catering provided by D&D London, Honest Burgers and the Rapid Relief Team.
Founded in 1999, Simon on the Streets offers street support to individuals across Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield who have complex needs and cannot access mainstream services, due to complex mental health issues, drug addictions, alcohol dependencies and other barriers.
Natalie Moran, CEO of Simon on the Streets told Charity Today:
“Whilst we cannot create an exact replica of the life of a rough sleeper, the sleep-out provided a chance to experience a taster of life on the streets. We’re humbled to the attendees who joined us and raised an incredible £26,001.29. This contribution will allow us to provide outreach workers who support homeless and vulnerable people on our streets.”
As well as sponsoring the event, 15 colleagues from DUSK attended the event. Katy Gray, head of brand at DUSK said:
“We couldn’t be prouder to have sponsored the Big Sleep Out and to have raised an extra £2000 on top of our sponsorship and bedding donation. Our 15 colleagues who joined in were humbled and honoured to be part of such an important event raising funds and awareness of the vital work Simon on the Streets does in our local community.”
DPD transported cardboard provided by DUSK for underneath participants sleeping bags with eight colleagues from the Leeds and Bradford depot taking part and raising over £2000 towards the total.
Site Manager for DPD Leeds and Bradford, Matt Palin added:
“Many of our customers are struggling and we’re noticing more homeless people, so we were keen to support a local charity which helps them. Eight of us slept out and we’re so proud and grateful to the people who helped us put over £2000 towards the incredible total raised for such a worthy cause.”
Simon on the Streets in-person fundraising events continue with the charity’s Starlight Ball held on Saturday 26th November at the Queens Hotel. Kicking off corporate Christmas parties, guests will enjoy a three-course meal and welcome drink with a range of entertainment provided on the night. To book visit https://simononthestreets.co.uk/events/simons-starlight-ball.