The Big Sleep Out 2021: In pictures

Relive this year's Big Sleep Out with all our best pictures

By Connor Gormley
Monday, 18th October 2021, 5:52 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 5:54 pm

Stonepillow staff, volunteers and community groups came together last weekend to raise money and awareness for homelessness during this year's Big Sleep Out.

Taking place in the Chichester Cathedral courtyard on Saturday (October 16) participants constructed their shelters, set up their sleeping bags and took part in a variety of activities to raise awareness of homelessness in the area.

Alongside families and staff, participating groups included 461 Chichester Air Cadet Squadron, as well as Explorer Scout units from Bognor Regis and Arundel.

"We camp in hammocks, we camp in tents, we do expeditions. But this is a whole different ball game, we're sleeping in a cardboard box," said Catherine Bilham, a leader in the Bognor Regis Explorer Scouts.

"It's a very harsh reality, because some people really do sleep like this. It gives you this appreciation of your bed, your house and your home. Everybody deserves a place to live."

Neil Hart, High Sheriff of West Sussex, echoed those sentiments, adding: "(this event) demonstrates how important it is, this charity, to helping the people who are sleeping on the streets because they have no choice other than to do so.

"So this is our way of experiencing what it is they have to go through everyday."

Although the Sleep Out has run for several years, last year's event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That gave this year's event a special sense of community and belonging, according to Stonepillow volunteer Georgie Smith.

"It's fun. This is our first year doing sleep out, so we were a bit nervous, but I think it's gone really well," she said.

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