West Sussex charity turns SleepOut into big summer adventure

West Sussex charity Turning Tides is asking people to sleep somewhere new for one night and join The Big Summer SleepOut to raise vital funds for its work with the homeless.

Rather than providing a venue, as it has in the past, the charity is asking people to hold their own SleepOut on August 8.

Sophie Moore, school and youth fundraising officer, said: “This is a great opportunity to have an ultimate summer adventure in your garden, or inside your home, or anywhere else for that matter, as long as it’s safe and meets current social distancing guidelines.

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“The possibilities are limitless, you can slip into a sleeping bag, take a nighttime nap in your bath, sneak a space under the stairs, chill out under canvas, design a den or just sleep out under the stars.

Supporting The Big Summer SleepOut, Sophie Moore, school and youth fundraising officer at Turning Tides vwkdl14i_mIUfg_MgpIN

“Just £85 raised pays for a full day of emergency support for homeless men and women. If 100 families, groups or individuals raise £85, this will pay for 100 days of emergency support, so we are really hoping people will feel moved to join in.”

The SleepOut is free to join and open to all. Turning Tides will provide an online programme of activities, including quizzes, storytelling and music, and there will be a prize for the best-dressed den.

Ruth Poyner, head of fundraising and communications, said: “For most of us, our bed is a safe and warm place. However, many people in our community do not have a bed of their own. They might be sleeping rough, living in unsuitable accommodation, living in their car or sofa surfing. This takes an extreme toll on a person, both physically and mentally.

“Homeless men and women die on average 30 years sooner than the general population. By sleeping out somewhere new, people can help to raise money but also take a stand against homelessness.”

Compass Bus has already jumped on board and pledged generously support to kick start the fundraising.

Sophie is now appealing to community groups, asking them to consider setting up a larger socially-distanced SleepOut.

She said: “Over the past few months, our communities have strengthened as people have come together as part of their road. We want to reach out these mini communities to please join in and get your street out to SleepOut.

“We would also love local traders and food outlets to get involved, too. It is a great opportunity to provide discount deliveries and offers to participants.”

Turning Tides is the largest provider of homeless services for single people in Worthing and West Sussex. As a result of Covid-19, the number of people needing their support is rapidly increasing and councils are reporting as much as a doubling in the number of people presenting as homeless.

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