A team of staff from GreenSquare spent the night sleeping rough in Chippenham on Saturday (27 January), raising more than £1,500 so far for local homelessness charity Doorway.
The biennial SleepOut event, organised by Doorway, is designed to make people experience what a growing number of homeless people endure on a regular basis. It aims to raise much needed funds for the Doorway drop-in centre, which helps people who are homeless, sofa surfing, or who have complex issues that might affect their ability to acquire or sustain a tenancy.
GreenSquare’s chief executive Howard Toplis was joined by Helen Clarke, insight developer; Sue Matthews, community involvement officer; Neil Matthews, warehouse and purchasing officer; Ali Owens, tenancy enforcement officer; and Sarah Offord, business systems support analyst, to take part in the SleepOut, alongside 36 others including Doorway staff, volunteers and people from the local community.
The SleepOut took place from 7pm until 7am at St Andrew’s Churchyard, Market Place, Chippenham. This year, the event coincided with Homeless Sunday, a national event, in order to increase awareness of homelessness in North Wiltshire.
Howard Toplis said: "We were very fortunate with the weather because it wasn't too cold and it stayed dry. Although the ground was hard and none of us got much sleep, we all knew we had a home to go back to. It made us all think about what it would be like if we didn't have a home to go to, and we had no other choice but to sleep rough again and again.
"With increasing pressure from funding cuts, and amidst rising levels of homelessness, charities like Doorway provide a vital service for people in need, so we're delighted that people have donated so generously, helping us to raise more than £1,500 so far.
"And there's still time to donate by clicking the link below."
To sponsor the team, and help to raise funds for Doorway, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/GreenSquare
To find out more about Doorway, visit www.doorwayproject.org.uk