Chichester based charity Stonepillow returns with their annual ‘Big Sleep Out’

Dozens of people braved sleeping out in cardboard shelters for one night on Saturday to raise vital funds and awareness for Stonepillow.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 4:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 5:26 pm
ks190574-5 Stonepillow Sleep Out phot kate Bosham Youth group making their shelter.ks190574-5 SUS-191019-223107008

The charity’s annual fundraising event took place in the grounds of Chichester Cathedral and was sponsored by Kiwi Recruitment, with 77 people taking part. It has raised more than £10,000 so far and the total is expected to increase with sponsorship still to come in.

Stonepillow is a homeless charity working for the Chichester and Arun Districts that provides a recovery journey for their clients, focusing on the key areas of health, housing and work. It operates hostels and hubs in Chichester and Bognor Regis together with a recovery service and supported accommodation.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the charity which was founded by Reverend Hilary Parsons in 1989 following the death of a young homeless in Chichester. He died earlier this year but the work that he started has continued and grown.

Laura Bulbeck, Stonepillow PR and events manager, said: “We would like to thank all the participants for their fundraising efforts, which will make a huge difference to the lives of homeless and vulnerable people and ensure that we can continue to support them. We are so grateful to Kiwi Recruitment for sponsoring the Big Sleep Out and making it all possible.”

The Big Sleep Out does not aim to replicate homelessness but does give people a small insight into some of the harsh realities of rough sleeping. Before participants settled into their shelters for the night, one of Stonepillow’s clients shared their experience of what it was like to be homeless and how they have turned their life around with support from the charity. This was a stark reminder for everyone that what they were about to endure for just one night, others have to face every night.

John Anstee, director of Tod Anstee Hancock Ltd took part with fellow director Sam Tod. He said: “Both Sam and I were honoured to take part in the Chichester Big Sleep Out 2019. As an estate agent in Chichester where our business is to find people homes to live in on a daily basis, it is easy to forget that many people don’t have a roof over their head at night. That is why Sam and I took part in order to raise awareness and essential funds for Stonepillow. The event not only gave us an insight to the plight of our homeless in West Sussex, but also presented an opportunity to educate the younger members of our families and demonstrate that some are not as fortunate as others. We congratulate Stonepillow staff and all the volunteers who gave us the opportunity to experience just a glimmer as what it is like to be homeless. It was cold and truly humbling. Thank you.”

Stonepillow extended a ‘huge thank you’ to Rapid Relief Team Bognor Regis, COOK Chichester, South Downs Water and Costa West Street Chichester for providing food and drink and the event and to all the local businesses that donated cardboard and raffle prizes.

Visit www.stonepillow.org.uk for more photos.