Locals sleep outside for charity

More than twenty people slept out to raise awareness of homelessness Photo: Mark McKay

A Sheffield charity for homeless and rough sleepers invited supporters to sleep out on Sheffield Cathedral’s forecourt on Friday night.

Twenty two people took part in the event organised by the Sheffield Cathedral Archer Project.

Tracy Viner, marketing development manager of the Archer Project, said those involved would gain a small insight into the lives of homeless people.

“The idea is they will see what it is like to spend a night outside on the streets of the city. Hopefully tonight will change perceptions of homeless people.

“The Archer Project is somewhere homeless people can come and get a lot of support. We can change their lives and help them out of homelessness.

“We will hopefully raise around £5,000 from this evening. But that is just a drop in the ocean of what we need.” she said

The Archer Project, which costs £410,000 a year, provides food, clothes and medical care to over 75 homeless people every day.

Bobbie Walker, 65, who runs a soup wagon in Sheffield, said she wanted to experience sleeping rough for a night.

“If we sleep out we can say ‘we have shared it too.’ We have been lucky with the weather staying dry, but it is about the experience,” she said.

Gavin Smith, who has been homeless for 20 years, said: “The Archer Project does very important work but you can’t learn from one night what it is like. Anybody could do one night, but you’ve got to do six or seven months. One night is nothing,” he said.

Kym Hall, 29, from Sheffield said: “I’m here to find out what it’s like being homeless. I’m expecting it to be cold hence the 15 layers I have on.

“I think more could be done to help the homeless. We live in 2012 and you’re telling me we’ve got one million people who are homeless in the UK.”

On Saturday morning Andy File, 39, who runs his own recruitment agency said he could not sleep rough every night.

“We did it for one night but others do it every single night of the year. It puts things into perspective and makes you appreciate what you have and how fortunate you are. It’s quite humbling really,” he said.


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