Over 40 intrepid volunteers including staff from CNG and Sainsbury’s gathered at Harrogate Town Football Club last Saturday to take part in the first ever SASH Sleepout in Harrogate, spending the night in the stadium with just a sleeping bag and cardboard box for shelter.
SASH is a charity that prevents 16-25 year olds from becoming homeless by offering them a room in a volunteers’ home. It runs an emergency accommodation project in Harrogate known as Nightstop and participants in the sleepout were highlighting SASH’s work helping young homeless and raising funds for its Nightstop service.
The charity is delighted with the level of support it received from the community and local businesses. Harrogate Town Football Club gave permission for the event to take place inside the stadium, whilst Sainsbury’s Harrogate provided breakfast for participants in the morning. Cathy McConaghy of Lulabelle’s Camperlicious Catering donated hot drinks, cookies and brownies to the Sleepouters on Saturday night. SASH was also very pleased to have the support of the Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Mr Mike Newby, who visited the Sleepouters on the evening to learn more about the charity and talk to participants.
The night was dry, but cold, with temperatures dipping to around 2 degrees. Most people did not get much sleep and were awake in good time for the 6am breakfast prepared by volunteers, but were nevertheless glad to have taken part.
Chris England, Operations Director at CNG commented: We’re delighted that the Harrogate sleepout was such a success and we’re grateful to all the people who endured a very cold night to participate. This is a very worthy cause and we at CNG are extremely proud to have been involved.
Abi Aldred, who participated in the event said: Sleeping out was a real challenge for me. It was almost impossible to sleep as my mind was constantly focused on the cold, you really couldn’t escape from it. I was lucky to have the right equipment, be in a secure place and have the support of my friends and colleagues at CNG.
It has been a real eye opener for me and I really hope it has helped to generate awareness of the vital work SASH does. I’m so proud to have been part of the CNG team supporting SASH.
SASH Director, Peter Robinson, said: We feel very fortunate to have had so much help from Harrogate businesses and individuals. Having access to the football ground and commitment from two large employers in the area has made all the difference to making the event a success, and the involvement of many others who heard about our work and wanted to support us was equally very much appreciated. The Sleepout has raised over £2,000 so far and we are confident this will reach over £3,000 once all the sponsorship has come in. We’d like to thank everyone who got involved and helped make the first Harrogate SASH Sleepout a memorable event.
To find out more about SASH and how the charity helps young people facing homelessness, visit www.sash-uk.org.uk or ring 01904 652043.