Simon Community Staff Take on Ultimate Sleep Out Challenge!
Fri 7th October 2016
Two members of staff from the Simon Community have signed up to do all THREE nights of the Big Ibrox Sleep Outs to raise awareness of the issues facing homeless people in our city.
Committed charity workers Donna Finlayson and Harry Houston will brave the elements three nights in succession on 3, 4 and 5 November at Ibrox to raise funds for our homeless projects with the Simon Community and Glasgow City Mission, as well as the community work of the Rangers Charity Foundation.
The Simon Community’s new Nightstop initiative, which works with young people at risk of sleeping rough in Glasgow, is one of the beneficiaries of the Foundation’s Sleep Out events and Donna and Harry are determined to do everything they can to raise awareness of the project and vital funds.
“I think it will be really hard to do all three nights and my full-time job,” admitted Donna, “However, I felt like this challenge would give me more of a realistic perspective of what it’s actually like to be homeless. I want to blog about my experience and I hope I can help to break some of the stereotypes down about homelessness.
“Members of the public often think it is just drug addicts who are homeless but that is rarely the case. The single biggest reason for homelessness is the breakdown of relationships.”
Donna has worked in social care for many years and has first had knowledge of the kind of issues and problems homeless people face.
“To an extent the homeless are still largely hidden from us. They are often sleeping in places the public wouldn’t go, in underpasses and under bridges for example. I’ve worked on street teams and I’ve seen people out with just a sleeping bag in minus 5 or 10 temperatures, even pregnant women.
“A lot of the things I’ve seen first hand have inspired me to do this challenge and I hope to understand more fully just how hard it is to sleep rough. I am not going to allow myself to sleep during the day between the nights at Ibrox, so it will be tough!”
Harry, who works with young people sleeping rough, added, “I want to help people who are homeless in any way possible. I once was homeless myself so I know what it can feel like and what people have to go through.
“Even though I have experienced homelessness in the past I think it will be difficult as I have now grown used to my home comforts such as warm bed and TV.
“Without the help of charities such as the Simon Community and Glasgow City Mission I don’t know what would have happened to me. Young people I work with now who are sleeping rough are surprised when we say we can help them with no strings attached. The charities are great at building trusting relationships with these young people.”
Harry believes the Simon Community’s Nightstop project, which matches volunteers with young people in need of a bed for a few nights, will also benefit from the profile the Sleep Outs will provide, helping the Simon Community to recruit people willing to get involved.
“I think it is great that the Rangers Charity Foundation Sleep Outs will help to raise money to support young people who are sleeping rough. The profile of Rangers will also encourage people in the community to provide a room for the night to a young homeless person, and highlight the issue of youth homelessness.”
To find out more about the Big Ibrox Sleep Outs, click here, call the Foundation on 0141 580 8775 or e-mail email@example.com. You can also read about the Simon Community’s Nightstop Project and this season’s initiative with Glasgow City Mission.