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People from Wrexham have greatly supported the Sleep Out

Not everyone is able to sleep in a warm and cosy bed every night, not everyone has a home. Many people are forced to sleep rough on the streets. This happens on our doorstep in Wrexham County Borough as well. To raise awareness of this problem a group of staff and volunteers joined homeless people sleeping rough for one night last Friday 7th December 2012 from 7pm until 7am on Saturday morning.

It was the 4th annual Sleep Out in Wrexham. This year’s Sleep Out Event took place around Wrexham and the aim of it was to make people aware that anyone anywhere can end up on the streets. The Sleeping Out staff and volunteers made their own temporary sleeping accommodation in the AVOW car park opposite the bus station. The ‘accommodation’ was made of cardboard boxes and black bin bags, which they found around town that evening.

The Mayor Councillor Ian Roberts and Mayoress visited the sleep out to support this cause. The Mayor said: “This was a truly eye-opening experience. The Mayoress and I are pleased to support efforts to help the homeless on the streets in Wrexham and to draw attention to the plight of the homeless.”

We were also overwhelmed with people’s support, response and engagement through Social Media and face to face during the night. Residents of the County Borough and many from far away, followed the live news from the Sleep Out and supported Pete, Janet, Chris, Richie, Tony, Alison, Tim, Carole, Ken and Martin who through their actions tried to give voice to the homeless. The amount of contributions towards the Sleep Out and the Homeless Collection also exceeded our expectations. All of that will go towards helping homeless people in the County Borough of Wrexham survive the winter.

Peter Jones, the Coordinator of the Sleep Out Event, said: “The Sleep Out went very well and I am overwhelmed by the response and support we have had. The Surf Project has raised awareness of this problem over the past four years and it is something I am passionate about. Although we only spent one night sleeping out it did make us realise how difficult it is for vulnerable people to spend nights sleeping rough particularly at this time of year. I left the Sleep Out feeling very humble and emotional but I am pleased it went well and it will provide much needed equipment and support during the coming year.”

Tim Nunn said: “When told about the rough sleep out and being asked for sponsorship, the only option for me, as I felt strongly about this issue, was to become part of the solution and actually take part! I was certainly not sure what I had signed up to! Whilst a particularly long and cold night, during which I felt, at times, particularly vulnerable, it was one of the most humbling activities I have ever taken part in. Words fall short of describing the whole experience, nevertheless it made me view some of the issues of homelessness in a very different perspective. I was and am lucky, I had a warm home to go to the next morning, as the thought of spending the day outside and yet another night would have cast an even more grim perspective on what was a totally surreal and challenging experience, where I felt alone, isolated from the wider world and almost invisible to the wider population who passed us by. I was able to get around 2 hours sleep, which at best could be described as really poor quality – I felt terrible as a consequence. The biggest challenge of all will be not forgetting how I felt during those 12 hours and furthermore how the smallest of contributions can make such a huge difference.”

The Sleep Out was a part of the Homeless Collection, which is still taking place until Monday 17th December 2012. Food, clothes and contributions donated will help homeless people survive winter. We are still collecting food donations that can be easily heated such as ring pull cans, pot noodles, cup a soups and other ambient and snack food such as crisps, biscuits, and chocolate bars. AVOW are also looking for warm clothing, hats, scarfs and fleeces etc. as well as contributions.

The Homeless Collection Points for donations are based in:

–        Tŷ Avow, 21 Egerton Street, Wrexham;

–        Plas Madoc Opportunities Centre and

–        Ysgol Rhiwabon, Ruabon School.

For more information about the Homeless Collection please contact Peter Jones, the Coordinator of the Homeless Collection at AVOW, by email peter.jones@avow.org or phone 01978 312556.

The participants of the Sleep Out Pete, Janet, Chris, Richie, Tony, Alison, Tim, Carole, Ken and Martin with the Mayor and Mayoress.

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