15 August 2017
Sunderland AFC fans are being urged to swap their beds for sleeping bags later this year.
The event at the Stadium of Light will raise funds for homeless young people in Sunderland, as part of a national fundraising event in 14 cities across the UK throughout October and November.
Sunderland AFC legend Kevin Ball will be taking part in this year’s event. He commented: “It’s vital that every young person gets the chance to realise their potential, regardless of their background, and that’s what the Foundation of Light and Centrepoint do so well. I’d encourage everybody to get involved in this event to support their fantastic work.”
Centrepoint works with more than 200 homeless young people every day in the North East, providing accommodation and support to help young people to turn their lives around by gaining essential life skills; tackling their physical and mental health issues and moving into education or employment.
Foundation of Light works in some of the most deprived wards in the UK throughout the North East, challenging the effects and causes of poverty.
Young people rough sleeping is a significant problem in the UK.
In 2016, 55% of homeless young people said they had slept rough at some point.
Centrepoint helped Tamara, 21, after she became homeless whilst pregnant.
Tamara said: “I got kicked out of my mum’s due to a mental health breakdown, when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I was in labour for over 100 hours in hospital, and then I was discharged to the streets. I was sofa surfing with a new-born for three months – it was horrible. I was constantly moving from house to house with my baby, all over the place. I was so down. I had severe post-natal depression.”
Tamara was referred to Centrepoint’s young parents’ project in Sunderland, where she began to get the support she and her baby needed.
“Once I moved in to Centrepoint, everything got a lot easier. Having the support staff here was brilliant. I get a lot of support from Centrepoint, with things like budgeting and managing to live independently for the first time.
“I could actually relax a little bit, and I could get the baby into a routine – he was always in someone’s arms before, he never actually sat or lay down. Now he does the things a baby would normally do.”
Centrepoint’s Amy Gormanley said: “Sleep Out is a thought-provoking challenge that everyone should try. It would be impossible to replicate the true terror of spending a night on the streets with nowhere else to go – but you will feel the cold and experience the discomfort which homeless young people have had to endure.
“Sleep Out is a lot of fun but there’s a serious side to it. The money we raise will help support vulnerable and homeless young people gain the skills and confidence they need to find work or return to education.”
Jemma Garrett, Foundation of Light Events Coordinator added: “This is the fourth year that we’ve hosted Sleep Out and it’s a wonderful event to be part of. It highlights the very real plight of some of our most vulnerable young people but also gives Sunderland fans the chance to sleep in the stadium of their favourite team.”
“We look forward to welcoming community minded supporters into the Stadium of Light on Thursday 2 November.”
Registration is now open for participants at £20.
To sign up, click here.