On Friday night (20th Sept), the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott slept rough at an event which is set to raise around £30,000 for two homeless charities.
Organised by the Rotary Club of Canterbury Sunrise, and held in the Cathedral precincts, Bishop Trevor joined over 50 leaders of business, charities and public bodies, including the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Canterbury.
Participants sought sponsorship and the money raised will be shared between Catching Lives and Porchlight, two homeless charities that operate in Canterbury.
The group of sleepers gathered at night fall and listened to the experiences of Jamie Harrington, who once slept rough for over 6 months.
Mr Harrington, who is now Head Chef at a restaurant in Canterbury, described how a relationship breakdown and substance misuse led to depression, the loss of employment which resulted in Jamie becoming homeless. Describing how Porchlight helped him, Jamie said: “Porchlight gave me hope for the future.’ Through a supported accommodation project, Porchlight helped Jamie write a CV, improve his work skills and open a bank account. “They made me feel human again” Jamie commented.
Hoping the event would help other people like Jamie, Bishop Trevor added: “We share one thing in common. We are all human beings and we all have the capacity to care, not because we get something out of it, but because we believe that every human being matters. When we say that every human being matters then we can eradicate homelessness and we can eradicate poverty. Together we can make a difference.”
President of Canterbury Rotary Club, Mr Richard Davies, who believed the event would raise awareness as well as money, commented: “Some people said we were just pretending, because we had tents, that it was too easy. Of course we are only pretending. Whilst none of us know what the mental torment is for someone who is homeless, we do care about the plight of the homeless and we want to see their lot improved.”
Donations can be made via: http://www.justgiving.com/rccst/Ends
Further information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese
Photo shows Bishop Trevor in his tent which was pitched in the Cathedral precincts
More information about the sleepout can be found at: http://www.rotarysleepout.org/