Roedean teachers sleep rough to raise money for city homeless charity

Posted: 24th November 2023

FOUR teachers from Roedean School spent the night sleeping rough this month to help raise cash to support a Brighton homeless charity.

Phil Halsey, Anabel Fortes-Ortega, Natasha Holmes and David Bullock slept in cardboard boxes outside the city centre’s St Peter’s Church as part of The  Big Sleep Out, an annual initiative by charity Off The Fence to highlight the daily problems that homeless people face in the city.

Off The Fence supports Brighton and Hove’s homeless community and vulnerable women and children. Last year the event raised £30,000 – money that will be used to help those who find themselves homeless get back on their feet and find somewhere to live.

The teachers managed to raise £1214 between them and found the experience predictably grim.

Said Mr Halsey: “The sleep-out was an incredible opportunity to experience what too many people have to experience every single night in Brighton. I would highly encourage everyone to do it at least once, not only to gain that experience but to also meet some amazing people who are involved closely with the charity. Brighton never sleeps, so despite closing my eyes, I was not able to sleep fully at all and I was exhausted the next day. It just made me want to help in any way I can to support people who have to endure that night after night.

He added: “It was the second year that I have done it personally, and each year presents different challenges. Last year we were awoken by someone firing fireworks in our direction which was very scary. This year was much colder and we woke up with ice on our sleeping bags.”

The school has been supporting the charity for some years, providing hot and cold meals to its clients, and is the designated charity for all fundraising by the school’s Year 10s.

According to homeless charity Shelter, there are 3,575 homeless people living in temporary accommodation across the city, which is one in every 78 people in Brighton and Hove. This figure includes 1,000 children.

Off The Fence reports that the number of homeless  people is increasing nationally, that homeless people are far more likely to die young and that 47% of homeless people had mental health issues.

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