The Hills Winter Sleepout returns to Bella Vista Farm Park on Saturday, August 13th for the first time since 2019 – the last two events were hybrid events that migrated online because of COVID restrictions.
This year’s event offers people an opportunity of joining online, from a sofa at home or the car or garden, or sleeping rough at Bella Vista Farm.
The first winter sleepout was held in 2014 and had 40 participants. It has grown substantially since then. Founder Michelle Byrne said one of the major aims was raising awareness about homelessness.
“The rise in the costs of living means more people are finding it harder financially. Covid has made it worse for those in DV situations and those who were already facing difficulties.”
Chris Cleary from the StreetMed charity which offers street level first aid and a food service says the demand for help has doubled in the past year.
“The last food service we did 90 came. Some of these people have homes but after they have covered rent and bills they have nothing for food.”
Mici Beer from Hills Community Aid said all money raised by the Hills Winter Sleepout would be going directly to those in need, via StreetMed and Hills Community Aid.
“This is a call for action. We are calling on businesses to support local charities so we can pass that onto people who need it.”
The Hills Winter Sleepout has been given a “warm hug” of support by families at Guardian Childcare and Education in Kellyville. A car full of winter warmers was collected by Mici Beer from the centre to give out to people in need.
Emma Andrews, Educational Team Leader and Rebecca Aitchison, centre manager at Guardian Childcare said parents had responded generously to the call out for winter warmers.
“We always like to do things to support our community and we hold quite a few collections during the year,” said Emma. “We had a little chat with the kids about winter and about people who aren’t as fortunate and we asked the kids what they think people will need.”
Beanies, carves, gloves, jackets and even doonas were donated which the children packed into boxes and bags. Mici from HCA said a huge thank you to Guardian Childcare and Education saying the donation had been timely with items being distributed very quickly.
“We received the items from Guardian at the perfect time. We have been able to assist people who have become homeless due to the floods and pass other items onto StreetMed to assist people who are homeless.”
To join The Hills Winter Sleepout visit the Facebook page or register online at the-hills-winter-sleepout-2022.raisely.com