Sleepout support for Chester homeless charity


An eye-opening insight into life on the streets has boosted funds for Chester Aid to the Homeless.

Matt Whelan, development director for Archway Homes, and Caroline Cooper, finance manager were among dozens of participants in the annual fundraiser, which took place on 29th November - thought to have been the coldest night so far this winter.

Matt said: “The experience was a real eye-opener in terms of what it must be like if you are homeless and trying to get your life back on track. Trying to sleep in those conditions is absolutely grim. Getting comfortable is next to impossible, the cold permeates through everything and you are constantly woken up by the endless stream of sounds a city centre offers - ambulances with sirens on, church bells ringing, passers-by laughing and shouting.”

Matt and Caroline described the conditions as bitterly cold, with temperatures dropping to -4° at around 3am.

They said, one participant who had taken part for seven years in a row described it as the hardest one yet and much worse than when it rained.

“We were only outside for one night, but for some people this is merely a way of life, a very real and very dangerous existence,” Matt said.  

“Those people are not protected by numbers as we were. Instead they are totally vulnerable and alone. They most likely won’t have had full bellies like we had nor the motivation provided by knowing that, when 6am came, we were free to go home to a hot bath, a warm home and a family.”

The experience has enabled Matt to empathise with those experiencing homelessness.

 “After a night of no sleep it would be incredibly hard to get motivated the next day. CATH, along with providing accommodation, provides support to help people get out of the situation they are in.”

Matt smashed his initial target of raising £500, and with Caroline joining in on the sleepout as well, they have raised more than £2,500 with the help of Archway Homes, colleagues, contractors and suppliers.

Anne Pedley, director of Archway Homes, said: “As a housebuilder we feel it’s important to give back to the community and feel that supporting a homelessness charity is a good fit. We have an existing link with Chester Aid to the Homeless, having carried out renovations to their Crispin House shelter back in 2016 when we had a site manager based there to oversee works.

“When we heard that Matt and Caroline were taking part in the sleep out we were happy to be able to kick-start their fundraising with a donation of £250. Many of our contractors and suppliers have also supported them.”

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Keywords: Charity, Community