David has taken part in every one our of 5 sleepout events - here he explains why:
It was always a dream to have a place in town and when I eventually moved into a flat in Liverpool City Centre, it became extremely evident how bad the homeless situation was. I would walk past people every day on the way to and from work and I’d see the same faces day and night. People would be bedding down for the night on the street as I was heading to bed and they’d still be there in the morning when I woke. I knew I wanted to help and at first just used to stop and offer food, drink and conversation. I wanted to do more so Googled how to help; it was then I came across The Whitechapel Centre. I started supporting with bucket collections before and after some matches but when I saw on social media about the Liverpool Sleepout and thought I’d give it a go.
What’s the best part of the event?
I take the whole event quite seriously so just turn up with my Sleeping bag just two pieces of cardboard and plastic sheeting. I like the challenge of trying to build my little shelter trying to make it as waterproof and windproof as I can. After having a little chat to my new neighbours and listening to the entertainment at 10pm, I climb into my shelter and that’s me for the night. Will I make it to the morning? Last year I really wasn’t sure as the tail end of storm Callum was still with us. I was drenched and up pretty early in the morning. Every previous year I had taken part had been dry and it was just a completely different experience. At the end of it I knew could go home have a hot shower and even go back to bed! I felt like I had earnt the money donated by my friends and family and it certainly was a challenge.
Having learnt more about The Whitechapel Centre and the amount of support they can offer, I wanted to support them. Often there are mental health issues underlying someone’s homelessness. I’m not afraid to share I’ve had my own mental health struggles in the past but I am lucky to have a support network around me. Mental health can have a huge impact on those who are or will become homeless, yet they may not have the people and resources to lean on when they need it most. Homelessness can really happen to anyone – Anyone is ANYONE.