Sleep out in town centre to help charity

SLEEP OUT: Church Passage, Weymouth

SLEEP OUT: Church Passage, Weymouth

First published in Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

CAN you imagine being homeless?

The Dorset Echo has teamed up with local charity Soul Food to raise awareness about homelessness – by organising a sleep out in Weymouth town centre.

There are a known 12 rough sleepers in Weymouth and Portland and outreach worker Angie Barnes says it is important to get people to understand that it is not a lifestyle choice.

The sleep out will be taking place this Saturday outside St Mary’s Church in the town centre and anyone interested in getting involved is being urged to get in touch.

Angie said: “Anything that raises a positive awareness about rough sleepers and homelessness is going to have my support.

“We all need to realise that being homeless or sleeping rough isn’t a life choice.

“In 70 per cent of cases addiction comes from being on the streets. It is also important to consider the mental health issues which also come into play.

She added: “The worst thing is for a real rough sleeper is that it never comes to an end – we will just be doing it for one night.”

Soul Food, a Weymouth charity supporting the homeless, has been feeding up to 140 people during four shifts a week with Angie dealing with hundreds more through her outreach work.

Collection buckets will be put out during the sleep out to raise funds for Soul Food, which relies completely on donations to keep going.

As well as food they provide shower facilities, free clothing and a nurse and mental health worker attends weekly.

Sleepers will all wear an ID badge and be staying in a safe area on the church grounds.

The area is covered by CCTV but there will also be a security team on duty all night.

Participants should meet at 8pm from registration and will leave the site at 6am.

Those wishing to take part should pop into the Echo office on the Granby for a health and registration form or email

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