Sleeping out with just cardboard for protection has opened a senior associate solicitor’s eyes to another world.
Tim Ransley, a personal injury solicitor at Coole Bevis, said taking part in charity sleepouts had given him an insight into homelessness and the courage to talk to people who live on the streets.
He said: “It gets you thinking that everyone has a back story, everyone was created with worth and everyone was born with a purpose. Maybe every now and again we all could do with crouching down and living for a night to support those who are in need of a hand to pull them back up.”
Tim, who lives in Worthing, took part in the annual Worthing Churches Homeless Projects (WCHP) sleepout at Broadwater CE Primary School.
His firm, which has offices in Worthing, Brighton, Hove and Horsham, had chosen WCHP as its annual charity for 2017/2018 and he raised £466 from the sleepout.
Tim said: “Figures released from the Government early this year showed that rough sleeping had increased for the seventh year in a row. Worthing recorded a rise that was double the national average, with 35 rough sleepers on the last official count and nearby Brighton had the second highest rate of rough sleepers per households in the country.
“It is heart-warming news, therefore, that the charity Worthing Churches Homeless Projects has opened a 37-bed, short-term assessment hostel in Lyndhurst Road.
“It is their hope that this will go some way to helping them fulfil their mission of ending homelessness. It is fundraising like the annual sleepout at Broadwater School that in part helps these projects get off the ground.”
Tim bedded down for a night under the stars with nothing more than a sleeping bag and a sheet of cardboard. He said getting involved not only raised money but changed the way he viewed the problem.
“Every day I would walk past ten rough sleepers on my way to work but experiencing a small glimpse of what life would be like without a roof over your head made the issue that more real,” he said.
“It has given me the confidence to actually spend time with those I see and ask about their story.”
Charlie Chesman, from the charity, said homelessness was a growing issue, both locally and nationwide.
“We’re very lucky to have such fantastic supporters, like Tim. Fundraising allows us to continue working with local men and women who are rough sleeping or insecurely housed, as well as increasing awareness of the issues around homelessness.
“It is fantastic that through the sleepout events, like the annual Worthing Sleepout that Tim took part in, supporters are able to gain insight into just some of the difficulties that our clients experience.”