In just 3 days’ time, a team of 18 from Stoke on Trent College will be taking on the challenge of sleeping out, to highlight some of the hardships that homeless people have to face.

The #sleepout2017, organised by Stoke City’s Community Trust, will be raising money for the Lou Macari Centre which was set up by the former football manager after being shocked by the number of people sleeping rough in the City.

The “Big Sleep Out”, on Friday 3rd February 2017, will see the volunteers spend 12 hours, overnight in the concourse of the Bet 365 stadium.

One of those taking part, and responsible for getting the College team together, is Business Development Manager Stephanie Clowes.  Stephanie loves her home comforts and knows Friday will not only be a challenge but also open her eyes to the plight of others.  “Everyone who knows me knows how much I love my home comforts, a hot bubble bath, a glass of wine, a movie with the family and a nice comfy bed.  I fortunately have never been in the position to have to experience anything different but as we all know homelessness can happen to anyone. When I was asked to take part in the “Big Sleep out” I thought I like a challenge so accepted straight away and said in fact I will get a team together!  3 days to go and I have to say I am getting very nervous at how big the challenge is.  The sleep out is going to push me to the limits but unlike the homeless, I have the privilege of going home to a nice warm house!”

Steff Lungrin, Director of pillarbox lettings in the City was the first to offer support to the College team.  “When Stephanie told me what they planned to do, I needed to support them.  As a new lettings and management company within the area we want to help people secure somewhere they feel safe and comfortable in as well as call it home!  Supporting the team through their challenge focuses our mind on why there is a need for companies such as ours and how we can help individuals to have a better future in life!”

The College team are just one group taking part in the event which is in its second year.  The number of volunteers taking part has doubled, but one member of the College team who took part last year is Learner Involvement Co-ordinator Calvin Austin. “I’m doing the sleepover to raise money for the Macari homeless Shelter.  The College has a fantastic working relationship with the Community Trust at Stoke City and it is important that in events such as these we support each other.  In addition, I am hoping to raise funds for food parcels as part of the Challenge South Africa Project which 8 members and volunteers from Stoke City are joining us on in a couple of weeks’ time!”

Also joining the team will be two members of Intu potteries team who Stephanie supports through the College.  Intu Potteries Guest Services Duty Manager, Louise Gilbody, said: “I am doing the sleepover to get to know the community and Hanley and to raise awareness of the issue of Homeless people in the City”.

People who have used the Macari Centre will also be visiting the concourse on the evening to thank those taking part.  They will also chat to those taking part about their plight – which isn’t always the stereotypical image of homelessness that members of the public perceive.

The College team will meet at 6pm at the Bet 365 stadium on Friday 3rd February and expect to be staying until 7am the following morning.

Members of the public are urged to support the causes by donating online through the teams fundraising page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/sotcoll