By Alice Young
Charity fundraisers prepare to swap their warm beds for sleeping bags at the Leeds Big Sleep this Thursday November 28 at Emerald Headingley Stadium.
The Leeds Big Sleep is a collaborative fundraising event which brings the Leeds community together to raise money and awareness for three local charities; St George’s Crypt, Leeds Rhinos Foundation and St Gemma’s Hospice.
Participants will spend the night sleeping out in the stands of Headingley stadium and everyone has a sponsorship target of £100 – last year the event raised £32,000 to be shared across the three charities.
Cheryl Harrington, head of fundraising at St George’s Crypt, has been largely involved with the organisation of the event and will be taking part in the sleep out.
She said: “The event is all about team building, networking and getting together to support people in the city who are less fortunate.
“The main message we are trying to get across is that we are not trying to pretend to be homeless – we are giving up one night of comfort to raise money for people who are less fortunate.
“We will go out onto the stands and will be sleeping on cold, hard concrete – regardless of the weather.
“There is nothing that’s going to stop us doing the event!”
Kevin Sinfield, director of rugby at Leeds Rhinos, will be taking part with Rhinos players Chev Walker and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
He said: “I will be joining my old team mates to sleep out at the stadium with over 200 others to raise money and awareness for three amazing causes.
“Leeds Rhinos Foundation is doing some fantastic work with people in our community through health, education and sports projects – it is really making a difference to people’s lives.”
Staff and students from Leeds Trinity University will also be taking part in the event.
Mia McHugh, the university’s lay chaplain, said: “By participating in the Leeds Big Sleep we are raising awareness and money for three wonderful charities.
“Yes, it will be cold; yes, we’ll be tired on the Friday; but we will also have a great time, whilst doing something so worthwhile.”
St George’s Crypt supports the homeless and vulnerable in Leeds, offering food, emergency accommodation, residential projects, skills training and much more.
Leeds Rhinos Foundation delivers projects in the heart of the community by harnessing the power of sport to make a lasting, positive impact on individuals’ lives.
St Gemma’s Hospice is a Leeds-based charity providing expert care and support for local people with life-limiting illnesses.
Cheryl Harrington encourages those wishing to support the event to visit their sponsorship page.
She said: “It’s all about Leeds people helping other Leeds people.”