ONE WEEK TO GO! And there is still time to sign up to Wolves Foundation’s virtual sleepout, and help those suffering from food poverty in the local community.
It is now just over a year since around 150 hardened souls got themselves wrapped up with layer after layer, grabbed a sleeping bag and plenty of hot drinks, and bedded down for the night in the Stan Cullis Stand at Molineux.
It was a cold night, it even lashed it down for the first couple of hours just for good measure, but to be honest, that just added to the authenticity of the experience.
The first ever Molineux Sleepout, organised by the Wolves Foundation to raise funds which were shared between the charity and the Good Shepherd, was not just about the incredible sum of over £50,000 that was generated thanks to the fantastic efforts of those who took part.
It was also about raising awareness, of experiencing just a tiny flavour of what it is like to sleep rough, even for just a single night and with access to food and drink, toilet facilities and company.
Everyone who took part in the sleepout was then able to travel home after it finished, bleary-eyed with and cold and weary limbs, but with more of an insight into what those without shelter have to experience on a regular basis.
Homelessness and poverty remain a problem throughout society and may well get worse as a result of the economic impact of Covid-19, although there has been some success via the government led ‘Everyone In’ initiative which financed the offer of hotel accommodation to rough sleepers during the pandemic.
Wolverhampton in particular has a local authority and many agencies and charities working pro-actively together to provide sustained support to those who found themselves on the fringes of society, and that is an area in which Wolves Foundation are also set to become even more involved.
The charity is planning to address any issues around food poverty by providing food, education and physical activities during school holidays, with a significant project investment due to be announced next month.
They would have loved to repeat the Molineux Sleepout for 2020, to continue to raise awareness of funding to help with the project, but with lockdown regulations making that impossible, instead there will be the Virtual Sleepout next Friday night.
Fans will be encouraged to create their own sleepout experience at home, paying an entry fee (and raising money where possible), which will ensure them access to online activities during the evening including Zoom-type calls with special guests.
Once again, all proceeds raised will be shared between the Foundation and the Good Shepherd, the charity based opposite Molineux which works at improving the lives of the homeless and vulnerable.
“We have built up a really positive working relationship with the Good Shepherd over many years, and know that food poverty will be a challenging issue over the coming months,” says Will Clowes, head of Wolves Foundation.
“We have some long-standing plans to put into place to make our own contribution to providing support in the local community, and the ‘virtual sleepout’ will hopefully offer people the chance to enjoy a fun activity while keeping a focus on these serious issues which we are all working to address.”
Wolves’ previous link-ups with the Good Shepherd include player visits, donations for equipment and not only the sleepout but a social action project involving young PL Kicks participants donating trainers to those people who needed them.
“We have always been extremely grateful for the support of Wolves and Wolves Foundation, and are always delighted to link up with projects and events which have a positive effect on the community,” added Tom Hayden, Head of Operations at the Good Shepherd.