Community leaders pitch backyard tents for Vinnies Sleepout
Business and community leaders will curl up in cars, couches and backyards on June 18 as the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout goes online.
For the first time, participants across the country will join an interactive, live-streamed broadcast using their phones, tablets or computers.
The popular event last year raised $7.9 million for Vinnies’ homelessness services.
Former doctor and TV personality Dr Andrew Rochford, who will host the Sleepout, said he had seen first hand the difference that Vinnies’ homelessness services make.
“The Sleepout is such an important fundraiser so Vinnies can continue helping thousands of people every year,” Dr Rochford said.
“It is great that people adapt to ensure this year’s event can go ahead during the coronavirus.”
About 116,000 people experience homelessness across Australia and, of these, about one in 14 are ‘sleeping rough’.
Vinnies’ homelessness services include accommodation; domestic violence refuges; food, clothing, blankets and sleeping bags, counselling and healthcare.
The goal is to find permanent and safe homes for needy people who are often facing debt and unemployment.
Previously the Sleepout has comprised several events in major cities. This year, participants will nominate their own sleeping location, such as their car, couch or backyard. Their families can join them too.
Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn CEO, Barnie van Wyk, who will be sleeping in his backyard, said: “It is great to offer an online, interactive experience with leaders who are physically distant but connected through supporting the most vulnerable people in their communities.”
“Funds raised ensure we can continue running our Night Patrol vans, offering light refreshments and material aid to people at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Canberra.”
Other Vinnies programs that benefit from the Sleepout fundraiser are the Clemente adult education program, run in partnership with Australian Catholic University, and the St Nick’s Young Carers Program.
Participants can register online at www.ceosleepout.org.au