Homeless people join charity sleep out in Devizes

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Opendoor chairman Eddie Sims, front centre, and friends mark the end of their successful sleepout Opendoor chairman Eddie Sims, front centre, and friends mark the end of their successful sleepout

Homeless people took part in Devizes Opendoor’s annual sleep out to raise money for the charity.

The sleep out was held inside St Mary’s Church, New Park Street, on Friday night.

A total of 14 people were involved, about five of which were users of Opendoor’s facilities at St John’s Parish Rooms, Long Street.

Eddie Sims, chairman of Opendoor and who was taking part in the sleep out for the third time, said: “It went very well.

"We were not expecting some of our service users there but the people who were doing it to raise money for Opendoor really enjoyed talking to them and got a real feel for where they were at and that had more of an impact.

“The fundraisers were really interested and motivated by what they heard and the homeless people could see that we were thinking of them, that was quite nice.”

People slept on the floor in sleeping bags and had several layers of clothing on. They enjoyed hot drinks, soup and rolls during the evening and the following morning had hot drinks and toast for breakfast.

The temperature inside the church was not as cold as previous years - about seven degrees centigrade.

The event has so far raised £1,700 but Mr Sims expects the amount to rise. The money will be used for Opendoor’s running costs.

The charity provides three drop in sessions a week, offering cooked meals, access to health services and counselling, showers and use of a washing machine.

The charity’s new co-ordinator, Nadia Mitchell, starts this week.

Mr Sims added: “The sleep out makes a big contribution to our running costs. Without it we wouldn’t keep running.

"What is so important for the project is the support of the local community and that is what the sleep out is about, showing support for less fortunate people.”

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