Paramedics and emergency care assistants from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) Swindon Station are set to sleep out rough for 24 hours to highlight the issue of homelessness this week.
On Thursday 28 February 2019, paramedic Chris Kirby will be joined by colleagues in support of local charity ‘The Swindon Night Shelter’ which provides emergency accommodation, food and clothing for homeless people.
The SWASFT team are doing the 24-hour sleep-out on the steps of Swindon Ambulance Station for the second year running. They are hoping to beat last year’s total of £2,000 which they raised for Shelter.
Paramedic Chris Kirby said: “Sleeping out last year opened all of our eyes as to what it must be like for those homeless patients we treat, and how the thought of being homeless as a continuous cycle rather than a one off might affect an individual’s mental health.
“It highlighted things that you would never even consider such as road noise when you are trying to sleep, foxes coming for a sniff, how cold a pavement gets after a few hours, and the absolute boredom of staying in one place for fear of losing your spot if you move.
“The passing public were very supportive and kindly gave us several rounds of free coffee and food. This year, inspired by our new neighbours, the Swindon Night shelter, we shall be raising money for this local charity with a target of £3,000. We have built good relationships with the shelter, and hope to create a referral pathway to them within the coming months. We would actively encourage people to run similar events - it definitely creates an understanding for those who have no option but to sleep rough.”
The SWASFT team sleeping out this year will be: Chris Kirby, Ollie Dalton, Charlie Goldsmith, Adrian Sawyer, and two new faces: Lee Stagg and the Wiltshire Deputy County Commander Jane Whichello.
To contribute to the Swindon paramedics go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swindonparas4homeless