Published on: 22 August 2013

One hundred and sixty people signed up and donated their money to take part in Christ Church’s first Sleepout Supporting Homeless Youth held recently. While the bad weather led to a drop in numbers on the night, 60 people including boys, parents and guardians braved the elements and slept rough for the Wolsey House event supporting Anglicare WA’s Street Connect.

Wolsey tutor and event co-ordinator Nicole Xouris said the event aimed to give boys and their families an experience of what it is like for thousands of young people in Perth each night, increasing awareness youth homelessness while raising funds for the cause.

Participants began their Friday night building cardboard shelters in the Chapel forecourt, however as the wet weather set in, the group sought refuge under the Chapel’s eaves, in the Preparatory School undercroft or on balconies.

“We lit two bonfires in barrels to help keep people warm throughout the evening,” Ms Xouris said. “There were dusty board games that hadn’t seen the light of day for a while and UNO was also a winner! But mostly, parents and sons enjoyed some really special quality time together.”

Deputy Headmaster Roger Bayly welcomed families and introduced Esben Kaas-Sorensen, co-ordinator of Anglicare’s Street Connect, who visited with the Street Connect bus. Esben, who spoke at both the Preparatory and Senior School assemblies recently, stayed and talked with many parents about his youth work.

In the morning, all participants enjoyed breakfast together in Sandover Dining Hall. “Overall, there was a very positive vibe about the event with lovely interaction between parents and sons and between different families. I think we have only good things to work from for next year,” she said.

On 30 July, Prep and Senior boys dressed in red and blue to support youth homelessness. Now in its fourth year, the annual Blue and Red Day helps raise money for Anglicare’s Youth Crisis Accommodation Services.