More than 120 people took part in the Big Sleep Out this weekend for homeless charity Stonepillow, braving a downpour on Sunday morning.
The annual event aims to raise awareness of homelessness through the experience of sleeping in cardboard shelters in the grounds of Chichester Cathedral.
This year’s Sleep Out kicked off with a carnival-style samba band, followed by a BBQ, shelter building competition, cathedral service and live music before participants settled down to sleep out in the cathedral grounds.
Due to the ongoing roof repair works at Chichester Cathedral, shelters were constructed in the area behind the cathedral instead of on the Cathedral Green.
The event does not aim to replicate homelessness, but serves to give a small insight into the harsh realities of sleeping rough, with Stonepillow clients sharing their own stories with the group.
Many youth and church groups took part, including the winners of the shelter competition, Immanuel Church Deeper Group, followed in close second by Bosham Youth Group.
A spokesperson for Stonepillow said the charity wanted to say ‘a huge thank you’ to everyone who took part and helped facilitate the event.
“Well done to everyone who slept out, braving heavy rain in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“The event could not have taken place without the support of sponsors Kiwi Recruitment, and through partnership with Chichester Cathedral.
“Local businesses also showed their support by donating cardboard for the shelters, food for the event and raffle prizes.
“The event was supported by volunteers from the local community, including Stonepillow clients.”