Sussex Big Sleep Out

homeless man in brighton

St John Ambulance’s first ever ‘Big Sleep Out’ fund and awareness raiser is taking place in Brighton on the evening of Friday 28 November. The event will mark 10 years of the unique primary health services the organisation provides for homeless people in Sussex.

A worsening problem

This year St John Ambulance’s Sussex Homeless Services, covering Brighton and Hastings, will be needed more than ever. With house repossessions up by 71% due to the recession (source: FSA) record numbers of people are likely to find themselves homeless and in need of help with their health care just as winter bites.

I’ll be joining others to brave the cold in order to understand the plight of homeless people as well as help them by raising much needed money to keep this service going.

Tub Collins
CEO of Sussex St John Ambulance

Braving the cold

Sussex St John Ambulance president Major Mark Scrase-Dickins, Homeless Services Coordinator Lesley Heasman and Chief Executive Tub Collins will be among a group of supporters sponsored to sleep out for the night in Brighton’s Jubilee Square. Huddled in sleeping bags, they will be highlighting the essential work of the Sussex Homeless Services, which not only relieve suffering but help save local NHS costs, as well as raising vital funds.

Sussex homeless services

homeless health unit

In 2007 alone over 2,000 people in Brighton and Hastings were helped by St John Ambulance’s Sussex Homeless Services with the kind of primary health care that most of us take for granted, such as doctors and dentists.

Led by nurses, run by volunteers, and funded entirely by donations, the team offers assessment and advice on health issues, podiatry, on the spot prescriptions, support and referral to specialist care, warm clothes and first aid. These unique healthcare programmes operate from mobile units and clinics within hostels and day centres. The team also gives specialist training for organisations working with homeless and vulnerable clients.

Without an address, health care services are very difficult to access. Often, the only time a homeless person sees a doctor is when an illness gets so bad a trip to A&E is necessary. But both physical suffering and expensive medical procedures could be avoided.

Much needed

Tub Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Sussex St John Ambulance said: ‘With winter upon us and house repossessions rising, we think there will be even greater demand for these services in the coming months. We need to prepare now in terms of making people aware of the service and funding it.

‘I’ll be joining others to brave the cold in order to understand the plight of homeless people as well as help them by raising much needed money to keep this service going.’

Major Mark Scrase-Dickins, president of Sussex St John Ambulance added: ‘In this, the tenth year of St John Ambulance delivering primary health care for homeless people in Sussex, donations are needed to ensure these indispensable services continue.’

The Big Sleep Out is hoping to raise £5,000 towards the cost of this winter’s services. You can donate online.