SLEEPING rough together has allowed people in the community to get a greater understanding of what the city’s homeless have to go through every night.
Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Donna Jones, said: ‘Rough sleeping has an impact on the most vulnerable people in our society.
‘We have a duty of care to do our best to help these people – to get them off the streets and into their own homes as quickly as possible.
‘This night was about putting ourselves in the shoes of those who are out on the streets – those who need our help the most.
‘It is very important that we support these people and the charities we have in the city do a wonderful job of that.
‘We have raised thousands of pounds together by doing this – and that makes me incredibly proud of the people of Portsmouth.’
Giles Babb, landlord at the Bluebell Inn and co-founder of The Final Straw Solent, said: ‘I am very proud to have been a part of this.
‘It is a real honour to spend the night at Fratton Park, but to see first-hand what these rough sleepers go through really makes it hit home.
‘I do think the government needs to wake up and understand what these people truly need – and the financial support that is required.
‘It is crazy that we find the money to drop bombs on Syria but aren’t able to give a proper helping hand to people back here, who are sleeping on the streets every night.
‘This is the first time I have ever taken part in something like this – but if I can raise just a little bit of money then I know that I have done my bit to help fight against this.’
Claire Martin, head of community projects at Pompey in the Community, said: ‘I think holding an event like this is incredibly important.
‘We run projects with the homeless in the city and their stories really make you realise that one simple mistake can put you out on the streets.
‘A lot of us think that these rough sleepers have a fault of some kind, but their stories make you realise that some of them are out on the streets through no fault of their own.
‘You lie out here in your sleeping bag and all you can think about is how cold it is; that is what these rough sleepers are going through every day.’