Leeds Big Sleep another success

A hundred volunteers participated in this year’s Leeds Big Sleep, sleeping the night under the Carnegie Terrace at Emerald Headingley Stadium.

The group, which included volunteers from the Leeds Rhinos squad and staff, Yorkshire Evening Post editor Hannah Thaxter and Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s chairman Phil Caplan, have raised over £20,000, beating last year’s total.

Homelessness and poverty in Leeds has been increasing. Following a 20% rise between 2016 and 2017, that total is set to go up again in the coming years. The money raised from this event will help provide support and resources that help people like this every day and will also go towards supporting the work of St Gemma’s Hospice and Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

The sleepout was organised by Gareth Cook, head of community and engagement at Leeds Rhinos Foundation, Gail Chapman from St Gemma’s Hospice and Cheryl Harrington from St George’s Crypt whose charities all work in the community of Leeds to help support vulnerable people.

When asked about how the event, Cook commented: “It was great to run the event for the second time. We raised under £20,000 in 2017 but already we have exceeded that total this time around.

“It was massive to get the Rhinos squad involved.  The club’s director of rugby Kevin Sinfield was very enthusiastic about the event and getting the team involved. It’s great for the team in terms of their preseason but they also got to meet fans and interact with them off the pitch. I don’t know any other club that would commit that number of players and staff to one event and I’m confident they have enjoyed it!”

New Leeds Rhinos signing Tui Lolohea, who joined his team mates on the Carnegie Terrace for the sleepout, said: “To come from 20-degree heat to this is a difference but it’s for a good cause and it was important that the squad could come and take part.

“To raise money for vulnerable people is really important and to have experienced what it’s like to sleep rough for one night, I hope we can raise as much as we can.”

You can still donate to the group by clicking here or for more information about the volunteers, go here.