TROOPER: Darren Sprott, from the Department of Human Services, gets ready for a long night.
TROOPER: Darren Sprott, from the Department of Human Services, gets ready for a long night. Nikki Todd

Sleeping rough is tough gig

ABOUT 50 brave Tweed residents toughed it out on Thursday, sleeping rough to help raise money for the homeless.

The event is the third organised by St Vinnies in the region, with all proceeds going to Fred's Place at Tweed Heads, a much-needed drop-in centre for the shire's homeless.

Hosted by Seagulls Club, the event was supported by the region's clubs, as well as other businesses, while about 20 students from Lindisfarne College also participated, joined by principal Stuart Marquardt and chaplain Chad Rynehart.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest, who volunteers at a hostel for the homeless in Sydney also took part in the event, as did Deputy Mayor Reece Byrnes who was a leading fundraiser.

Mr Provest said while once he may have been afraid to engage with homeless people he now attempts to connect with them and listen to their stories.

"Just lending a friendly ear can make a big difference,” he said.

The sleepout has already raised more than $60,000, with donations still flowing.

St Vinnies chief executive Michael Timbrell thanked all participants.

"We began this event because we don't get any government funding for Fred's Place,” Mr Timbrell said.

"Without this support, we would struggle to keep operating.”

Linda Williams, St Vinnies special works manager, also thanked the many sponsors who had helped make the event such a success, including The Ken and Jane Grace Foundation, which contributed $5000, as well as the SAE Group with installed a free $5000 solar system at Fred's Place.

"We're hugely grateful to everyone, not least Seagulls Club, one of the Tweed Clubs that are annual event sponsors, which hosted the event on their rear deck and adjacent lawn,” Ms Williams said.

"The club also raised an extra $3000 from members during August's 'Homelessness Month'.”

Fred's Place receives no government funding. Tax-deductible donations can still be made at https://fredsplacecommunitysleepout2018.gofundraise.com.au/



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