The countdown is on to Bath Rugby Foundation’s annual sleep out at the home of Bath Rugby, as it aims to shine a light on the problem of youth homelessness in the city.
The event will take place on Wednesday 6th November, raising money to continue Bath Rugby Foundation’s work with vulnerable young people.
This year, the Rec Sleep Out is being supported by two young people who have experienced homelessness and have recently been supported by Bath Rugby Foundation.
During the summer Aiden Hungerford and Leah Gardener took part in Advantage, an employability programme created in conjunction with Bath College and Bath Job Centre.
Leah said: “I ran away from home aged 16 when my relationship with my mum broke down. I ended up living in abusive relationships and for a while I even lived in a tent, just to keep a roof over my head
“Working with Bath Rugby Foundation I feel more confident about the future. I have done things I never thought I would.
“I feel that it is ok to be myself. I have hope and a brighter future ahead of me, but there are more young people.”
Aiden, who had recently been sofa surfing, said: “It’s hard because when you don’t have stable accommodation it affects your mental health
“I had no secure place I could stay and it makes finding a job harder…and without a job getting somewhere to live is harder. Having a safe and stable place to live has allowed me to transform my life.
“Working with Bath Rugby Foundation has really boosted my confidence. It has made me feel like I can go out there and deal with the world again.
“I feel like I’m supported now.”
Bath Rugby Foundation CEO, Lynne Fernquest, added: “We decided to hold The Rec Sleep Out because we were seeing too many young people arrive at our programmes who do not have a safe and secure place to spend the night.
“Nationally there are 210,000 children who are homeless. It is an issue that affects every city and every town in the country. Including Bath.
“Poverty and the threat of youth homelessness in our community is growing not falling. Vulnerable children aren’t just falling through the net – there is no net.
“That’s where Bath Rugby Foundation comes in – we believe by providing young people with new skills and the opportunity to learn, they will feel the benefit for years to come.”
Once again, the Rec Sleep Out is being supported by players and staff from Bath Rugby.
Argentina international, Lucas Noguera, who took part in last year’s inaugural Rec Sleep Out, said: “As a team at Bath Rugby we are all keen to support the Rec Sleep Out.
“There are too many young people in Bath who do not have a safe place to live and we all support Bath Rugby Foundation’s work in giving these youngsters are brighter future.
“It was great to meet Aiden and hear how he is in now being supported.
“As a squad we urge as many people in Bath to sign up to the Rec Sleep Out to support the work Bath Rugby Foundation does with young people like Aiden and Leah.”
You can sign up to take part in the Rec Sleep Out at https://www.bathrugbyfoundation.com/Event/the-rec-sleep-out-2019.