Felsted School recently donated their grounds for the CHESS Homeless BIG Sleep Out event, to raise awareness of homelessness and funds for the charity which has given help and support to hundreds of homeless people since it was launched 21 years ago.
Felsted have been involved in various other fundraising opportunities for CHESS in the past and are large supporters of the charity. A number of the Felsted community joined in with the event, sleeping in tents or under the stars.
“It is incredibly important for us as a community to raise awareness of homelessness, and to support a local charity that touches the lives of so many” comments Felsted Chaplain, Reverend Nigel Little.
CHESS were very grateful to have many things donated by local businesses for the evening. These included; an Outdoor cinema screen which showed The Greatest Showman, BBQ food, and a performance from local band, The Vision, who shared their song ‘Pocket Change’, inspired by the lead singer’s past experience of homelessness.
Along with these activities, an ex service-user came and shared her story and told of how CHESS made a difference in her life, and a lady who is currently being supported by CHESS and staying at one of their properties set up a craft stall with many handmade items. This alone raised almost £200. The event has already raised over £2,200, with fundraising and donations still coming in until Christmas.
With homelessness on the rise in the UK, CHESS aims to provide a warm safe environment to stay, with meals, drinks and hygiene facilities along with the support they need to help turn their lives around. With the funding they receive, they are able to provide these necessities, along with a dedicated team of support staff who help individuals deal with the root of their problem and to get them back on their feet by helping them secure a permanent place to stay, look for work or gain qualifications.
As part of an ongoing commitment to make a difference in the local community, Felsted School helped to found the Felsted Mission, in the East End of London over 100 years. The Ascension Community Trust celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and Felsted pupils regularly volunteer at and raise funds for the foodbank and homeless shelter. Felsted pupils were inspired by this to choose a homeless charity closer to home to support alongside, and were inspired by the great work CHESS did in and around the Chelmsford area.