Students learn life lesson in School Sleepout at Perth Oval

John Wollaston Anglican Community School students Emma Winship and Rhiannon Biair sleeping at Perth Oval in East Perth. Picture: Sean Middleton.
John Wollaston Anglican Community School students Emma Winship and Rhiannon Biair sleeping at Perth Oval in East Perth. Picture: Sean Middleton.

INSTEAD of cheering sports fans, Perth oval was occupied by more than 70 school students braving a low of eight degrees on August 4.

Students brought along warm clothes and sleeping bags and experienced sleeping outdoors on a cold winter’s night as part of Anglicare WA’s School Sleepout, designed to help young people understand the plight of homelessness.

Money raised on the night went to the charity group’s Street Connect program that provides a bus parked in the CBD and helps homeless youth with counselling, emergency accommodation, health check-ups and referrals to professional agencies.

Anglicare WA chief executive for Ian Carter said about 10,000 homeless people slept on the streets every night.

“Homeless people find that the inadequate systems in place to respond to their needs are frequently unavailable, inaccessible or oversubscribed, and we exposed the students to these frustrations over what was a long night for many of them,” he said.

“Many homeless people are escaping domestic violence or sexual abuse, a significant proportion have mental health issues while others are simply in desperately poor financial situations.

“Our Schools Sleepout is aimed at educating tomorrow’s leaders about the responsibility we all have in the community to extend our care and compassion to homeless people by ensuring they have the resources and support services to get their lives back on their feet.”