The Big Sleep Out is set-up by the Club’s Community Trust, which is sponsored by the University, and will see participants brave a night at the bet365 Stadium next February to increase awareness of homelessness within the city.
Those attending will experience first-hand what it is like to be a rough sleeper and will be given just a piece of cardboard to sleep on either inside the concourse of the stadium, or outside.
Adrian Hurst, Head of Community at Stoke City, said: “This is a community initiative where we’re looking to do two things; one, to raise money for the homeless cause that is affecting people across the city; and two, bring awareness to homelessness. For me, the biggest thing we can do as an organisation is make people aware of this issue that in the past 10 years has gotten bigger and bigger.
“We encourage people not to use their phones or devices, and instead make some connections with people. Aligning the Community Trust and Staffordshire University really makes sense on a number of different levels. We’ve got a real opportunity to help shape some young people’s futures, and I think that’s very important for the city, county, university and football club.”
In July 2021, the University launched the Action on Poverty and Hardship degree, a unique course centred around the importance of the lived experience of those who have faced hardship.
Martin Coates, Lecturer in the School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, believes the Big Sleep Out is a great opportunity for students on the new course to get involved with.
“This degree has unique aspects of lived experience, so we’re looking at what it’s actually like to live in poverty and what it’s like to be homeless.
“I think the publicity on homelessness is nowhere near high enough. So to actively come out and experience what it’s like, even just a flavour of it, and raise awareness is very important. Having learnt what the Big Sleep Out is, I am going to be actively encouraging my students to come and attend.”
The Big Sleep Out 2022 will take place on Friday 25 February 2022. To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.