Wasps rugby players attend sleepout event to support homeless people in Leamington
Wasps first-team players have flown in to support a major sleepout aimed at raising vital funds for vulnerable adults in Leamington.
Black and Gold quartet Zurabi Zhvania, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Tommy Taylor and Jack Owlett took time out from first-team duties to spend time with those participating in Helping Hands’ Big Sleepout 2020 last Friday.
The Big Sleepout 2020, now in its fifth year, is organised by local charity Helping Hands and aims to raise awareness of what life is like for the town’s homeless community, as well as funds for the charity’s work with vulnerable individuals across Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth.
Nearly 100 volunteers made a donation to take part in the Big Sleepout 2020 on the ground of All Saints Church, with the sleeping location remaining secret until the night itself.
Helping Hands is a charity that supports people in need, whether it is providing a listening ear, helping people back into work, or supplying household items to individuals on low incomes.
Wasps’ Tommy Taylor is a regular volunteer at Helping Hands’ weekly soup kitchens alongside teammate Rob Miller.
Tommy, who is gearing up with his Wasps teammates to take on Saracens at Ricoh Arena on Friday 21 February, said: “I’ve forged good friendships with some of the regular visitors to the soup kitchen, so I know first-hand how much of a difference the funds raised from events such as this will make to them.
“The Big Sleepout 2020 is a fantastic event because it highlights the plight of the most vulnerable parts of our communities, whilst generating money that is vital to helping individuals to take that next positive step forward in life whether that is getting a roof over the head, beginning rehabilitation or becoming more employable.
“It was heart-warming to see such a strong number turn out on the night and humbling to hear stories from those who have and still are experiencing homelessness or some other form of adversity.”
Lianne Kirkman, Chief Executive Officer at Helping Hands, added: “We’re so thankful to everyone who supported us at this year’s Big Sleepout 2020. The event not only raises funds for Helping Hands, it also creates more empathy in the community for vulnerable people.
“It’s often easy to get on with our day-to-day lives and forget how difficult things can be for people without a home. Yet Rob, Tommy and Jack volunteer in our soup kitchen, interacting with the homeless, week in week out. We’re so pleased to have them as such a vital part of our team.”