Sports heroes sleep rough for homeless youngsters

As thousands of homeless youngsters do each night, elite Australian sportspeople will sleep in the open or on couches on August 1 to help fight this national crisis.

Led by our greatest Paralympian, Louise Sauvage, and Test batting hero Greg Chappell, the sports greats are supporting The Chappell Foundation’s 2021 Sports Stars Sleepout.

Sydney’s Covid-19 lockdown has closed the Sleepout’s normal venue, the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Instead the sports stars will spend the night of August 1 at home in their back yards, balconies or on couches to raise funds from their supporters.

“The Sleepout is one of our key events raising funds for the young homeless and we cannot abandon it because of Covi d restrictions,” said Foundation Chairman Darshak Mehta.

“Not when thousands of youngsters are forced to couch-surf every night and many others sleep out in parks and suchlike – a crisis significantly worsened by Covid.

Our participants are not only expressing their solidarity, but also experiencing for one night the cold and discomfort felt by our young and homeless, throughout the year.”

Greg, TCF’s co-founder, had a taste of couch-surfing during last year’s Sleepout when travel restrictions prevented him from travelling to the SCG from Brisbane.

Louise, a Foundation Ambassador, will be doing her third Sleepout, this year at home.

Others who have signed on this year include former Test opener Ed Cowan, ex-Wallaby and Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard, Olympics swimmer Craig Stevens and Winter Olympics skier Scott Kneller.

Our Sleepout guest speaker Jason Blaiklock, these days chief executive of Australian Opal Cutters, was 30 years ago sleeping rough on the streets of inner Sydney.

Jason’s is an inspirational story underscoring TCF’s determination to support charities at the frontline of the youth homelessness providing accommodation, education, training, counselling and basic living support.

Last financial year the Foundation distributed $728,000 among our seven charity partners and already this month is finalising grants totalling more than $300,000.

Sports Stars Sleepout last year raised $116,413, more than twice the previous amount.

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