Published on 27 March 2023
A group of 14 midwifery students are sleeping out under the stars to raise vital funds for homeless veterans during the cost-of-living crisis.
The University of Sunderland first-year students are taking part in the Great Tommy Sleep Out, an initiative run by Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) to raise vital funds for veterans living on the streets. The campaign encourages participants to spend a night outside, safely simulating the homeless experience, while fundraising for the worthy cause.
Last year RBLI saw demand for its homeless services increase by 45%. Now due to the cost of living increasing, the charity expects the cost of housing those they already support to more than treble. There are approximately 6,000 military veterans who are homeless.
RBLI, which is a separate charity to the Royal British Legion, provides a home to more than 300 veterans and their families through their Kent village as well as providing employment and welfare support.
The aspiring midwives are playing their part to tackle veteran homelessness by sleeping out at Penshaw Monument on 31 March 2023.
In the group is Beth Stott, a former combat medic from Tunstall, Sunderland, who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps for six years before being inspired to become a midwife following the birth of her children.
Beth said: "Having served myself, I understand the struggles that ex-servicemen and women face when they return to civilian life. It's heart-breaking to know that there are veterans sleeping rough on the streets, and I am proud to take part in the Great Tommy Sleep Out to raise awareness and funds for this important cause.
“We might be in for some difficult weather, which we know won’t be pleasant. But it will remind us that we’re doing is to support those who face those challenges every single night. We just hope people can get behind us and donate to this worthy cause.”
Lead Midwife for Education at the University of Sunderland, Linda McNamee, said: “We are extremely impressed at the students’ consideration for others and the effort they have put into organising this camp out."
To support the midwives as they raise vital funds for homeless veterans through the Great Tommy Sleep Out, visit: www.tinyurl.com/sleep-midwives