The Molineux Sleepout for 2023 provided another powerful night of the community coming together to support those experiencing homelessness and vulnerabilities, raising money for the Wolves Foundation and Good Shepherd.
Over 150 participants slept under the stars in the Stan Cullis Stand, in some of the worst weather of the winter so far.
A number of special guests and ambassadors from both charities gave their thoughts on the importance of the event and the tremendous work of all those taking part.
MARK RHODES (WOLVES FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR)
I am motivated for the Molineux Sleepout to raise awareness for an issue that really shouldn’t be happening in the 21st century. People don’t deserve to be homeless or not be able to afford food – it shouldn’t be happening.
For us, it’s just one night of experiencing the conditions of what someone might have experienced for 20 or 30 years – that’s not right and we need to try to do something about it.
It gives us an awareness of how some people have to live and reminds us not to take what we have for granted. A lot of us take for granted that we have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Anything we can do to raise awareness is important.
JACK KIRWAN (GOOD SHEPHERD AMBASSADOR)
This topic is something close to my heart and I think it’s very important to help when you can. It is also important to stand by your convictions and make a bit of a difference and, during the pandemic, I was chatting to a friend who asked me what I was doing to help.
So, I set up a food bank for a couple of months out of the back of my car! It does feel weird to say this because the event is to support people in really sad and grim situations, but there is always such a great atmosphere at the Sleepout, and the spirit and camaraderie is so good.
Last year was my first one and I was really anxious about it, but it surprised me how much I actually took out of it. It actually boosts my own mental health and gives me a buzz for two or three weeks just to have taken part.
MITCH LANE (WOLVES FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR)
Homelessness is still a problem in Wolverhampton and we need to raise awareness of the situation. And I think we all realise that, while we are going to spend the night sleeping in the stand, we get to go home after.
It’s an eye-opener especially as it’s cold and it’s raining but we get to go home to get warm while a lot of people don’t have that luxury. The Molineux Sleepout is an event which is an experience in itself but everyone is so friendly and it’s a really worthwhile thing to do.
REEPA (WOLVES RECORDS’ FIRST ARTIST)
I come from the streets, from Heath Town, where I grew up before the area was regenerated and refurbished. Homelessness was something I was exposed to from a very young age, when I would see the same faces out and about by the shops.
So, I was aware of the issues and now, a few years on, being able to go to the Sleepout and use my voice to spread awareness is the very least I can do. It is actually a really humbling experience with people from all walks of life coming together – it makes you feel a part of something and doing something to help with a really good feeling of community.
S-X (WOLVES FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR)
It’s great to be able to attend the Molineux Sleepout and I don’t want to say it’s giving back because I am only giving my time – what other people are doing is much more than that. Homelessness is a national problem which is also in this city and it is important to raise awareness.
It’s an uncomfortable evening but it’s uncomfortable for some people every day, not just with homelessness but with more deeper issues as well. What’s nice is that everyone is here together, for a good purpose, and we can all increase our understanding of people who need support.
CARL IKEME (GOOD SHEPHERD AMBASSADOR)
I have been to a lot of the Molineux Sleepouts now and it’s always nice to be back and see some familiar faces. I witnessed first-hand the work the Good Shepherd were doing about ten years ago, when we went to their previous building in the City Centre as part of a visit when I was at Wolves.
I couldn’t believe how many people were using the food service, not just homeless people but so many others who just couldn’t afford food. It was a humbling experience and an eye-opener, and in more recent years I became an ambassador.
I don’t do much, it is the people who work there who do so many great things, but I just try and help when I can. I think as a footballer it is always so important to be part of the community and it’s something I have always enjoyed.
KARL HENRY (WOLVES FOUNDATION AMBASSADOR)
Taking part in the Molineux Sleepout is always very important to me to support the work of Wolves Foundation and the Good Shepherd. When you know about the range of help that both charities deliver in the local community, it is always something I want to try and raise awareness of whenever possible.
I have managed to do every Sleepout so far – it’s a big date in my diary! It was a really tough night with the weather this year so ‘well done’ to everyone who took part and also to all involved in the organisation. Everyone who either slept out or donated should feel proud that they have contributed to helping improve the lives of people across our city.
The fundraising page for the Molineux Sleepout is still open if you would like to add a donation to support the work of Wolves Foundation and the Good Shepherd. Click here for the link.