High hopes! Reach for the sky to help charity fund new homeless hostel in Bognor

Sky Diver

A homeless charity determined to raise £100,000 to fund a new hostel in Bognor Regis has asked potential fund-raisers to reach for the sky to help them.

Stonepillow needs to raise the money to allow the new Bognor venue to be open 24 hours a day. And they are asking adrenaline-junkies to throw themselves out of a plane as one method of trying to raise money by sponsorship.

Would-be skydivers are being urged to take on the “ultimate challenge of a lifetime and skydive for Stonepillow for just £50!” The event takes place on Saturday 21st April at GoSkydive, Old Sarum Park, in Salisbury.

Laura Bulbeck, from Stonepillow, explained: “There is a £50 registration fee to secure your place and then we ask that you raise a minimum of £395 sponsorship. If you reach this target, it will mean that Stonepillow receive a minimum donation of £220 and you get to jump for free! Every extra pound that you raise over the minimum comes straight to Stonepillow, so please try to raise as much as you possibly can.

“If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, a feeling of freedom and an incredible sense of accomplishment, pretty much nothing on earth beats tandem skydiving! Visit GoSkydive to sign up and then set up your JustGiving page and start fundraising!

“Your donation can change someone’s life. It could be the spark of hope which makes them feel like life is worth living.

“Homelessness has increased by 30 per cent in the last year alone. We are opening a new and improved hostel in Bognor Regis in April 2018 with increased bed spaces but similar to the service we are currently providing, it will only be open in the evenings.

“There is a real need for support to be available seven days a week. We want to meet this need by providing a 24-hour hostel, seven days a week, 365 days a year but to do that we need your help. We need to raise £100,000 a year to make this happen.

“The average age of death for a homeless person is 47. No one should have to sleep on the streets. We are the only hostel provision for homeless people in Arun so we cover a large geographical area. Stonepillow undertook research nationally on hostel provision to identify best practice and found substantial benefits offered to clients when the provision is 24/7.

“The project strives to be the most innovative service in the area by its commitment to staff training, development and client involvement. The new Bognor Hostel will provide short-term accommodation with support in a safe and stable environment for 14 residents.

“It will act as the primary accommodation response to rough sleeping and homeless individuals within the local community, assessing housing needs, as well as working with an individual’s, often complex, issues.”

Here’s what the 24-hour hostel would mean to the charity’s clients: “Often ‘night-time only’ hostel provision puts off people from accessing altogether as it continues to feel unstable.

“Much of a person’s substance misuse and offending behaviour is due to boredom and having to fill their time in the day before re-accessing the hostel again in the evenings e.g. spending time in pubs to keep warm etc.

“A 24-hour hostel would provide greater opportunity to address issues and receive support when required, as well as consistency of support.”

About the Author

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son.