A TEAM from Ulster University braved the elements on Saturday, November 24, to take part in a sleep out event to raise awareness for SOS NI which helps those in need on the streets of Belfast.
The SOS Buses are placed all around the city and act as a safe haven and often a first stop for homeless people, where in a non-judgemental and caring environment we provide medical and listening ear services, food, sleeping bags and clothes and can signpost clients to partner organisations that can offer long term support.
Kevin McStravock is a former graduate from the Journalism course at Ulster University campus in Coleraine and since graduating, he has been heavily involved with the Ulster University Student's Union.
Kevin now fulfils the role of President within the organisation and said Ulster University participated in the event last year. However, as a collective, they are hopeful that they can surpass their fundraising tally and raise around £2,000 for SOS NI.
In the aftermath of the event, Kevin admits that his experience have made him “appreciate” the finer things and life and insists that we often “take things for granted.”
Speaking to the Chronicle UUSU President, Kevin McStravock said: “The sleep out experience was a real eye opener. It was a challenge for us all and it made me realise how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, food on the table and a warm bed to get into at night.”
He continued: “The event took place at Writers Square in Belfast and you could hear every scream and siren so it was difficult to get any sleep and it made me realise how difficult it must be for those laying in doorways, exposed to the elements every night of the week.”
As temperatures plummeted, Kevin admitted that the aspect of the cold added to the reality of the experience.
“Lucky for us we layered up which allowed us to keep warm and we were told to wear plenty of warm clothes in the run up to the event,” said Kevin.
*For the full story see this week's Coleraine Chronicle