Swimming’s own Bronte Campbell is gearing up to sleep rough at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) next month to raise funds for homeless youth as part of The Chappell Foundation’s ‘Sport Stars Sleepout’ on August 3.
Armed with just a sleeping bag, a few sheets of cardboard and a plastic sheet in case of rain, Campbell will join retired Dolphin Lisa Forrest, Test cricket stars Mitchell Starc and Alyssa Healy, and a host of other sports stars to help raise funds for young Australians sleeping rough on the streets.
Campbell believed the experience was going to be a real eye-opener and give her a small taste of what life is like for those living on the streets.
“I don’t think it will show me exactly what it is like to be homeless but hopefully it will give me some sympathy and empathy to what they encounter daily.
“As it gets colder and colder and you start to think about people living on the streets and how hard it would be to go about your everyday life if that was your reality.
“I really wanted to raise awareness for this cause and see what that experience would be like for myself because I’ve often thought if you are not even able to be safe when you are sleeping at night, I don’t know how you are supposed to have enough energy to confront the rest of your day.
“It has definitely been something I have thought about a bit this year, especially with everyone spending a lot of time in their houses – what it would feel like to not have that sense of security.”
Campbell believes youth homelessness is an important cause that needs to be highlighted.
“The aspect of youth homelessness is something I think often gets overlooked. When you are young and if home is not a safe place to be there is not that many places where you can go.
“You have very little utility of your own and often very little money of your own. Often when you think of homelessness you typically think of older people you don’t really think of young people, so it is important to bring awareness to this aspect.
Unsure what the experience is going to be like, Campbell said she knows the cold is not something she will enjoy.
“I don’t think I am going to love being in the cold, I get to have a sleeping bag but some people living on the streets don’t even get that, so I am lucky in that respect.
“I doubt it will be a comfortable night, but I think that is the point, to go through that night after night and then try and live the rest of your day must be incredibly difficult,” she said.
Before COVID-19 it was estimated 43,000 young Australians were homeless, many forced to sleep rough every night with requests for support increasing since the pandemic.
Former Test cricket captain and TCF co-founder Greg Chappell said the Foundation hoped to exceed the 2019 Sleepout’s $46,700 net fundraising.
“Given the economic effects of the COVID crisis, this is an ambitious target,” he said.
“But with more than 43,000 people aged under 25 homeless on any night of the year, we all have to strive harder to overcome this blight on our nation.
“More often than not these youngsters are victims of awful circumstance and I think if every Australian could show a little more empathy with them we can make real inroads into the problem.
“Even in our short history, we at The Chappell Foundation have seen first-hand dozens of young lives helped back onto a good path by the charities we fund.”
To support Bronte you can donate here https://www.thechappellfoundation.com/ or www.sportsstarssleepout.com