Hampden Snore to make a big noise for homelessness

Hampden Park in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

Hampden Park in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

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EARLIER this summer, Glasgow hosted the Homeless World Cup - now the city is hosting the Hampden Snore to raise awareness of homelessness.

Bethany Christian Trust and Street Soccer Scotland have teamed up to create a unique opportunity for people who want to create a legacy from the World Cup.

For one night only, on Friday, the trust has been given the opportunity to SleepOut pitch-side at Hampden Park.

Bethany Christian Trust has taken their sleep-out initiative, where people take to the streets of their city and sleep homeless for a night of sleeping rough and raising awareness, and given it a unique Scottish football twist by hosting it at the national stadium for the Hampden Snore.

READ MORE: Call for action over Scottish ‘homelessness crisis’

Scores of football fans and fundraisers will sleep beside Hampden’s hallowed turf in a bid to show participants some of the conditions people on Scotland’s streets face when they are considered homeless.

Chris Gordon, 40, a community support manager at Bethany, said: “We’re aware that we’re not trying to recreate the homelessness experience.

“We’re trying to make it an event that’s not fun in the jovial sense but a great opportunity and the closest people will get to the Hampden pitch unless they’ve still got aspirations to play for the national team.

“If anyone goes there to watch Scotland play this is the event for them.”

Chris told STV: “We’ve achieved a lot in a relatively short period of time, creating partner hubs with churches in Glasgow, trying to reach out to the communities that are most in need.

“That’s why we’re working in areas like Parkhead, Govan, St George’s Cross, Possilpark - all these areas which are really struggling and we’re trying to do what we can.

“I worked with colleagues who were on the front line and I could see the transformation of people who they were working with.

“The work becomes infectious if you like, you know, you want to do something. I think that word infectious when you see how people can be transformed you think what can I do, what can my legacy be.”

READ MORE: Celtic fans to hold food bank collection at Inverness clash

One of his personal achievements in the build up to the Hampden Snore is gaining the support of childhood hero and Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish.

Bethany has 200 staff members and 3000 volunteers.

Chris said: “On a personal level I do talks in schools and I’m aware that the response to the question we quite often ask - ‘how do you think somebody becomes homeless?’ - 15 or 20 years ago you might have got the answers of drinking too much or taking drugs, or something like that.

“Now the answer I was getting recently was ‘because they’ve lost their job’.

“That’s a big step forward I think in terms of public awareness that they realise this can happen to anybody, not because you have an alcohol problem or an addiction issue.

“Often I think they’re even starting to be aware of addiction that follows becoming homeless and that’s why the charity can get people during periods of crisis then we can prevent them becoming homeless in the first place.”

He added: “Did people know this HWC was on? Did you go and watch a game? Everyone thought it was a great event, which it was, but if nothing happens from that then where is the legacy?

“We need to do something. We can’t just have a week of sunshine and playing football and pretend the world is rosy again. There needs to be something that happens from it and this is an opportunity for people to make their mark in a very real way.

“All we can do is create an event and try and make it as attractive as possible, and I think we have done with trying to build on the back of the Homeless World Cup which was such a success. And why partnering with Street Soccer made sense. I think from our end we’ve done things really well and we’re happy with the event on Friday.

“People can have an empathy with people having to sleep out every night. There will be comforts at Hampden that you will not get on the street and I think added to that it’s the national stadium - if you’re ever going to do a sleep out this is the one to do.

“It’s a unique opportunity and we’re really grateful to Hampden for giving us that.”

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