Three NSWIS staff members have braved the cold at the Sydney Cricket Ground for a night sleeping rough, raising funds and awareness for homelessness as part of the annual Sport Stars Sleepout.
Paralympian Louise Sauvage, Olympian Mel Rippon and former Australian powerlifting champion Najat Khoury joined about 30 sports stars to take part in the initiative by The Chappell Foundation, of which Louise Sauvage is an ambassador.
Tens of thousands of young Australians sleep without a roof over their heads and The Chappell Foundation raises funds to give to those who provide refuge, nourishment and a better future for thousands of young Australians without a roof over their heads each night.
Armed with a piece of cardboard for a bed and a borrowed sleeping bag, Louise Sauvage knew it would be an eye opening experience.
“This is the first time I’ve done the Sleepout, experiencing a night of sleeping rough – well it wasn’t that rough really as I had access to clean bathrooms and a hot meal” said Sauvage.
“For lots of people they really don’t know where that will come from or know that they’re safe either. So it’s quite humbling to think that some young Australians do this every night.
“I hope by doing so I’ve made a little bit of a difference and brought awareness to homelessness in our country”.
Current coach of wheelchair track & road athlete Madison De Rozario, Sauvage was joined by fellow NSWIS coach Mel Rippon, herself a dual Olympic bronze medalist water polo player, and Najat Khoury. Khoury works in the People & Culture department at the NSW Institute of Sport but also holds the record as Australia’s strongest female powerlifter.
“It was great to have two wonderful colleagues come with me. Physically I find it very difficult to get off the floor, so it was very nice to have that company.
“And to know that we were together, if we were out in the real world sleeping rough it would be safer – and warmer – together”.
You can donate or find out more at sportsstarssleepout.com