This December students from the Isle of Wight are sleeping rough on the streets of Newport- in an effort to “end the stigma” around homelessness.

Jade Light, 29, from Cowes and Debbie Oakes, 30, from Newport commute to the mainland every day to study Social Work at Southampton University.

The pair became “shocked” by the amount of vulnerable rough sleepers they came across – in need of shelter, food and water. Initially, they provided them with clothing and hand warmers- but now want to do more.

Since visiting Newport’s shelter at the Barton Primary Site–  the students have decided to sleep rough on the streets of Newport on Wednesday (4) from 10pm-6am.

Debbie Oakes said,

“On out on our travels we pass so many homeless people, of all ages and genders. It is heart-wrenching

“We have recently had some really cold morning frosts and for the guys that have been out all night -they are frozen.”

As previously reported by Isle of Wight Radio, the Salvation Army’s Newport shelter is seeking volunteers this Christmas- find out more here.


Debbie added,

“After meeting some of the team and the guys using the shelter (In Newport) we were taken aback, we wanted to help and do something to raise money for this great cause. This fundraiser will not qualify for our voluntary work, this is completely off our own backs and in our own time, we will volunteer at the shelter aside from this.”

Follow Debbie and Jade’s sleep out via Facebook here or donate to their cause here.