Leyland charity SLEAP celebrates 25 years of helping homeless young people

Leyland charity SLEAP celebrates 25 years of helping homeless young people

Leyland-based homelessness charity, SLEAP, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The charity helps young people out of homelessness by pairing them up with a host family who take them in and give them the support they need to find a job, learn essential life skills and domestic skills and get access to other vital services such as healthcare, career advice, debt management and much more (see: https://www.sleap.co.uk/en/).

Since it started in 1995, SLEAP has helped more than 1,000 young people. Stela Stansfield, SLEAP Manager, said: “As we celebrate our 25th anniversary as a charity, we are grateful to everyone that has been involved through the years. 158 local people have welcomed homeless youngsters into their homes as host families for SLEAP. This really is the community at work!

“SLEAP began as a Christian response to youth homelessness; we had a small group of people from local churches who wanted to do something to help young people in need.

“Now, 25 years on, as well as supported lodgings, we are working hard to help prevent homelessness and all the problems it causes. At SLEAP, we love it when we hear back from young people who have moved on and are now thriving in life.”

The Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Jane Bell, said: “Speaking as a founding member of SLEAP myself, I take enormous pride in what we have managed to achieve over the last 25 years. Having been part of a host family in years gone by, I know first-hand the commitments and sacrifices these host families make – but also the immensely rewarding feeling you get from helping a young person in their hour of need.

“The fact that we’ve helped more than 1,000 young people into accommodation – and helped them to overcome homelessness, find a loving home, and get a proper chance at life – just fills me with great joy

“I want to thank all of the generous host families who have opened their hearts and their homes to young people who needed a place to stay at a vulnerable time in their lives.

“I am delighted to be supporting SLEAP in my new capacity as Mayor of South Ribble and I will be fundraising hard between now and May 2022 to ensure the charity receives the vital funds it needs.

“I can’t believe how fast these 25 years have gone. Everyone at SLEAP should be so proud of what they are delivering, day in, day out, for young people who need help. Here’s to the next 25 years and thousands more youngsters who we will be delighted to support.

“If you would like to donate to SLEAP, then you can do so online here:

The Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, Paul Foster, said: “I would like to congratulate SLEAP on 25 amazing years. The work they have done to help young people in Leyland,

South Ribble, Chorley and Preston is just incredible. We owe them a massive debt of gratitude as they have done so much work to tackle homelessness.

“I want to pay tribute to all the kind, selfless individuals who have welcomed young people into their homes to ensure they have a place to live. You are the real stars here and from the bottom of our hearts, we say a massive thank you.”

Unfortunately, many of the activities that were planned to mark the charity’s 25 th anniversary have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, one thing which could go ahead was a massive art project to resemble the 1000 people that SLEAP have helped so far.

A huge paper bunting trail – featuring 1,000 paper cut-outs of little people which measures more than 100 metres long – was created and local schools have been helping to colour them in.

The schools involved are:

  • Leyland St Andrew’s Church of England Infants School
  • Burscough Bridge Methodist Primary School
  • Trinity & St Michael’s CE/Methodist Primary School
  • Bretherton Endowed CofE Voluntary Aided Primary School
  • Volunteers and children within the community have also chipped in.

It is important to raise awareness of the work that charity is doing and to hopefully recruit more host families.

You can find out more about hosting here: https://www.sleap.co.uk/en/get-involved/hosting and if you are interested, please contact SLEAP directly by emailing admin@sleap.co.uk.

Submitted jointly by SLEAP and South Ribble Borough Council