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Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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Fundraising for a safe night’s sleep

In a bid to improve access to crisis accommodation services for homeless women, the National Council of Women ACT Inc (NCWACT) is fundraising to establish a Sleepbus in Canberra.

A relatively new concept, Sleepbus provides safe, temporary overnight accommodation and is expected to operate 365 days a year.

NCWACT president Juanita Flett said they were interested in looking to establish a ‘Safe Shelter’ for women and “we came across Sleepbus and thought it ticked the box because it can accept children and companion animals”.

The buses can be customised, however, can provide up to 20 beds, each with their own television, USB charging points, radio and access to toilet.

Ms Flett said the bus would initially park in church car parks that have agreed to participate in a Safe Shelter type of arrangement.

“We have a couple of churches on board including the Uniting Church in Tuggeranong, and a couple of other churches interested in participating,” she said.

It is anticipated that the churches would have doors open from about 7-10pm with the intention to supply a provision of tea, coffee, toilet facilities and an opportunity to socialise before people load into the bus to sleep. The Sleepbus organisation takes responsibility to run the Sleepbus service.

“We are fundraising to bring the service here and because we are looking at doing this with the churches, our intention is to stay in touch,” Ms Flett said.

“We want to have it here by 26 April (2020) to align with the existing Safe Shelter men’s opening.”

Ms Flett said they are also hoping to “come in under their (Safe Shelter’s) wing” to utilise their volunteers for the 7-10pm timeframe in the churches prior to people boarding the Sleepbus.

She said they are aiming to raise $100,000 to fund the upfront costs associated with bringing the Sleepbus to Canberra, however “if we reach over our target, the funds will still go towards Sleepbus and its running in the ACT”.

Donations to NCWACT’s Sleepbus campaign can be made via GoFundMe or contacting NCWACT.

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