A KIND-HEARTED council worker slept rough for four nights in aid of a local charity - and then ran the Hastings Half Marathon.
Dave Hinton, 27, wanted to do something to raise funds for and awareness about The Seaview Project, based in St Leonards, which helps Hastings’s homeless population alongside other vulnerable sections of the community.
Mr Hinton, who works as the future jobs coordinator for Hastings Borough Council, decided the best thing he could do was go out and experience what it is like to sleep rough in this town, so on four consecutive nights last week he bedded down in the graveyard of All Saints Church in the Old Town, the fishing boat which sits outside Hastings train station, the beach next to the Banksy graffiti, and finally in Alexandra Park near Upper Park Road.
He told the Observer: “I had been thinking of fundraising ideas for a while and this seemed perfect because it is exactly what The Seaview Project is all about.
“I like camping and thought it wouldn’t be too bad even without a tent. But the first night was absolutely freezing and I was really cold. The worst thing was the constant worry of people being around - you do not appreciate how vulnerable you are until you are in that situation. On the boat I only got three hours sleep because of the noise.”
And after his gruelling week, Mr Hinton then took on the 13.1 mile Hastings Half Marathon, which he ran in his sleeping bag. He has already raised more than £1,100 and said: “I was not in good shape but I had lots of support on the day which made a difference and people have been very generous.
“But the awareness of The Seaview Project is more important than the funds because funds come and go but that awareness is vital.
“There is nowhere else for some people to turn and they might not make it through some nights without the project’s support. It is not just a sticking plaster solution - it gets people in and offers them ongoing support which is vital.”
At any one time it is estimated about eight or nine people a day sleep rough in Hastings and St Leonards, and Mike Cornish, service manager for The Seaview Project, said: “Dave is a very brave person - it is not an easy thing to do to be out on the streets at night. It is so important for people to realise there are still people sleeping rough in this town.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/hastingsroughsleeper to sponsor Mr Hinton.