AN AYR community group is asking people in the town to sleep in the open air for one night this month to help tackle homelessness in the area.

The Riverside Community Trust’s sleepout will begin on Friday, September 30 at 10pm and will last until 7am on Saturday, October 1.

Set up by the outreach team at the Trust, the event will see participants sleep in the Riverside Church car park in John Street to help raise awareness for both the group and the issues homeless people face in their everyday lives.

Development worker Lizzie Adrain said: “The nature of the sleepout is to highlight the challenges people face.

“The point of it is to be a challenge and make people think of the ways some people live locally, because that’s their reality.”

The group is hoping to beat the £7,000 raised at their first sleepout, held back in 2018.

This event is just one of the ways in which the group helps those struggling with homelessness and addiction.

The outreach team also gives out packed lunches to those experiencing homelessness on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while there’s a breakfast club on Tuesday mornings and a Care and Share programme on a Wednesday, for people who need help getting access to support agencies.

Lizzie continued: “We want to respect people, be able to help them identify their options, and support them to make good choices that will help them through difficult times.

“Isolation and loneliness are a huge problem for people in this community so were just trying to make them feel less lonely.

“We’re seeing people who are newly unemployed and haven’t been in this position before.”

The group, which has been supporting the homeless community in Ayr since 2008, was started by the church’s pastor Ian Gall and a local NHS homelessness nurse.

If you’d like to take part, registration costs £5, and you can register online at out2022.

You can also donate to the event’s fundraiser page at Sleepout 2022.