Get Involved To Support Youth At Risk

Sleep Under the Stars is an annual, experiential event renowned for its community spirit and impact in addressing youth homelessness. On Friday 1st November at Hickson Reserve beneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, the event brings people of all ages together to participate in teams; corporates, families and young people experience building cardboard shelters in which to bunker for the night, and hear firsthand from some of the inspirational people for whom homelessness was once, a reality. A reality shared by 1 in 200 Australians (ABS, 2018) like our Event Ambassador Kyle Sandilands.

The reward is more than helping to provide shelter, care and support for kids who need it most. Participants also wake up to a beautiful sunrise overlooking Sydney Harbour, a complimentary hot breakfast and new friendships.

We welcome all members of the public – as long as you are willing to get involved, raise funds, and join the conversation to end youth homelessness!


Who can participate in Sleep Under the Stars?

Anyone and everyone!
We welcome business groups, community groups, groups of friends, groups of competitors.
Families and young people are more than welcome. People under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian over 18 years old.

Why should I get involved? Why is this event so important?

Youth homelessness, in a country such as Australia, is unacceptably prevalent. The overall homeless population is estimated at 116,000 and a whopping 38% of this figure is aged under 25.
At Stepping Stone House, we believe that everybody deserves to be given the greatest chance of building their own life in a safe and secure environment. For 30 years, Stepping Stone House has helped over 450 young people to become self-sufficient and educated young adults. Through educational development, adventure programs, community volunteering, mentoring and counselling, we equip young people with the self-care and life skills they need to become independent and the very best they can be.

How can I confirm my attendance?

Every participant must be registered online prior to arrival. Unfortunately we cannot accept ‘walk ins’ so please tell your friends and colleagues to register prior to the event.

Remember; the earlier you register, the more time you have to fundraise and recruit friends to join you!

What if I can’t make it on Friday 1st November?

This year we offer a Remote Participation option for those unable to attend the Sydney event. We invite you to register, start fundraising, and select any night during October/November 2019 to sleep out in your backyard or somewhere equally safe and secure. You can still gather family and friends to join you, and we encourage you to join the wider Sleep Under the Stars community on social media and by sharing photos and videos of your experience. There really is no excuse not to get involved!

Why is there a registration fee?

For the first time in 2019, Sleep Under the Stars has introduced a modest registration fee of $50 per adult, free for children under 18 years. As a charity, we rely solely on the goodwill and generosity of donors. This registration fee covers some, but not all of the cost in hosting Sleep Under the Stars at such an iconic location.
Don’t forget – if you raise just $500 or more – you have the choice for this registration fee to be refunded, or alternatively to be donated back to Stepping Stone House.

Do I need to fundraise?

Yes, there is an expectation that you will fundraise to help Stepping Stone House continue to provide assistance to vulnerable young people. You set the bar as high as you like!
Fundraising is a great excuse to reach out to family and friends to let them know you are participating in Sleep Under the Stars. Your fundraising efforts also help us to spread the word on the issue of youth homelessness. By fundraising, you are joining an important movement. You are saying publicly and proudly that you believe access to safe and stable housing is a fundamental right of kids across the country.
Don’t worry – we’ll give you plenty of tips and advice on fundraising along the way.

What is the fundraising target for the 2019 event?

Our goal is to raise over $800,000 to accommodate and support 21 at-risk youth for an entire year – and we need your help!
That support includes:
• Courses to develop self-belief and confidence to achieve their dreams
• Adventure education to develop resilience
• A personal mentor
• Employability skills and career counselling
• Life skills development
• Case worker support
• Free driving lessons
• Volunteering opportunities
• Therapeutic care

Please continue to visit our homepage for updates on how we are tracking against this target.

How do I get there?

The event is held at Hickson Reserve, The Rocks.
You can arrive by public transport, with the closest train station being Circular Quay.
Overnight cheap meter parking is available on the adjoining Lower Fort Street, The Rocks, NSW, 2000.

The nearest train station is Circular Quay. Walk along George St, then walk along Hickson Road to reach the registration desk at the top of the park under the bridge

No. 311, 431 & 433 stop close to Hickson Road on the Pier One side of the park

Taxi & Drop Off
The best GPS address for registration drop off is 3 Lower Fort Street Dawes Point, top of the park under the bridge

There are limited overnight parking spots off Hickson road & Lower Fort Street

Please check parking signs carefully.

What time do I need to arrive?

Check in is from 5pm to 9pm on Friday 1st November 2019.
We advise arriving as close to the beginning as possible so you don’t miss out on a good spot to sleep, and so you can share in the community spirit and hear from our powerful speakers and entertainers.

How long does the event go for?

The event runs all night and most people head home around 7am the following morning after breakfast.

What should I bring?

Essential items include ID, a sleeping bag, pillow, ear plugs and the clothes on your back.

Please bring minimal valuables to keep the experience authentic, and because we cannot be liable for loss or damage. If you decide to bring your smartphone or tablet, these can be a great way of recording your experience and sharing on social media to help spread the word.
Please refrain from bringing mattresses and bed rolls (unless your health is at stake!).

You may bring your own food if you have special dietary requirements. There will be delicious hot food, tea and coffee available for purchase onsite. You will be treated to a complimentary breakfast the following morning.

You may bring a small 2 or 3 person tent for use in the event of torrential rain. Only tents less than 1meter 20cms tall will be allowed.

This is a dry event. Strictly no alcohol is permitted.

What will be expected of me on the night?

Once you arrive and register, we’ll send you off to your allocated sleeping spot and you can start building your shelter. We encourage you to get to know your neighbours, familiarise yourself with the facilities, and pay special attention to all of our presentations on the night. And may you sleep well!

It’s up to you as to how involved in the Sleep Under the Stars community you become.

And of course send a pic of yourself in your shelter to all your friends and family to lift your fundraising total.

Will there be entertainment?

There will be formalities on the night where you will hear inspirational stories and insights about youth homelessness. Event Ambassador Kyle Sandilands joins us to share his own perspectives on experience.

We’ll be joined by talented musicians throughout the evening and there will be free time to enjoy toasted marshmallows around open fires, dinner from the food truck and a shared community spirit.

Where will I sleep?

Kennards Self Storage and Kennards Hire will provide each participant with 6 cardboard boxes and 2 large tarps to build a watertight shelter as an individual or with your team.

A panel of judges will determine the best cardboard shelter/fort based on the following criteria:

  • Sturdiness of the construction
  • Design Ingenuity
  • The Kennards Self Storage logo visible and upright
  • Decoration/aesthetics (check out our Facebook page for ideas)
  • Team enthusiasm

A VIP Area will be set aside with the best view of the Opera House for the top fundraising teams. Will you be a lucky participant who wakes up to a million dollar view?!

Everyone else will set up in our multiple other areas further up the hill on a first come first served basis. the good news is you’ll all enjoy views of the harbour.

What other prizes are there?

Prizes will be awarded for the highest fundraisers, best shelters and most engaging social media post.

Are there toilet and shower facilities?

Yes, there are toilets on site, but no shower facilities.

Can I bring alcohol?

Sorry, no alcohol allowed, as this is a family-friendly event.

Will there be security?

There will be a security fence around the entire event area and security guards will be patrolling throughout the night.