Fundraising successes for SleepBus Coffs Harbour

The Mother’s Day Silent Auction attendees hear what raising money for SleepBus means for Coffs Harbour.

THE Mother’s Day Silent Auction Luncheon on Saturday 13 May 2023 at Coffs Harbour Surf Club fundraising for a SleepBus for the community raised more than $1,500 through final bids and the raffle, plus a generous anonymous donation of $20,000.

“Around 30 people attended who were all very interested in SleepBus and the housing crisis in general,” organiser Doris Cowan (Rake) told News Of The Area.

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In a nutshell, SleepBus is a mobile motel providing a safe night’s sleep for up to 20 homeless people a night.

“I was able to chat individually to the attendees and answer their any questions as well as share stories of people they have encountered doing it tough.

“At the conclusion of the event a lovely couple invested time in questioning the fundraising that is a collaboration between me and our local LifeHouse Care to reach the required $100,000 for a SleepBus in Coffs Harbour.

“Rightly so, as sometimes when donating to charities we cannot be sure where our money is going.

“However, all money donated and raised by my individual efforts goes directly to SleepBus, via CEO Simon Rowe, for the build and fit-out of a SleepBus for Coffs Harbour,” she said.

Funds raised so far are the $20,000 donation, $1,500 raised at the Mother’s Day Silent Auction, and the recent $7,000 cheque from the CWA Sawtell.

“I also have a gofundme page that is slowly growing and my personal donation of $1,000, which is two-thirds of my prize money from winning IWD Woman of the Year (the rest to soup kitchen), went to SleepBus.”

Bolstered by the community’s commitment to donating to set up SleepBus, Doris and LifeHouse have now set their goal on having SleepBus Coffs Harbour being built and up-and-running by Christmas 2023.

“CEO of SleepBus, Simon Rowe, has told us that there are only enough resources to complete two more bus builds for 2023.

“We want Coffs Harbour’s SleepBus to be one of them, so please jump on board and donate what you can afford or register for LifeHouse’s LifeWalk to be held on Saturday 3 June.”

The Coffs Harbour couple who donated $20,000 to Doris’ SleepBus silent auction fundraiser told News Of The Area, “We first heard about SleepBus when Doris Cowan appeared on the TV News promoting the fund raising for the Coffs Harbour SleepBus.

“It is incredible to learn that in this day and age that so many people are falling through the Government’s safety net and are doing it tough, finding themselves homeless and sleeping on the street.

“We see the SleepBus concept as a practical way to help and give people, who find themselves in difficulty, somewhere safe and comfortable to sleep for the night.

“It will also provide a place where they can be directed to other assistance that might be available to help them to find food, other accommodation and community support.

“By contributing to the Coffs Harbour SleepBus we can see that the funds are going to be applied locally in a tangible and practical way and it will provide a much-needed community service that is unavailable at present.

“We would like to thank those people who have had the foresight to initiate this concept and to encourage others to get involved and help out to whatever extent they can,” they said.

Local NBN journalist Alison Paul has hopped on board to support Doris, making an appearance at the Mother’s Day Silent Auction as the MC for the event.

“I was honoured to be asked to MC the fundraising event for SleepBus,” Alison told NOTA.

“It is such an amazing initiative and so desperately needed in Coffs Harbour, so I jumped onboard to help support the Mother’s Day luncheon fundraiser.

“The audience was so generous in bidding on the various items with some fun competition going on.

“Doris is well on the way to raising $100,000 for a SleepBus for Coffs Harbour, and I encourage the community to keep an eye out on future fundraisers.

“I’ve helped Doris set up a Facebook page, called SleepBus for Coffs Harbour, so follow this page to keep up to date on the progress.

For more details of how to get involved or to donate please email Doris at

For more information about SleepBus visit


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