Rough sleepers’ cash bid

Streetlife Sleepout
Streetlife Sleepout
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A bold group of fund-raisers braved the biting cold as they spent a night on Blackpool’s streets.

Blackpool charity group Streetlife organised the Big Sleep Out event to raise money and show their support for the resort’s homeless young people and rough-sleepers.

More than 50 volunteers donned woolly hats and sleeping bags in an attempt to fend off the cold outside St John’s Church in Cedar Square.

Penny Hamer, event organiser and fundraising manager at Streetlife, said: “We wanted to do the Big Sleep Out because the charity needed to raise money.

“We had funding cuts of £150,000 last year and this was an event for people to have an experience of being homeless for one night in a safe and supported environment.

“We are a homeless charity and it just seemed like a fitting event to do. Lots of charities do things like runs and walks which is great, but this is a little but different and you don’t need to be physically fit to be able to do it.

“Everybody arrived at around 7.30pm, picked their spots and hunkered down for the night.

“We had some entertaining nightlife from people who had been out on the town and have come over to ask what we were doing, and it got people quite engaged. A lot of the people we spoke to gave money in the buckets.”

The group stayed out until 8am on Sunday, raising a total of £7,500.

Miss Hamer said: “It was tough but sleeping on the street for just eight hours isn’t a big thing.

“We’ll go home at the end and spend the day recuperating in bed which is something homeless people don’t get to do. The money will help Streetlife to keep our doors open.”

Camilla Ball, young carer’s champion for Carer’s Trust Fylde Coast, took part in the sleep out.

She said: “I have to say sleeping rough on the streets really was not easy at all, it was extremely cold and uncomfortable.

“It really put things into perspective for me to realise exactly how difficult, unnerving, unsafe and uncomfortable it is to have to sleep on the streets.

“I would like to thank all the people who have opened up and shared their experiences of sleeping rough to me. I am truly inspired.

“The worst thing is that I could go to bed at 8am yet the homeless young people don’t have that opportunity; they’ll be worrying where they will be sleeping the next night. It has truly been an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget.”