'Rough sleepers' hunker down at chilly train station to raise money for Blackpool soup kitchen

Dozens of people - and a dog or two - huddled under blankets, hats and scarves on the freezing floor of Blackpool North station to get just a brief glimpse into the everyday struggles of those sleeping rough in the cold winter months.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 5:00 pm
The United Blackpool sleep-out at Blackpool North station. Picture by Bpl Bible

United Blackpool founder Chris Conway and his team of kind-hearted volunteers, who spend one night a week handing out hot food and sandwiches to the town’s homeless population, hunkered down at the station on Thursday night.

Chris, 26, (inset) said: “It was difficult; I woke up very cold, tired and sore, but I can’t exactly feel sorry for myself when I’m coing back to a nice warm house.

“The official temperature was seven degrees, but it was a cold air trap. It felt colder inside than outside, and we were on a hard marble floor. There was a train that left at 3am that woke us all up, and with staff coming and going I think we got about an hour and a half’s sleep between us.”

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The United Blackpool sleep-out at Blackpool North station. Picture by Bpl Bible

Together, the rough sleepers raised £3,500 for the Amazing Graze soup kitchen on Bolton Street - and money is still rolling in.

Chris said: “With us being a little charity, any amount of money is always much appreciated. We want to start a fund to buy the building that we operate out of - that’s £180,000 - and then of course there’s the running costs of the soup kitchen year-round.

“It was a fantastic experience. We had a couple of people playing guitars, singing songs, there were board games and packs of cards flying about. We’re all fortunate enough to finish at 6am and come home. I can’t imagine not being able to do that. It’s been a real eye-opener.”

United Blackpool's Chris Conway. Picture by Bpl Bible