Coronation Street star Nicola Thorp is preparing to sleep out on the streets of Blackpool tonight after becoming an ambassador for charity Streetlife.
The actress, who plays character Nicola Rubenstein – bad guy Pat Phelan’s daughter – in the ITV soap, is taking part in tonight’s Big Sleepout in aid of Blackpool’s youth homelessness charity.
And she’ll be heading back to the town where she grew up straight from appearing on the live broadcast of BBC’s Sport Relief, where she’s taken part in a challenge pitting BBC and ITV stars against each other for a rowing race.
Sport Relief, which coincidentally provides support for Streetlife, this year is heavily focusing on the issue of mental health, and Nicola has spoken of her own past issues and how they’ve inspired her charity support.
“This is my first job as an ambassador for Streetlife,” she said. “I’m really excited to be doing it and looking forward to meeting other Streetlife supporters and putting the focus on Blackpool as a seaside town where homelessness is hitting particularly hard.”
Nicola, 29, praised Streetlife’s work in not only giving young people a place to stay, but also working with them through whatever issues they have and guiding them back into society.
“I’m a huge advocate of Blackpool and proud to come from the town,” the former Arnold School pupil, who grew up in North Shore, said.
“But at the end of the day, there’s nothing different between myself and somebody who is using the services of Streetlife – it could so easily be the other way round.
“It’s easy to say that being homeless is because of someone’s life choices, but no-one really chooses that – they choose it because the other options are even worse.”
Close to home
“I was very ill in 2012,” Nicola said of her own mental health battles. “But what delayed my recovery was not talking about it.
“At some point, somebody in every family or group of friends will have a bad patch, everyone’s susceptible to it.
“I feel so proud that now people are sharing their stories in support of others.”