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Charity

Join The Big Sleep 2020 to help Leicester’s homeless

University students, staff, and local businesses are being challenged to spend a night under the stars in aid of The Bridge Homelessness to Hope charity

A Leicester-based homeless charity is looking for volunteers to wrap up warm and brace themselves for a night out in the elements to raise awareness of homelessness and the reality of ‘sleeping rough’.

Volunteers will spend the night under the stars for a taste of what street homelessness might be like – with only cardboard, a sleeping bag, flasks and the clothes on their back for warmth.

‘The Big Sleep’ will take place on Thursday 26 March 2020 at the University of Leicester and De Montfort University campuses in Leicester, and participants will be joined by the Bishop of Loughborough, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani. The Bridge Homelessness to Hope is asking local businesses and their staff to sign up, take part in the challenge and raise much-needed funds through sponsorship. Breakfasts will be generously provided to participants.

All funds raised through the sponsorship for the event will be donated to The Bridge Homelessness to Hope to help the city’s homeless community. People can sponsor those taking part by donating online at: www.justgiving.com/campaign/bigsleepout2020.

Local businesses willing to join The Big Sleep should contact David Fawcett at The Bridge Homelessness to Hope on 07534 059658 or email: david@bridgeleicester.org.

The Bishop of Loughborough, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani, said: “I am glad to support The Big Sleep, which has raised so much awareness about homelessness as well as raising money for The Bridge Homelessness to Hope, which the Church of England in Leicestershire has long supported. It will be just one of the social action projects I’ll be getting involved with across the county during a ‘Lent Pilgrimage’ I am making in the run up to Easter, which I’ve called ‘Salt of the Earth’. It will be a personal spiritual journey for me but I also expect to learn a lot as I join in activities like this which make a difference in people’s lives. I will be praying both for those who are homeless and those who seek to help them.”

David Fawcett, Executive Operations Manager at The Bridge Homelessness to Hope commented: “This annual event not only raises much-needed funds to help with bedding, clothes, food and other support services for the city’s homeless community, but also provides a temporary window on the conditions experienced by rough sleepers on a nightly basis. We encourage people to sign up, challenge themselves and learn more.”

Public Engagement Manager, Jess Bogic, who is leading the project for De Montfort University, said: “The issue of homelessness continually comes out among our students and staff as one of their top priorities and something they want to do something about. That is why we are delighted to get involved to help raise money and highlight an issue that is so important in Leicester.”

Professor Graham Wynn, Pro Vice Chancellor (Education), University of Leicester, added: “The University of Leicester is proud to support this important event, where our students and staff help highlight the issues and challenges faced by rough sleepers every night. The funds raised will help provide practical services and support for the homeless community in the city and we would like to encourage our students and staff to join in this year’s event.”