Big Sleep Out event likely to raise £70,000 for the homeless community, Hope Centre says

Pictures taken on Friday night by Kirsty Edmonds.
Pictures taken on Friday night by Kirsty Edmonds.

Organisers of the Big Sleep Out in Abington Park have thanked nearly 250 hardy participants for taking part.

The Northampton Hope Centre's Big Sleep Out aims to help residents understand the realities of living on the streets as well as to raise thousands of pounds for the charity.

Pictures taken on Friday night by Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures taken on Friday night by Kirsty Edmonds.

This year the annual fundraiser saw more than double the number of people take part compared with last year. Fundraisers slept in cardboard boxes - instead of tents - in below-freezing temperatures and used only plastic sheeting, blankets and layers to stay warm, as many street homeless people do.

GALLERY: Hundreds brave sub-zero conditions for Northampton's annual Big Sleep Out

Fundraising manager at Northampton Hope Centre Louise Danielczuk said: It was an incredible event to see over 240 people join together to raise vital funds for the Hope Centre and to experience, in a small part, what it is like to be homeless.

"The support for the charity and for the homeless community in general was incredible over the weekend and is testament to how much the Northampton community care.

"I think everyone there, at some point stopped and thought: 'this is a reality for so many people'. I think the thought provoking part was when we all left to go home and realised that for us, there was a warm bed, fresh clothing, a shower and a family to welcome us home. For those who are living on the streets there is none of that."

Everyone who took part was asked to raise £350, which pays for approximately an hour of support and care at the Hope Centre, and if everyone who took part achieved that figure then it's likely £70,000 will be raised in total.

Louise added: "We were monitoring the weather conditions closely and as the temperatures dropped and the snow began to fall in the early hours, we ensured that those taking part were safe and warm.

"We are under no illusion that not everyone rough sleeping would have someone to watch out for them like that but maybe we could all, in future, show a little more compassion to those sleeping rough.

"The numbers who had signed up were higher than those who turned up and the extreme cold must have had an impact on the numbers who dropped out which in turn will have an impact on the money raised to help the homeless of Northampton however, we are asking those who could not take part to look at alternative ways of taking part."