A group of more than 150 people will be taking part in the Big Sleepout event in Northampton tonight to raise money for a homeless shelter in the town.
The event, which is Northampton Hope’s Centre’s biggest fund-raiser of the year, will be attended by Councillor Mary Markham, leader of Northampton Borough Council, and Professor Nick Petford, vice-chancellor of the University of Northampton.
The sleepout will be held in the car park at Northamptonshire County Cricket Ground from 7.30pm tonight to 7.30am on Saturday morning and it is hoped more than £30,000 will be raised in sponsorship.
Sue Wright, Fundraiser for the Hope Centre said “It costs around £22,000 a month to keep the centre open, so the Sleepout is essential to help us raise our fund-raising target each year.
“The current economic climate means we are seeing a growth in the number of people accessing our services. Around 120 clients (aged 18-80) use the Hope Centre each day, many have complex needs, including being homeless or vulnerably house and often associated mental health, drug and alcohol issues. All monies raised from the Big Sleepout will be used to help them.
“As well as being our biggest fundraiser, the Big Sleepout enables us to increase awareness of the wider issues around homelessness. Homelessness is not a choice, it can happen to anyone and when it does the impact is far reaching. There are many reasons why people become homeless. Many of the people who use the centre have experienced severe disadvantage, this can stem from childhood, or be caused by an illness, family breakup or job loss that sends them into a downward spiral. Whatever the reasons behind their situation, it is clear that as a community, we can, and should try to help those in need.”
If you would like to support the work of the Hope Centre you can sponsor the sleepers by donating at www.justgiving.com/bigsleepout2016 or you can text NHCS16£’amount’ to 70070 eg NHCS16 £10.
Or to make a more regular donation go to https://www.justgiving.com/northamptonhopecentre