Big Sleep Out for Wellingborough charity tonight

Staff, volunteers and supporters of the Daylight Centre in Wellingborough are taking part in the Big Sleep Out
Staff, volunteers and supporters of the Daylight Centre in Wellingborough are taking part in the Big Sleep Out

Nearly 100 people will be braving the cold as they spend a night under the stars to raise funds and awareness of homelessness in the county.

The crowd of rough sleepers will come together at Christ Church in Northampton tonigth (Friday) as part of The Big Sleep Out, a national initiative to raise awareness of homelessness.

They are also looking to raise £5,000 for the Daylight Centre Fellowship in Wellingborough and £25,000 for the Hope Centre in Northampton, two charities which provide support services for those sleeping rough in their community.

A team of seven colleagues from affordable housing provider Wellingborough Homes will be joining the Northants night owls, including Supported Living Officer Karen Low, who said: “The Hope Centre and Daylight Centre do an amazing job giving hope to local people who have fallen on hard times and need support to rebuild their lives.

“I have referred residents to the foodbank run by the Daylight Centre and I’m aware of the fantastic work they do with people with mental health problems and problems of alcohol and drug addiction.

“I’ve never done a sleep out before and I’m really looking forward to it although I’m worried about the cold because I do like being warm and comfortable.

“We’re only doing it for one night, though, whereas for some it’s a way of life.”

Lou Whitehead, Apprentice Customer Service Officer at Wellingborough Homes, said she has never done anything like the sleep-out before and added: “We refer a lot of individuals to the Daylight Centre for help with food parcels, hot meals, shelter and support.

“The centre is heavily reliant on charitable donations and deserves our support so this is one night out of my life where I can give something to raise funds and awareness of a really good cause.”

Sarah Lee, who works at the Daylight Centre and will be looking after the rough sleepers, has been sharing night survival tips passed on by some of her homeless clients and has been getting in supplies of plastic sheeting and cardboard boxes, as well as advising on clothing, sleeping bags and wearing shoes big enough to take extra pairs of socks.

She said: “I’m nervous about the cold, but excited about preparing to cope and getting something of an insight into what it must be like for rough sleepers.”