DO you have what it takes to spend a night on the streets?
Can you stand up to the cold of winter and bed down on the pavement to help raise money for people in need?
Are you up for one of Wigan Borough’s biggest charity challenges?
If the answer to all the above is ‘yes’, then you are ready for Street Sleep 2016.
On Friday, 11 March, volunteers from all over Wigan Borough and beyond will take over Market Place in the town centre for the annual night of fundraising and fun that is known as Street Sleep.
The annual event is the brainchild of Wigan-based crisis charity The Brick. Not only does it help people in need, it raises awareness about the hardships faced by homeless people and those struggling with financial and other difficulties.
Last year more than 70 people swapped their home comforts for the cold concrete by taking part in the challenge. Each volunteer agreed to collect money through sponsorships. The total amount raised for The Brick last year was more than £10,000.
Street Sleep is now in its fourth year and organiser are hoping this is going to be the biggest year yet.
The Brick’s Support Services Manager, Louise Green, said: “We ask people to put themselves in the place of a homeless person and experience what it is really like to spend a night in the cold. Each year we have been amazed at the response we have had from people in our borough.
“We have lots of different people taking part and these include groups from local businesses who support our work, organisations such as the council and individuals who simply believe in what we are doing.”
“There is a great communal spirt to the event and it really shows that people in our borough care for those who are less fortunate than themselves.”
"Street Sleep does a great job of raising awareness of the terrible realities faced by people who find themselves on the streets and also raises lots of money for The Brick."
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy
In a typical week, workers at The Brick see nearly 200 people who need help with issues such as financial hardship, fuel poverty, homelessness and domestic violence.
The Brick delivers 150 food parcels, serves 50 hot lunches and provides training opportunities for more than 30 people.
As well as helping those who have nowhere to live, The Brick also supports the borough’s many hidden homeless people. These are people who may not sleep rough, but spend their nights in an ever uncertain world of ‘sofa surfing’ at friends’ houses.
This year anyone raising more than £100 through sponsorship will receive a special ‘goody bag’. All the money raised through Street Sleep will go directly to support the work of The Brick and help to keep its food bank well-stocked.
Louse Green added: “It is difficult to believe that children and families in Wigan go hungry but the truth is that some people simply don’t have the means to feed themselves and their children. We are committed to ending the cycle of poverty and ensuring no child in our borough goes hungry.”
Wigan’s MP Lisa Nandy, who worked for young people’s homelessness charity Centrepoint, is a big supporter of Street Sleep.
Lisa said: “Street Sleep does a great job of raising awareness of the terrible realities faced by people who find themselves on the streets and also raises lots of money for The Brick. I am hoping this year will be even bigger than last year’s event and people will continue to support this fantastic cause.”
Street Sleep 2016 will take place on Friday, 11 March at The Marble, Market Place, Wigan. Registration takes place at 9.30pm and the event runs from 10pm until 5am the following morning.
You have to be over 16 to take part and under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. You have to register in advance to take part and you can request a registration pack by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01942 236953.
- For more information about the work of The Brick go to: www.thebrick.org.uk
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