Last Friday night saw over 80 supporters travel down to St John’s Church in Waterloo, London, from all over the UK and beyond to take part in our fifth annual Big London Sleep Out. You can see pictures of the night in our photo gallery. The supporters spent their night on the cold floor of St John’s Church in order to complete their fundraising challenge.
The night saw participants welcomed with a live show from Citi Choir, who set the mood for the night ahead with their fantastic performance, followed by a welcome speech from Stephen Robertson, CEO of The Big Issue Foundation. Participants were then joined by Amelia from Big Issue Invest, who explained the work of Big Issue Invest and introduced the documentary surrounding the theme of ‘Home’, created by Chocolate Films. The group then came together for the highlight of the event – the insightful and interesting panel discussion. The panel discussion this year featured Stephen Robertson, CEO of TBIF, alongside George and Paul, who are current Big Issue vendors, and Joel and Viv who are former vendors. This selection of speakers made for a truly insightful and captivating discussion which showed many a new insight into the work that The Big Issue Foundation does. Participants heard more about the corporate placements which the charity arrange for Big Issue vendors, and how these placements have changed the lives of those on the panel.
After the panel discussion, our participants grabbed their final warm drinks and snacks before setting out their sleeping bags for the cold night ahead on the church floor. Participants included Chief Executive of The Big Issue Foundation, Stephen Robertson, who was himself a sponsored participant, raising over £1,000 so far! He said
“Homelessness is on the increase and we are seeing more people who are sleeping on the streets, in cars and in tents in parks; finding a safe haven for a night's sleep is not easy. Our service team establish routes away from rough sleeping as one of our very first priorities. I took part in this event to raise awareness of the work that we do, and the stories of the people that we support. Everyone who is homeless is a person first and foremost. I’m delighted that this event will raise over £23,000 so we can help more people who are rebuilding their lives, and that their stories have inspired others to do what they can.”
Soon the morning came round, and our tired sleepers slowly packed up their sleeping bags, grabbed a light breakfast and headed onwards. They may have been heading back to their homes, but they left with a deeper insight into the challenges faced by Big Issue vendors, and the support, guidance and opportunities provided by The Big Issue Foundation.
A special thanks to the wonderful participants, supporting companies and volunteers who helped make the event such a success.
“I learned so much about The Big Issue in its various guises, some of which came as a real surprise and the evening was so interesting and entertaining”. Karl, volunteer