On Friday 17th November, Big Issue Foundation supporters braved plummeting temperatures as they slept out in the stands of Oval Cricket ground – all to raise vital funds for our work with Big Issue vendors. The Big Sleep Out 2017 has already raised over £35,000 and was supported by Rant and Rave who also had a team sleeping out on the night.
Each chilly fundraiser who slept under the stars had a target of £350 to raise, and many are smashing their targets! Top individual fundraisers Rosie Carnall and James Hamilton are each soaring over £1,000 in sponsorship and the donations are still coming in.
Stephen Robertson, CEO of The Big Issue Foundation, took part in the challenge and said:
“Whilst sleeping out for the participants is hopefully just once this year, on average over 4100 people slept outside on any one night in the UK last year. This event would not have been possible without the terrific support of our participants, volunteers and sponsoring team from Rant & Rave. Events like this enable us to ensure that our services team can tackle the complexities of rough sleeping, exclusion and the many other complex issues that challenge Big Issue vendors on a daily basis. My thanks to everyone for helping us changing lives for good and making the night a huge success.”
For everyone involved, the Big Sleep Out 2017 was an inspirational event and a challenge like no other year. Before bedding down for the night, sleepers heard from current Big Issue vendors Bill, Tony and Sean about life as a vendor, as well as hearing from Joel, who was a previous vendor, on how his corporate placement at Freshfields law film helped him move his life forward. After fuelling up with soup, participants watched an exclusive clip from Pastles Productions’ latest docu-drama Sleeping Rough alongside an introduction and Q&A from Director/Producer Owain Astles. Finally, before heading out for 6 hours in the cold, participants were treated to a singalong from the Adam Street Singers to warm them up for the challenge ahead!
Balloons and banners adorning the cold concrete stands marked the birthday of Alliance Bernstein team member Mark, a team who’ve collectively raised £6,000 for the Big Issue Foundation so far- we hope Mark enjoyed his unique birthday party!
Whilst sleeping out in the stands of London’s historic Oval Cricket grounds isn’t reflective of the experience faced by an increasing number of rough sleepers, this year’s Sleep Out has been our toughest yet.
You can register your interest for next year here to be the first to find out details of next year’s event!