On Friday night, dedicated fundraisers donned their sleeping bags and woolly hats and took to the stands of the Kia Oval for a night out in the cold. This year’s Big Sleep Out saw participants tucked up under misty skies on a chilly night fundraising to support Big Issue vendors.
Participants heard from Big Issue vendors George and Andre in a powerful panel discussion chaired by Rhia Docherty, joined also by former vendor Viv and Big Issue Foundation CEO Stephen Robertson. George, Andre and Viv’s first-hand experience of sleeping rough created a power introduction to our supporters facing a night out in the cold, enabling them to learn what rough sleeping on daily basis is really like.
So far, an incredible £26,000 has been raised to support our services and our fundraisers are still going! The money raised will enable our team of Service Brokers to continue their work with Big Issue vendors to identify the health, housing, employment and other support they may have, while providing expert information, advice and guidance best able to address these needs. With this support, Big Issue vendors can take the positive steps forward that they need to achieve their personal goals, and this could not happen without our dedicated fundraisers.
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 4700 people slept outside on any one night in the UK last year. The Big Sleep Out shines a spot light on the solutions offered by The Big Issue, the help that we offer through The Big Issue Foundation and raises the funds that are needed to nable our charity to offer opportunities and solutions for hard working Big Issue vendors. 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 daily. In taking part and gaining sponsorship, you are supporting many who have spent more than just one night outside in the cold. My thanks to everyone for helping us changing lives for good and making the night a huge success.”
The Big Issue Foundation would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved, including our wonderful fundraisers and our dedicated volunteers, along with Jam Pond Photography for capturing some powerful moments from the night and Glenn Hodge for welcoming participants with his music. Participants were kept safe by survival bags and foil blankets generously provided by Mountain Warehouse. Perkier and Primal Pantry both supplied snack bars to keep our participants and volunteers fuelled throughout the night and into the morning, and Medals for All donated great medals for fundraisers to treasure.