LAUNCHPAD’S Big Sleep Out at home is back for another year, and Reading’s leading homelessness prevention charity is asking people to brave the outdoors for one night in their garden over the weekend of World Homeless Day (Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 October 2021) – all to raise vital funds for local people who are at risk of losing their home because of the pandemic.
The Big Sleep Out at home aims to raise a record £60,000 so Launchpad can continue supporting vulnerable people who are feeling the devastating impact of COVID-19 – and ensure they remain housed. The charity’s drop-in service has recently seen a sharp rise in the number of people in a pandemic-related housing crisis. Some are on the brink of homelessness because they have been made redundant, are fleeing domestic violence or have been asked to leave their home since the eviction ban was lifted. Other people’s tenancies are at risk because they have battled serious mental health issues or their addiction has worsened since the outbreak of COVID.
The charity’s flagship event will see participants swap their comfortable beds for a sleeping bag in their garden with friends, family and pets over the weekend of World Homeless Day and enjoy a packed programme live-streamed via Facebook from 6pm. The evening will be hosted by Launchpad’s Patron and TV presenter Matt Allwright and BBC Radio’s Michelle ‘Babs’ Jordan – and will include an interactive cooking challenge, instructions on how to make a crisp packet groundsheet, messages from Launchpad clients and live music.
While the Big Sleep Out at home doesn’t aim to replicate homelessness, it does offer an insight into some of the things people experience when they’re rough sleeping night after night – such as cold temperatures, an uncomfortable bed and limited sleep.
Kirsti Wilson, Head of Fundraising and Marketing at Launchpad, said:
“Last year, Launchpad was forced to take the Big Sleep Out online, and luckily people really embraced spending the night in their garden while live-streaming the event, with over 190 people taking part. We hoped to organise an in-person event for 2021, but COVID-19 continues to be unpredictable, we want to guarantee our supporter’s safety, and it’s vital we continue raising funds for people in need – so the Big Sleep Out at home is back for another year!
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the people of Reading and have left many in a housing crisis. At Launchpad, we are seeing people who never imagined they would ever need to reach out for help – individuals, couples and families experiencing job loss, relationship breakdowns, eviction and mental health issues. By taking part in the Big Sleep Out at home and raising money for Launchpad, you will help us provide urgent support to ensure they don’t lose their home. You will be sleeping out, so others don’t have to.”
Registration for the Big Sleep Out is £20 per participant or £50 for a group of four or more taking part in one location, and supporters are asked to raise £250 before their challenge. Each participant will receive a Big Sleep Out at home event pack, which will include a programme, Launchpad merchandise, refreshments for the evening and something to keep participants warm.
Find out more about Big Sleep Out at home and book your place by visiting: www.launchpadreading.org.uk/bigsleepout.
Check out the Big Sleep Out at home guide, which includes everything participants need to begin fundraising, as well as some key information about the event itself, such as a kit list: www.launchpadreading.org.uk/bigsleepoutguide.