Volunteers sleep outside to raise money
The Big Sleep poster

79 volunteers spent the night out in the elements to raise awareness of homelessness and the reality of ‘sleeping rough’, raising a record £16,000 for a Leicester-based homeless charity in the process.

This year’s ‘The Big Sleep’ event was held at the University of Leicester on 21 March 2019 and volunteers included teams from local businesses, individuals and students from the University of Leicester.

The funds will be used by The Bridge Homelessness to Hope to support local rough sleepers. The charity offers food, advice on benefits and finances, health checks and mental health support.

The Big Sleep Participants

David Fawcett, Executive Operations Manager at The Bridge Homelessness to Hope commented: “We’re absolutely delighted at the response we had to The Big Sleep this year. Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors and companies who took part, we raised £16,000 which is an increase of around 30 per cent on last year’s total.

“We had more than double the number of volunteers this year too, which hopefully shows how we are not only raising funds, but awareness of the difficulties faced by the city’s homeless community. We’re very grateful to everyone who took part and supported the event.”

Staff from the Midlands East team of the NatWest bank took part and the bank matched any sponsorship the staff raised.

Jenny Cooper, Regional Director, Midlands East Personal Banking at NatWest said: “Despite it being a relatively mild and dry night, the difficulty we found in trying to keep warm, find comfort and feel safe for just one evening gave us some insight into the hardship and fear those facing homelessness experience every day.

“The work Dave’s team is doing is invaluable and really makes a difference and we are delighted that colleagues at NatWest were given the chance to take part in this year’s The Big Sleep and help raise funds for a programme helping some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Dave Hall, University Registrar and Chief Operating Officer: “It is easy to lose sight of the fact that this is a daily reality for an increasing number of homeless people on our city’s streets. We are proud to continue our support for The Bridge Homelessness to Hope – the work that they do in supporting the most vulnerable in society is truly remarkable.”

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