Big Sleepout 2020
Big Sleep Out 2020 raises funds for North Wales homeless services
Staff from a North Wales housing association will swap their warm homes and comfy beds for a sleeping bag and cardboard box later this month to raise much-needed funds for homeless services in the region.
ClwydAlyn’s Big Sleep Out 2020 takes place at four locations across North Wales on Saturday, February 29 and as well as raising money, the initiative also aims to show solidarity with those experiencing homelessness.
Neighbouring housing associations and local authorities in North Wales have pledged their support, encouraging their staff to get involved in the event, which will also raise funds for the North Wales Air Ambulance charity.
The Big Sleep Out has become an annual feature in ClwydAlyn’s calendar after it was started by an employee eight years ago. Senior Project Officer Lynda Williams came up with the idea, encouraged by her late mum Merle Dobson, after seeing a similar successful initiative in Chester.
Since then, the event has raised thousands of pounds of funds to make life a little better for people experiencing homelessness in North Wales.
Lynda, who works at Ty Golau, which provides emergency bed accommodation for homeless or rough sleepers in Rhyl, said: “Back in 2012, I became aware of a charity sleep out initiative in Chester and thought how good it would be to do something similar in North Wales.
“With help from my late mum Merle, we held our first sleep out at New Brighton Community Centre, near Mold, holding one annually every year after that in Northop.
“In 2018, when Clare Budden joined ClwydAlyn as chief executive, she did it with us, and for this next event, we decided to extend the Big Sleep Out across four counties of North Wales to encourage more people to get involved.
“In my role I see the devastating effect homelessness and rough sleeping has and I hope as many people as possible will support us in helping to raise funds or raise awareness of this issue.”
Clare Budden, Chief Executive of ClwydAlyn, and a member of the Welsh Government’s Homelessness Action Group, said: “This is a fantastic initiative and I feel privileged to be involved.
“The problem of homelessness and rough sleeping is increasing and, in stark terms, people experiencing homelessness die earlier (in their mid-40s) and are nine times more likely to take their own lives. People sleeping on the streets are 17 times more likely to be victims of crime.
“This is shocking, it’s a national crisis and we hope that our Big Sleep Out will not only raise much-needed funds but, crucially raise awareness of this issue and what we can all do to help.
“It will also enable participants to experience sleeping rough to get a better understanding of what homeless people deal with on a nightly basis. The difference is, we can all go home to a warm shower and a comfortable bed the next morning.’’
Anyone who would like to be involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org