Our Big Sleep Out at home is back for 2021, and this year we have set ourselves an ambitious target of £60,000 so we can support local people at serious risk of losing their homes due to the devastating impact of COVID-19.
We are asking supporters to sign up, fundraise and brave the outdoors for one night in their garden over the weekend of World Homeless Day (Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 October 2021). We will be streaming a virtual event for participants to tune into on the night, hosted by Launchpad’s Patron and TV presenter Matt Allwright and BBC Radio’s Michelle ‘Babs’ Jordan. The line-up will include an interactive cooking challenge, instructions on how to make a crisp packet ground sheet, inspiring messages from Launchpad clients and live music.
Our drop-in service has recently seen a sharp rise in the number of people in 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.
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 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.”
Find out more about the Big Sleep Out at home and register as a group or individual by visiting: www.launchpadreading.org.uk/bigsleepout