West London homeless charity Glass Door will host its fourth annual Sleep Out event on Friday 7 October 2016, in the Duke of York Square, Chelsea.
Hundreds of people are expected to brave the wet and windy weather and spend a night sleeping on the pavement to raise money for homeless shelters. The event’s main sponsor, the Cadogan Estate, has once again generously offered the use of Duke of York Square and will provide security and portable lavatories on the night.
This year’s Sleep Out aims to help fund an expansion of shelters in, following last year’s event which raised over £160,000 with a record 260 people taking part.
These funds helped Glass Door provide shelter for 70 to 100 people every night last winter, giving a total of 254 individuals the chance to get off the streets for as long as they needed it. On any one night, more than 700 people sleep rough in London, with local agencies reporting that 8,096  people were homeless in the Capital last year, an increase of 7% from the previous year and more than double than five years ago. Thanks to the success of last year’s event, Glass Door was able to shelter and support more people than ever before.
Since its inception three years ago, Sleep Out has raised over £420,000 with 643 people spending a night outdoors to fundraise. Currently, 18 churches work in partnership to host men and women who are homeless. From 7 November 2016, seven new churches will join the network, allowing an additional 15 guests per night to find a safe and dry place to sleep. Homeless guests with nowhere else to go find a warm welcome in a church hall, complete with dinner, breakfast, and the hospitality that volunteers provide. By providing shelter, showers, food, and support to find work and housing, Glass Door helps individuals break the cycle of homelessness.
Last year, following the success of the Sleep Out, caseworkers supported 162 individuals into work and helped 122 more find permanent housing. Glass Door also hopes the event will help raise awareness of homelessness. Those who take part experience a small taste of some of the difficulties that so many people who are homeless in the Capital have to deal with: the freezing cold, the vulnerability, and the difficulty of carrying on your day with little sleep – giving people a better understanding of the importance of readily available emergency accommodation and support
Rev. Brian Leathard, Rector at St Luke’s and Christ Church Chelsea and Glass Door’s chair of trustees, commented:
“The beauty of the Sleep Out is in its power to bring people together from different faiths or of none, and from all walks of life, to do something about the scandal of homelessness in our area”.
Friends of the charity who are homeless or recently homeless will again help operate the Sleep Out’s coffee and tea stand. Luke, who regularly attended the charity’s Kings Road drop-in centre and helped at last year’s event, said:
“It is touching to know that there are good people who want to help. I’m glad to have been able to offer my help, meet people and say ‘thank you’”.
Glass Door aims to recruit at least 300 people for this year’s Sleep Out, who will give up their beds for the night of 7 October 2016. There is no registration fee nor fundraising minimum, but the charity encourages participants to aim to raise around £500 in sponsorship funds.
Registration is now open online, alternatively, participants can email or call 0207 351 4948.
A video of last year’s sleepout is below
Photo: Courtesy of Glass Door
 Figures released by CHAIN (the Combined Homelessness and Information Network database), considered to be the most comprehensive and accurate data on rough sleeping available. The true figures on the numbers of people sleeping rough are bound to be much higher. Many people survive out of sight: they sleep on buses, rest in all-night cafes or shelters like Glass Door’s facilities, bed-down in a secluded park and prefer to remain hidden, often for their own safety. These hidden rough sleepers do not show up in official statistics.
The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.
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