More than 350 people are expected brave the elements tomorrow and join Sleep Out in the Square, homelessness charity Glass Door’s annual fundraising event in Chelsea.
The annual Sleep Out in Duke of York Square raises awareness of homelessness and generates funds for emergency shelters which help give individuals a route out of homelessness.
The number of people sleeping rough in London has risen each year since 2010 and is about three times higher than it was a decade ago, according to statistics released by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Glass Door’s chair of trustees Rev Brian Leathard, who is also the rector of St Luke’s and Christ Church, Chelsea, said: “The rise in homelessness is a scandal, and we will continue to do all we can to get people off the streets and into shelters. But we can’t do it alone.
“Taking part in events like the Sleep Out, showing solidarity and raising funds, is a great way to do something tangible to make our communities stronger and help those in need.”
Since the first Sleep Out in the Square in 2013, almost 1,000 individuals have spent at least one night sleeping outside on the pavements in support of the charity. In total, the event has raised £817,000 since 2013.
This year, the charity hopes to raise over £200,000 and break £1 million in total.
Last year, thanks mainly to the success of the Sleep Out and the funds it raised, Glass Door was able to shelter an average of 120 individuals a night, up from 35 just six years ago.
The charity relies on the funds raised from this event to sustain and expand their network of church-based shelters, now operating in four south west London boroughs (Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth and Richmond).
A DIFFERENT KIND OF FUTURE: Eddie (left) with Sleep Out participants in 2017
Eddie was a guest of the charity’s shelters seven years ago and credits Glass Door with turning his life around.
He said: “Workers and volunteers of the charity showed me kindness, a kindness I had never seen before. I started to believe that a different kind of future was possible.”
After 26 years of sleeping rough, Eddie is now off the street and works for Glass Door as an overnight project worker.
Previous guests often return to volunteer at the Sleep Out and in Glass Door’s shelters.
Glass Door says the annual event also raises awareness of homelessness by giving participants a small taste of some of the difficulties that many rough sleepers must deal with.
Registration is now open at www.glassdoor.org.uk
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