Croydon residents are giving up their beds and sleeping out for one night, to raise funds to support homeless people and get them off the streets.
The event will be held at Croydon Boxpark on March 24 and will be staged by Evolve, a homeless charity providing support to over 2,000 people each year, and sponsored by Croydon Business Improvement District (BID).
Funds raised from the sleep out will go directly to Evolve’s counselling service and learning program.
Laura McLellan, Head of Business Development at Evolve Housing plus Support, told ELL: “Through one to one person-centred therapy, we help them to improve their access to mental health support and develop solution-focused techniques to be able to cope with their mental health issues, adapt to using new coping techniques and begin to thrive in independence.
“By adapting to improve their well-being, they enhance their employability skills, relationships, self-care and management of finances.”
“We’ve seen other homelessness charities raise thousands from Sleep Outs and we decided that this was a great way to raise awareness of our work in the area among those audiences as well as a great way to potentially raise lots of money.”
Over 150 people have registered for the event, including staff from Evolve, members of Croydon Council and people in a business.
Matthew Sims, Chief Executive Officer for Croydon BID, told ELL: “Every day we walk past or see someone who is homeless, it is something that is growing, and we can’t ignore it. By just giving up our beds for one night we’re making a significant change by raising money and giving people the same opportunities as us.
“BID is incredibly proud of the way the business community has got involved and how Evolve has galvanised the business community and residents in Croydon to make a difference.”
Since 2017, the number of people sleeping rough in London has increased by 13 per cent.
Evolve provides accommodation and support 700 people across London throughout the year.
Councillor Alison Butler, Cabinet Member for Homes and Gateway services in Croydon, is participating in the Sleep Out. Butler told ELL: “Whereas I realise that one night out is a tiny sacrifice compared to those who have no option, I am hoping to raise the profile of the homelessness situation in Croydon and at the same time raise some money to help those without a home.”
“Homelessness could happen to any of us and it is up to all of us working together, to ensure everybody gets the support they need so that we can see an end to people forced to sleep rough on our streets.”
The Sleep Out will begin at 9:30 PM with registration in the Boxpark Croydon bar, followed by talks from Evolve and one of their previously homeless beneficiaries. The Sleep Out challenge will begin at 11 PM.
A thank you breakfast will take place and a group photo of the participants will be taken the next morning.
To take part, raise a suggested minimum amount of £175 per person in sponsorship and pay £20 for the registration fee to cover the costs of the event. You can sign up via Eventbrite’s website.