A busy Manchester shopping precinct will be sent to sleep with bedtime tales from Dame Helen Mirren and Hollywood legend Will Smith this winter. And it’s all in a bid to make sure society doesn’t shut its eyes to the growing numbers of rough sleepers and the health challenges they face.  Homeless Friendly are hosting Manchester’s Official Event as part of The World Big Sleep Out at Lime Square Shopping Precint in Openshaw – with 300 people planning to spend one night outdoors. On Saturday 7th December, the world will unite to help fight homelessness with what is thought to be the largest charitable fundraising campaign in a generation. With an aim of raising $50,000,000, The World’s Big Sleep Out, will take place in up to 50 locations around the world. Dr Zahid Chauhan explains “Recent research by the University of Birmingham has shown that many rough sleepers are suffering from all kinds of conditions from malnutrition to pneumonia and substance addiction to self-harm. But they will not see a GP because they feel so fearful and ostracised from the rest of society.” Continued Dr Chauhan: “Homeless patients in Greater Manchester are fortunate that our programme has opened up the doors of surgeries, hospitals, hospices and dental surgeries to them. But even though our region has taken a lead in combatting rough sleeping, there are still too many people living through the heartbreak of homelessness. This sleep-out will give participants an authentic taste of that bitter experience.” Since its inception, GP surgeries, walk-in centres, hospices, health and social care charities and councils have accepted the scheme’s challenge to examine their policies and procedures and ensure they cater for rough sleepers. The programme has also been a conduit for bringing other homelessness charities and organisations fighting poverty and addiction closer together, and many will be at Lime Square. ‘The World’s Big Sleep Out campaign is purposefully held in the winter months, but we should remember that the problems those who are homeless are experiencing are all year-round” concluded Dr Chauhan,  Research by the Institute of Global Homelessness shows that figures have reached a new level with more than a 100 million people homeless and displaced around the world. England alone has seen the number of people sleeping rough increase by more than 150 percent since 2010. Last year, an estimated 4,677 people were sleeping on the streets on any one night. And, shockingly, there are 125,000 children in England without a place to call home (MHCLG statistics, 2018-19). Josh Littlejohn MBE, Social Bite and WBSO Founder, said: “I am blown away by the response to The World’s Big Sleep Out so far and incredibly excited to have 50 cities all over the world taking part. It doesn’t matter if you are taking part in Times Square or in your back garden with your family, by sleeping out for one night on 7th December we can simultaneously express our compassion for homeless people who have no other choice and raise lifesaving funds to make a difference. We can also send a message to the world’s political leaders that urgent action is required to address the human suffering that we each witness on our streets every day”. Registration is now open with each participant committing to fundraising as much as they can. 100% of funds raised will go towards homelessness charities, with a 50/50 split between Homeless Friendly and global charities helping homeless and displaced people. The event takes place on Saturday December 7th and you can bed down and play your part by signing up here.

Homeless Friendly’s Big Sleep out joins the world

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