More than 50 adventurous Londoners braved the cold and rain last night - sleeping out in the grounds of the Royal Academy of Arts to generate vital funds for the Cardinal Hume Centre.
Participants on the all-night challenge have already raised £70,000 to support the Westminster-based charity which has been helping people overcome poverty and the threat of homelessness for more than 30 years. The Centre provides accommodation and support for 32 young people, as well as a range of key services to help others in desperate need to turn their lives around. Last year some 1,200 people came to the Centre for help.
All participants were given a soup supper before bedding down for the night, armed only with sleeping bags, waterproofs and cardboard. In doing so, they were drawing attention to growing problem of homelessness in the UK. Last year 4,700 people in England were recorded as sleeping out on the streets on any given night, while an estimated 12,500 people in London alone were living in dangerous and insecure accommodation.
George O'Neill, Chief Executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre, who slept out last night, said: "While sleeping out for one night cannot compare to the dreadful reality of sleeping rough, this event certainly draws attention to the alarming number of people living on the streets, or in dangerous or insecure accommodation. The Cardinal Hume Centre does vital work to prevent people ending up in such terrible situations. We provide accommodation and support for vulnerable young people who do not have a place to call home, and we run a range of services to help hundreds of others in desperate situations to turn their lives around. Demand for our vital services is high - last year 1,200 people turned to us for help. Thanks to our brave sleepers and the generosity of all those sponsoring them, we can continue our vital work in helping the most vulnerable and isolated people in our community."
The Cardinal Hume Centre would like to thank all those who took part in the Sleepout, including teams from companies including BNP Paribas, Channel 4, Coca-Cola European Partners, Entertainment One, Intuit Quickbooks, Ridgeway Partners, Silver Shemmings Ash and Wavemaker. Special thanks also go to the Royal Academy of Arts for hosting this all-night event.
To donate to the Sleepout, please visit George O'Neill's fundraising page on www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-o-neill1
Read more about The Cardinal Hume Centre: www.cardinalhumecentre.org.uk
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