Hundreds of people will brave the cold tomorrow night to take part in one of the city’s largest annual fundraisers to help young people facing homelessness.
There has to be an overwhelming response to this year’s Big Sleep Out on behalf of the charity St Basil’s which brings together more than 500 people at its headquarters car park in Digbeth.
The charity, which houses more than 350 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 every night, is delighted with the response.
Steve Rainbow, fundraiser for the charity, said: “Last year saw 450 people brave the cold, harsh conditions with only their own clothing, cardboard and plastic sheeting to shelter them
St Basils must raise in excess of half a million pounds a year in order to provide crucial services to more than 4,000 young people each year who find themselves with nowhere to live. The funding will help St Basil’s to work with the young people to enable them find and keep a home, to develop their confidence, skills and opportunities and ultimately to prevent homelessness.
A wide range of businesses and individuals give support to the fundraiser including Mark Amyes, of Jaffabox, that supplies the mountains of cardboard boxes transformed into temporary shelters on the night.
It will be the fifth year that the Midlands-based company has been donating boxes for the sleep out and Mark said: “We feel honoured to be part of this and now I would be gutted if we weren’t asked to take part.”
Initially Mark admitted that he was keen to know what benefits the donation would bring to the company.
He said: “In the first year when I was approached I wanted to know what was going to be in it for us – like many people we don’t feel comfortable giving something for nothing. We agreed to support the event and I went to see what it was all about and was very impressed.
“I think we would say we now support the sleep out because we can and it is not a massive issue for us to supply the boxes but it is so important for the charity. We are really pleased to be associated with it – I believe charity does begin at home and it is good this is helping people in Birmingham.”
The organisers believe that there may be a risk of latecomers not getting a space on the site.
Steve said: “We really don’t want to turn people away but, because of the size of the site, it is important that people have registered.
“Even if people are unable to sleep out or attend our event we urge them to organise their own sleep-in event. They can find a venue, get a few friends involved, raise some money and have a party. Alternatively, you could also sleep in your own bed and still donate to St Basil’s.
“We are just asking people to think for one night about the thousands of young people that are facing homelessless or at risk of homelessness.”
For more information go to the website www.stbasils.org.uk. To donate, please visit www.stbasils.org.uk or call us and donate by credit card on 0121 772 9614, you can also donate via St Basil’s, the safe and secure website www.bmycharity.com/stbasils.