Published by Sam Swyer on Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:48

Sleepout Challenge 2018: 30 November 

The Church Urban Fund is inviting communities to take part in the Sleepout Challenge to help people struggling with homelessness and marginalisation.

The Advent Sleepout Challenge is a national, sponsored event to help homeless people in England transform their lives and communities through the work of the Together Network. During Advent, people throughout England will be giving up a night of comfort and sleeping out with their friends, families, church groups, clubs and community groups. They’ll be wrapping up in their winter woollies for a fun night in school halls, churches, community halls, scout huts, garden sheds…pretty much anywhere, just as long as it’s not in their beds.

There are over 4,750 people sleeping rough in England. This figure has risen every year since 2010, a sad increase from 4,100 in 2016. The Together Network supports winter night shelters throughout England and thanks to the Advent Sleepout Challenge over 1,000 bed spaces have been provided in the last three years. In 2017, over 450 volunteers hours and 30+ partnerships with organisations including local governments, churches and community centres, have made this possible through Winter Night Shelters.

Ringwood has supported every Advent Sleepout Challenge, raising almost £10,000. We have also had a lot of fun, with participants as young as four!

This year we will again hold the event at Ringwood Infant School, sleeping in the school hall and in a cardboard city in the playground. We have the same aims: to have fun, stay safe while raising funds and awareness of some of the most marginalised people in the country. There are several ways you can support us: join in - or sponsor us and spread the word! Last year Church Urban Fund sent a camera crew to join us, making a wonderful video, visible on Youtube – search for ‘advent Sleepout 2017 highlights’ or at www.sleepoutchallenge.org.uk

Participants will sleep in family groups. Safety is our priority and we will sleep inside the secure school playground. It will not be possible for children to join alone: they must be accompanied by an adult family member.

The programme for the evening will be shelter building (for those sleeping outside), fun and games, and a soup kitchen. We plan to finish and settle down around 9:30pm. We will make a bacon roll breakfast the following morning, with a prompt finish by 8:30 on Saturday 1 December.

If you would like to register for the Sleepout Challenge, please contact the Beneficce Office on 01425 489898 / office@ringwoodbenefice.org.uk - You will then receive an information and sponsorship pack. Last year we had a fantastic event which raised £5000!

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