The lockdown has highlighted the importance of having a safe, comfortable home. But for those living rough on the streets, the impact has been brutal.
Rainbow Centre Fundraising Co-ordinator, Linda Wilsher believes this year more than ever, homeless people need community support.
The Big Sleep Out 2020 will be held on Friday, August 21. Usually outdoors, the event will be held at home, with people sleeping on floors or in their backyards.
Mrs Wilsher explained:” We are asking people to sleep out under the stars in their garden, on the patio or balcony with just a sleeping bag and a cardboard box for shelter.
“If unable to sleep outside you can build a cardboard home under your dining room table or behind the sofa! As long as you are not sleeping in your own cosy bed we invite you to take part.”
“By depriving ourselves of our cosy bed for one night we are joining in the hardship of the homeless and developing awareness, empathy and understanding.”
The popular annual event is also loads of fun. This year there will be interactive games and competitions, sharing photos on social media and enjoyable video link-ups, starting at 7.30pm.
Mum and Dad and the kids, teenagers and grandparents are all encouraged to join in the fun and drum up sponsorship from family and friends, neighbours and colleagues to support the vital services of the Rainbow Centre.
The Rainbow Centre has helped homeless people and others suffering hardship in the Shepway region for more than 30 years.
Services include the Homeless Support Service, the Folkestone Churches Winter Shelter, the Family Contact Centre for separated families, the Shepway Foodbank, the FoodStop and the Rainbow Shop.
Mrs Wilsher said: “The Lockdown has caused extra pressures on the foodbank. People who suddenly lost their incomes and never expected to use charity to feed their families have been forced to seek help.”
The Big Sleep Out usually raises significant funding for the Rainbow Centre with around 80 people usually taking part. Mrs Wilsher is hoping enthusiastic supporters can match or exceed that goal this August.
Each household will be asked to donate £10 to participate and encouraged to raise funds through sponsorship.
Neighbours, church groups, clubs and organisations can work together. Folkestone Mayors, local clubs and businesses have all been strong supporters over the past seven years of the Big Sleep Out.
Download your Big Sleep Out pack below:
For more information please contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel. 01303 850733.
Mrs Wilsher added: “It would be wonderful for the whole community to support the event given the difficult conditions of isolation and deprivation we are all dealing with.”